January 1st is an excellent time to rid yourself of old habits and get started on healthy new year resolutions. Money and health top the list for improvement and the focus of most people’s “New Year’s Resolution”, but many fall off the wagon within the first week. What can you do to help make your New Year’s Resolution stick this year? Follow these fitness tips to form good habits:
What gets measured, matters.
Make your healthy new year resolution clear and measurable. If you want to eat better in the new year, instead of making the general statement, “I am going to eat healthier”, change that to, “I am going to eat at least five servings of fruits or vegetables daily. “ This gives you a way to “check the box” and stay on track. Instead of saying, “I want to get in better shape”, set weekly goals on minutes of movement. Track them and you’re more likely to stick to your exercise plan. Aim to perform 140 minutes of exercise each week (30 minutes daily).
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When you see it in print, it’s real.
Writing down your healthy new year resolution is important for many reasons. There is a chemical reaction in your brain when you see and say things you want to achieve than when you just think them to yourself, according to a study reported on NPR.org. Try keeping a small note pad or journal and write it in there on the first page. Type it into your “notes” app on your smartphone, or post something on your bathroom mirror or refrigerator. Embrace the goal and seek achievement.
Make the time.
With busy lives, time management may be what’s holding you back from success. Make time in your schedule to meet your goals. Don’t just say you will exercise today, figure out the exact time you have to get it done, (ie. Monday 6 a.m. or Wednesday 4:00-4:30 p.m.). Put it into your calendar or smartphone with reminders that pop up one hour or 15 minutes before. If you’ll need to pack workout clothe to take to the office, set a reminder to pop up in the morning so you won’t forget.
Fitness experts tend to find that, anecdotally, 8 out of 10 people succeed in a group program. Most fail on their own. You’re more likely to keep your healthy new year resolutions on track when you have friends, family or co-workers supporting you. These days, this can mean virtual support as well. Using social media and social media groups can be very effective in changing attitudes and behaviors. It can also be the difference when you’re falling off track to keeping you in the game. Someone that knows you’re aiming for a change and is hitting some of the same obstacles may have a solution for success that you haven’t tried or thought of yourself. If you don’t have a fitness buddy IRL, look to apps that have robust communities, like MyFitnessPal, SparkPeople.com, DietBet.com, or Challengeloop.com.
Work smarter, not harder.
Whether you’re trying to lose weight or stop smoking, getting expert advice in the beginning works better than thinking you know it all and can achieve your goal on your accord. From making workouts specifically designed for your lifestyle and preferences, to understanding how the brain works when making changes, hiring professionals to help you is money well spent—especially in the long run for any health improvement goal. No assets appreciate like good healthy eating and exercise. Plus, these experts have tools to share with you, like a 7-minute workout when you’re stretched for time but getting stronger is your goal, or, tips for starving off hunger when you’re trying to lose weight. To get quality fitness advice, look for accredited fitness professionals in your area through IDEAFit.com and ACEFitness.org. You can find a nutritionist through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ website.
Get out of your own way.
If you really don’t believe you can do something, than you will hit many obstacles before you even start. There are real stressors and perceived stressors that hinder our performance. Too many times, we put up barriers in our belief systems that say “we can’t do something” before we set up a plan and give it a real try. Use positive language to your self and others when speaking about your resolution and avoid negative thoughts that can sabotage your results. Remember to keep your appointments to yourself because you can’t take care of anyone’s problems or complete tasks for others if you’re not at your best. That means that if it’s not life or death, you should put the phone down or leave the office to stay on track with your workout plan.
It feels good when you know you’re on the right track to reaching your goals. Rewarding yourself is important even if it’s just a smile or few minutes of reflection. Gratitude gives us abundance. Take a moment each day to reflect on your positive joys and you’ll find success more often.
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– By Andrea Metcalf, CPT, Fitness Expert, founder AndreaMetcalf.com