Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

Ah yes. ‘Tis the season to make resolutions (and try to stick to them throughout the year). And two of the most common New Year’s resolutions involve fitness: to exercise and to lose weight.

Why do so many people make-and then break-these resolutions each year? And what can you do to make sure you stick to your guns? Making the resolution is the easy part; however, the average person only keeps their resolution for two months!

The biggest key to keeping your New Year’s resolution is to set reasonable goals. Second, you need to have an action plan. Some positive thinking and accountability don’t hurt either.

Don’t just proclaim: “I am going to get fit this year!” or “I’m going to lose 20 pounds!” Come up with a plan outlining steps to achieve this goal. Perhaps you can plan to attend two aerobics classes a week? You can take this even one step further and decide which classes you’re going to take (i.e. I resolve to take a cycle class on Monday mornings and a strength training class on Wednesday evenings). Even if you don’t lose the 20 pounds, you are bound to be more fit than when you started-and that is a real accomplishment.

Defining a reasonable resolution
One of my resolutions this year is to start competing in bike races-rather than just running races. The first thing I did was decide what my ultimate goal for the year was-and that is to do a century ride. So I went online and found a century ride that appealed to me-offered in a timeframe that allowed plenty of training. As soon as registration opens, I’m signing up. By signing up (and putting money down) way in advance, I’m much less likely to back out.

Having an Action Plan
Now that I know my goal, how do I make it happen? I need a plan. For me, that means writing out a weekly training schedule to prepare for the race. Once I have a schedule, I’m much better at follow-through. Another way of assuring I will reach this goal is by committing to do at least a few shorter races before attempting the big one.

As soon as I decided on my goal, I told all my friends that a century ride was my next physical challenge. I even sent them the website of the one I wanted to do. Now there’s no chance I’ll back out! Once I say I’m going to do something -especially to a lot of people-I do it. Now friends will check-in-see how my training is going. It will keep me honest. (If you can actually talk a friend into participating in your particular goal-even better).

Can-do Attitude
Finally, this is something I WANT to accomplish�and something I KNOW I can accomplish. I just have to stick with my plan. Having a positive attitude about your resolution can do wonders towards achieving it. A lot of people say they want to lose weight and get in shape, but you really have to want it badly enough to do it. You have to be committed.

The Diet
For many, the goal of losing weight typically involves dieting. And believe me, there are a lot of crazy fad diets out there. Instead of eating cabbage soup for two weeks, why not take some small steps towards developing healthy eating habits. If you now eat dessert every night, try cutting back to one or two nights a week. If you eat red meat several times a week, try replacing it with fish or chicken for all but two meals. How about eating your dinner on a smaller plate or just resisting seconds?

Keeping a food diary is another way to eat healthier. You’d be amazed at how much you actually put in your mouth each day once you see it in writing.

A final thought on foodâÂ?¦skipping meals and starving oneself is NOT the way to lose weight and stick by your New Year’s resolution. Feed your body when it is hungry. It keeps the metabolism in check. Just feed it healthy foods. Instead of heading to the vending machine, pack a granola bar, veggies or fruit.

Here’s wishing you a happy and healthy New Year. May all your resolutions come true!

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