There are two annual traditions that come with the start of every new year. The first is making some resolutions–often involving fitness or health, and the second is promptly breaking those resolutions a few weeks later. In fact, the process has gotten so predictable that it has become something of a running joke in pop culture outlets and among friends and family.
But the idea of making resolutions that can help improve your life is actually a good one that can lead to positive changes. The problem is, once we get stuck back in the regular routine of work, hectic schedules, and trying to maintain a semblance of a social life, it’s easy to let those resolutions fall by the wayside. But if you’re serious about focusing on those goals and improving your overall health and fitness as a result, here are some tips that can help keep you motivated.
Make Attainable Resolutions
One of the biggest reasons people fail to stick with their resolutions is that they often set really big goals for themselves that are virtually impossible to reach. When they realize later just how difficult it will be to achieve those goals, they get overwhelmed with the daunting task ahead of them and often end up abandoning their efforts altogether.
But by making smaller, more attainable goals, not only will your resolutions be easier to achieve, you’ll actually be able to see meaningful progress. That alone can be very encouraging and help you to stick to the plan moving forward.
Hold Yourself Accountable
When setting your resolution, create a plan for how you want to attain your goals and stick to it. With a good plan in place, you’ll have a roadmap to getting to where you want to be, which is a lot better than just trying to wing it as you go. If your resolution includes getting healthier, exercising more, or losing weight, go ahead and schedule your workouts or trips to the gym on your calendar. That way they’re locked in place, making it more likely that you’ll actually go. When you start to hold yourself more accountable to adhering to the plan and schedule, you’ll begin to see positive results too.
Let Others Hold You Accountable
One of the best ways to improve your level of fitness is to join a running, cycling, or workout group. Not only will you get to know like-minded people who are working toward their goals, you’ll also have someone you’re training with who can help to push you just a bit harder. When you’re part of a group there is also more incentive to show up for the workouts, which helps you to maintain a regular schedule. After all, no one wants to be that person who is constantly skipping class, do they?
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
As important as it is to stay focused on attaining your goals, it is just as important to cut yourself some slack from time to time. If you miss a workout for some reason, don’t feel guilty or beat yourself up over it. Instead, enjoy the break from the routine, but be prepared to go back to work as soon as you can.
Part of the reason we don’t always manage to keep our resolutions is that when we hit an obstacle we end up feeling like failures, which in turn can cause us to quit altogether. Don’t let this happen to you. Accept that occasionally you’ll have setbacks, but then forget about it and move on.
Make Your Goal A Part Of Your Life
In general, it takes about three weeks for a new activity to turn into a habit. That’s about the same amount of time it takes for most of us to give up on our resolutions. In other words, If you can make it through the first month, chances are you’ll start to have an easier time adapting to a new workout schedule or routine. Be patient, stick with the plan, and force yourself to stay on track. After six months, you won’t even have to think about it anymore. The new fitness regimen will simply be a part of your life.
Keeping a New Year’s resolution isn’t always easy, but if you genuinely want to make a change and follow these tips, you might just find that success is not as elusive as you once thought.