Change THE WAY YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR Bod how to stick to your fitness resolutions all year long—and beyond.
Here’s how to make ‘em last all year round.
Every 1st of January, we resolve to make one big change—and more often than not, it’s got something to do with fitness or weight loss. We jot down lofty goals like “Lose 40 pounds!” or “Have abs by September!” hoping that this time around, we might actually see them through. But setting resolutions for ourselves only amounts to setting expectations. Without a detailed battle plan, goals fall through. If you’ve got a fitness goal you’re determined to reach, but aren’t sure exactly how to do it, the right frame of mind will go a long way. Here are five helpful steps, according to the American Psychological Association:
Twelve months seems like a long time—surely you could lose a ton of weight or have enough time to train for a marathon, right? Well, yes and no. You have to take into account the months where your motivation will be on the outs. Those “lazy weeks” can add up. If your goal is to lose a certain amount of weight, for example, cut that weight in half and make that your new goal weight. If you happen to exceed it, then great! If you don’t, then you won’t be as disappointed in yourself come midyear.
TAKE IT ONE STEP AT A TIME
Overall health is a combination of habits, so if you happen to have bad ones, getting rid of them all won’t be a walk in the park. (Well, it could be, if the park were on fire, the trees were on fire, and you were on fire.) Let’s say you have a midnight sweet tooth, a nonexistent workout routine, and a tendency to overload on carbs. Tackle the hardest habit first; that’ll make the other two easier to beat.
TALK ABOUT IT
It helps to have a support system of friends and family— aside from providing comfort during rough patches, they also keep you accountable, especially when those aforementioned lazy weeks kick in. Inevitably, you’re going to hit a plateau during your weight loss journey: the weight won’t seem to come off anymore, and your workouts will feel awkward and time-consuming. Venting your frustrations to a friend will give you a nudge in the right direction.
DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP
There will also be times throughout the year where you slink back to your old ways. That’s perfectly normal. No weight loss journey is a perfect uphill climb. You’re going to slip and fall sometimes. If getting fit were easy, we’d all be fit! Even when you think you’ve done irreparable damage—say, ending the day with a fast food meal after eating healthy all afternoon—trust us, it’s not the end of the world. Would you abandon your entire apartment just because one of your lightbulbs conked out? Of course not; you’d replace the bulb and keep going. Discipline will always trump motivation!
ASK FOR SUPPORT
Finally, your best shot at making that resolution a reality is to seek help from people who know better. From nutritionists to gym instructors to friends who’ve already reached their fitness goals, take notes from those who have been there before and are likely to give you sound advice. They’ll quash any misconceptions you might have and help you set realistic expectations, too.