The New Year is upon us. Do you have a New
Yearís Resolution? Well, if youíre like most Americans (88
percent in 2001 according to a GNC poll), you have at least one
resolution. And, if you are like the majority of these
promise-makers, your resolution is probably related to health and
fitness. In 2001 (according to GNC), 55 percent promised to eat
healthier, 50 percent resolved to exercise more, and 38 percent
wanted to lose weight.
While resolutions are well-intentioned,
unfortunately most people fail at keeping them. With all the hype
surrounding these promises, itís easy to get caught up in it
without really taking them seriously.
We live in a throw-away society and even our
resolutions, Iím afraid, are not immune. However, especially for
promises that include improving our health, itís in our best
interest not to take them lightly.
So, whatís the secret to successful
resolutions? While you canít wave a magic wand and make your
resolution come true, there are some easy steps to take that will
make it easier to fulfill your promise to yourself.
Choose an obtainable goal. Resolving to
look like a super model is not realistic for the majority of us,
but promising to include daily physical activity in our lives is
Avoid choosing a resolution that youíve
been unsuccessful at achieving year after year. This will only
set you up for failure, frustration and disappointment. If you
are still tempted to make a promise that youíve made before,
then try altering it. For example, instead of stating that you
are going to lose 30 pounds, try promising to eat healthier and
increase your weekly exercise.
Create a game plan. At the beginning of
January, write a comprehensive plan. All successful businesses
start with a business plan that describes their mission and
specifics on how they will achieve it. Write your own personal
plan and youíll be more likely to succeed as well.
Break it down and make it less
intimidating. Rather than one BIG end goal, dissect it into
smaller pieces. Set several smaller goals to achieve throughout
the year that will help you to reach the ultimate goal. Then,
even if you arenít able to reach your final goal, you will
have many smaller, but still significant, achievements along the
way. For example, if your goal is to complete a 10K race, your
smaller goals could be running a 5K in less than 30 minutes,
adding upper and lower body strength training to increase your
muscular endurance, and running 2 miles with a personal best
Make Contingency Options: Donít assume
sticking to your plan will be smooth sailing. Plan on hitting
bumps along the resolution road and be prepared with specific
ways to overcome them. What will keep you from skipping your
workout or stop you from having a cigarette? This may mean
seeking help from family or a professional, writing in a
Give It Time: Most experts agree that it
takes about 21 days to create a habit and six months for it to
actually become a part of your daily life.
Reward yourself with each milestone. If youíve
stuck with your resolution for 2 months, treat yourself to
something special. But, be careful of your reward type. If youíve
lost 5 pounds, donít give yourself a piece of cake as an
award. Instead, treat yourself to something non-food related,
like a professional massage.
Ask friends and family members to help you
so you have someone to be accountable to. Just be sure to set
limits so that this doesnít backfire and become more
irritating than helpful. For example, if you resolve to be more
positive ask them to gently remind you when you start talking
Donít go it alone! Get professional
assistance. Everyone needs help and sometimes a friend just isnít
enough. Sometimes you need the help of a trained professional.
Donít feel that seeking help is a way of copping out.
Especially when it comes to fitness, research studies have shown
that assistance from a fitness professional greatly improves
peopleís success rate.
Limit your number of promises. Youíll
spread yourself too thin trying to make multiple changes in your
life. This will just lead to failure of all of the resolutions.
Test Your Flexibility: Realize that things
change frequently. Your goals and needs may be very different in
April then they were when you made your resolution in January.
Embrace change, even if that means that your resolution is
Keep A Journal: A journal helps you
recognize your positive steps and makes it harder to go back to
the same old habits.
On average only about 20% of us keep our New
Yearís resolutions. Unfortunately, some of the biggest failures
are found in fitness resolutions. But donít let the statistics get
you down. By following the tips above youíll be better equipped to
fall into the successful 20% category.
Lynn Bode is a
certified personal trainer specializing in Internet-based fitness
programs. She founded Workouts For You, which provides affordable
online exercise programs that are custom designed for each
individual. Visit: http://www.workoutsforyou.com
for a free sample workout. Fitness professionals take your business
online, visit: http://www.trainerforce.com