So we survived the Holidays and New Years is just around the corner. A wonderful time of celebration, friends, champagne, and of course New Year’s Resolutions. Resolutions are wonderful ways to better ourselves and finally attempt to become the productive, happy, healthy person that we know we can be.
The trouble with New Year’s Resolutions is that after time our enthusiasm to make changes tend to wane once we realize we can’t change everything overnight and the commitment to make these changes becomes less exciting and too much work. According to www.proactivechange.com 40%-45% of American adults make one or more resolutions each year. Among the top New Year’s resolutions are those dealing with weight loss and exercise. In addition, according to this site a mere 46% maintain these resolutions after six months.
In order to make lasting changes, there are several things that you can do to stick to your fitness resolutions and actually see the results that you’ve been wishing for since New Year’s Day 1989. By modifying your attitude, changing your lifestyle and coming up with an effective and realistic plan for success you can make 2010 the year that you actually did it.
Modifying your Attitude- According to exercise.about.com by having the wrong attitude about fitness you’re setting yourself up for failure before you even started. Oftentimes people consider exercise merely a punishment for bad eating habits, an obligation, painful and time consuming, boring, or impossible to sustain over a long period of time.
By modifying your attitude about exercise in general you are more likely to stick with your program and see positive results. Try out a different perspective because after all, you’re the only one that can truly change your attitude and therefore the outcome. Instead of boring or painful look at exercise as a break from a stressful day, a way to boost energy and mood, time for yourself, time for your mind to rest, a reward for your body or a way to improve your quality of life.
Here are some additional key points about exercise from exercise.about.com:
1. Sheer willpower doesn’t work- Willpower is for short-term success. Long-term success requires planning, discipline and finding new and different ways to motivate yourself every day.
2. Motivation will not magically happen- What motivates you will change from day to day. You will have to recommit to your goals each day, tweak them to fit changes in your lifestyle and attitude and find new ways to motivate yourself over the course of your entire life.
3. You will not always want to exercise and eat healthy- This is something that you will have to work on every day.
Adjust your Lifestyle- By adjusting your lifestyle you will have the best chance of success in sticking to your New Year’s fitness resolutions. Although you’ve probably heard this before, let it really sink in this time: losing weight and maintaining that weight is a lifetime prospect. You will never stop working to maintain your fitness and weight. So, before you start a diet or exercise program, old or new, ask yourself if you can sustain this diet for the long term or if your exercise program is something that you can commit to every day.
Simply put, being overweight is the fault of an unhealthy lifestyle, eating too much and not allowing enough time for exercise. This being said, one you recognize the gravity of permanently losing weight, you’ll need to change your lifestyle to accommodate this goal. Here’s a couple ways to do just that:
1. Figure out your bad habits- Keep a food/activity journal for an entire week. Be completely honest with yourself and do it without shame- this is simply a way to figure out habits that may be hurting your weight loss goals.
2. Replace bad habits one at a time- Replace bad habits with good habits. You can’t break bad habits without forming new ones. If you take away your daily morning donut and don’t replace it with something else that’s better for you you’ll drift right back to your old unhealthy habit.
This may sound easy but it’s not. Giving up something yummy for something healthy isn’t easy. You need to change your environment to make it impossible to have or even want that donut. Try these ideas:
1. Figure out beforehand what you’re going to eat instead of that donut. Stock up on breakfast foods that you like and that are healthier. Try different flavors of meal replacement bars or fruit shakes/smoothies.
2. Take stock in every bite that you put in your mouth, if it’s not healthy is it really worth it? For sure you’ll enjoy that first bite or flavor explosion but after that what do you really get out of it? More than likely all you get is fat, calories and guilt.
3. Eat before you get in the car in the morning so you won’t be starving and tempted to go through the drive thru or to your favorite bakery to pick up a bite.
4. Change your driving route so you don’t even have to pass by your favorite bakery.
5. Write down your weight loss goal and tape it to your steering wheel or your glove compartment so that you are constantly reminded of your goals.
Make a Plan for Success- So thus far you’ve figured out how to change bad eating habits by replacing them with good ones and to create for yourself a healthy environment that doesn’t allow your bad habits to exist. Now you need to make a plan for what you really want.
1. Set Goals- Write down specific goals including how much weight you want to lose (make sure it is reasonable for your height and frame), a target date to reach your goals, why you want to lose this weight, and how you’ll maintain your weight loss once achieved. Remember, it’s a lifetime commitment you can’t just quit once you reach your goal.
2. Set up your program- A complete program involves cardio, strength training and stretching.
3. Ensure your success- Here are just a few suggestions regarding ensuring your success and staying consistent. Enlist family members to help you out; hire a personal trainer; get a friend to exercise with you; set aside time every week to plan out your exercise routines and meals; keep a workout bag packed and ready; keep a fitness journal to track workouts and progress; reward yourself with massages, shopping, or vacations; change your workout program every 6 weeks to avoid plateaus; revisit your goals every six months to see where you’re at and if further narrowing them down is in order.
Losing weight requires modifying your attitude, changing your lifestyle and making specific plans. You will need to change the way you think about exercise and eating, change the way you schedule your day and be prepared for what’s ahead in order to stick to your New Year’s Fitness Resolutions.