How to stick to your New Year’s resolutions

young woman in shorts running on treadmill

We all want to be our best selves, but it’s simply not possible to be perfect all the time. We’re rushing from one activity to the next and we stop for a fast food burger because it’s all we have time for. We stay up too late finishing work projects and oversleep our morning trip to the gym. Before we know it, we’re sipping into routines filled with bad habits that become harder and harder to break.

It’s hard to shake up the status quo. We keep promising ourselves that we’ll start making better choices…tomorrow. That’s why so many people look to New Year’s resolutions to find inspiration. The start of a fresh year is a definite timeline that can motivate us to start implementing our new-and-improved lifestyles. But while many people will set resolutions, very few will actually follow through all year long. Take a look at these tips to help you stay on track and meet your goals so that 2017 becomes your best year yet!

1. Setting realistic goals

One of the biggest set backs a person can face when trying to stick to a New Year’s resolution is setting the bar to high. While confidence and ambition are remarkable traits to have, aiming beyond your reach is a good way to end up disappointed and too discouraged to keep trying.

“Set goals around your own actions.”

For example, if you’ve never been to the gym a day in your life before, promising yourself to go every single day in the new year is starting too big too fast. Instead, aim to get to the gym three times a week. Or even start with once a week for your first month, and then go up to two when February rolls around.

It’s also good to set goals around your own actions and not just the results you want to see. If your resolution is to lose 20 pounds in 2017, you may feel put off when the pounds don’t instantly melt off. You can’t always control how fast your weight will drop – you can control how often you work out, though. Setting a goal of visiting the gym each week is easier to reach than the exact number you want to see on your scale, making it easier for you to feel successful and more likely to keep going.

2. Do your research

Some resolutions are self-explanatory, like pledging to put a portion of your paycheck into your savings account each month. But others require more research and planning first. You can’t just jump into a new exercise routine without knowing more about how it works and what your body is capable of. The Mayo Clinic recommends starting with a self assessment before beginning a new workout regimen. If you have any health concerns that could affect your ability to be active – like an old knee injury or high blood pressure – talk to your doctor first to get confirmation about what types of exercise you can do.

If you’re joining a new gym, take a tour of the facilities before you sign up. Make sure there is plenty of equipment you can use and ask about classes or personal trainers. Find a place that’s convenient to get to so it’ll be harder to make excuses for why you can’t go!

Look up information on different workout routines and how to do exercises safely. Trying to wing it with the free weights could get you hurt, so read articles, watch how-to videos and ask for demos from staff at the gym before you try something new.

Learn how to do new workouts correctly before you try them. Learn how to do new workouts correctly before you try them.

3. Make a plan

Many resolutions will be more difficult to stick to if you don’t have a plan. If you’re resolving to eat healthier, write out a meal list at the start of each week and stick to it. When you come home from work hungry it’ll be harder to think of something tasty and good for you, but if you already know that Tuesday is grilled salmon night, it’ll be easier to follow through.

When aiming to eat better and improve your health, don’t just fall for fad diets or gimmicky low-fat but high sodium prepared meals. Keep nutrition in mind and aim to include a serving of fresh vegetables into every dinner, or switch from sodas to flavored seltzer waters. Pick up these healthful additions when you go grocery shopping so they’re always on hand when you need them, rather than relying on impromptu dishes that you don’t have the right ingredients for.

“Don’t let one little misstep set you all the way back.”

4. Form habits

The best way to make a resolution stick is to turn into a routine habit. You don’t have to think about habits – they come naturally. According to the Huffington Post, it can take a person an average of 66 days to fully form a new habit. That means the first two months are going to be your hardest. If you push through, however, your new activity will feel like an organic part of your daily routine. Motivate yourself through those 66 days with visions of what you want your life to look like a year from now. Those changes won’t happen if you don’t start them now.

5. Fight discouragement

There will be plenty of days where you’ll feel discouraged – you may slip and eat too many unhealthy snacks or buy something frivolous with money you should be saving. The trick is to not let one little misstep set you all the way back. Don’t let a cheat meal turn into a cheat day. Immediately correct the behavior and recommit to your new goals.

It’s also easy to feel discouraged in your weight loss plans if you aren’t seeing the results you need. Sometimes, no matter how hard you work, stubborn fat will cling to your problem areas. If that’s the case, then schedule a consultation with the experts at Ideal Image for Coolsculpting®. This non-surgical procedure can help you shed those extra pounds to motivate you to keep up with your new workouts.

Staying committed to a New Year’s resolution isn’t easy, but you’ll be proud when you can follow these steps and stay on track.