New Year’s Resolutions
Happy New Year! Good luck finding open equipment at the gym in the next few weeks. It’s the time of year for reflection and resolutions to get healthier and happier in 2014. Many new faces will join gyms across the nation with the hopes of improving their health and dropping inches. Statistics show that the #1 New Year’s resolution is to lose weight, and only 8% are successful. How can so many people have the same goal every year, yet fail?
The problem with Resolutions
Don’t worry about the over-crowded gym because in 2 to 4 weeks everything will be back to normal. The problem is people make too many resolutions AND they start them all at once. I’m guessing you’re busy enough already, but now you want to start exercising more often, eating a healthier diet which means cooking your own meals, drink less and go to sleep earlier. How will you fit all of this into your already busy schedule and still get to bed earlier without having a drink or 4 because you’re now stressed out to the max, all because you’ve just added more responsibility to your life? Holy crap! The other issue with fitness resolutions specifically, and this may be the biggest, is the fact that they are typically appearance based. If you keep catching a cold would you want to treat the symptoms with medicine, or stop getting sick in the first place? Is losing weight going to make you happier, or is there a deeper and more underlying issue you need to deal with before finally realizing your goals?
Psychology behind real change
“Your current behaviors are simply a reflection of your current identity. What you do now is a mirror image of the type of person you believe that you are (either consciously or subconsciously). To change your behavior for good, you need to start believing new things about yourself.”
Only when you realize who you are and who you WANT to be, will you be able make a goal or resolution and see it through to the end. Habits are another reason we have a tough time sticking to our resolutions. Think about how long it took you to get to this current place, and what your daily habits are that have made it so. We are naturally resistant to change so when it comes to breaking old habits or starting new ones, it is very important not to overwhelm yourself.
How you can stick with it
So you’ve figured out who you are (or want to be) and you have recognized your good and bad habits. Now what? The good news is the very act of making resolutions improves your odds of success. People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions. Here are some good tips to keep you on track in 2014:
- Get support. If you have a friend or family member with similar goals, try doing it together. Hire a personal trainer to hold you accountable and keep you motivated. Join a class that you would enjoy and surround yourself with others who are there for the same reasons.
- Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many changes. Pick a few resolutions that are most important to you and focus on them. If you’re finding success a few months from now, you can possibly add more.
- Start small. If your goal is to eat healthier but you don’t currently cook, don’t set yourself up for failure by trying to make all of your meals. Pick one meal a day to prepare for yourself, or pick one day a week to prepare as many meals as possible. If you want to exercise five days a week but you’re currently working out none, then pick three days and schedule 30 minutes for yourself to exercise. And do not schedule anything else during or around those times.
- Make a detailed plan of action. How are you going to lose weight, or run longer, or get back into pre baby shape? Telling yourself you are going to lose 20 lbs is great! Do you know how you will be doing this? Be specific with your goals and write them down. I will lose 20 lbs by: Eating out only once per week. Having only 3 drinks per week. Lifting weights Tuesdays and Thursdays and doing cardio every other day.
- Set realistic expectations. Part of planning is to anticipate slipping up from time to time. If you’re going on a low carb diet, plan a cheat day and eat whatever you want on that day. Not only does your body need those carbs for energy, but having a day to look forward to will help you emotionally throughout the process. If weight loss is your goal, a pound lost per week is the healthiest way to lose weight. So 3 months from now when you’re 12 pounds lighter but were expecting to lose 20 and now you’re frustrated, know that you have done a great job and maybe your expectations were too high. Reset them and keep going!
- Break your goals into smaller goals. If you can deadlift 225 lbs but your goal is to hit 400 lbs by July, it’s much easier to stay on track by breaking it down 5 lbs at a time or weeks at a time. Every time you hit that small goal you feel accomplished and it keeps you motivated.
New Year’s Resolutions can be an effective way to make changes in your life if you take the necessary steps. Talking about it with friends, making a list that you misplace, or paying someone to help you reach your goals will not help in the end if you don’t truly want it for yourself first. Make 2014 the year you finally come through for yourself!
If anyone has past successes or failures they would like to discuss, or any ideas that have worked for them please leave a comment.
Good luck in 2014 (although luck has nothing to do with it)!