New Year’s resolutions, goals for the year, ideas for self-improvement…whatever you call them, we all come up with some ideas about how we’re going to become better people in the new year. Often times, these goals or resolutions have to do with getting in shape and eating healthy. However, as we’re sure many of you know, New Year’s resolutions are notoriously difficult to keep. With that in mind, we compiled a list of our best tips and tricks to help you meet the goals you’ve set for yourself. P.S.: these tips apply to any goal you set, not just fitness related goals!
Set realistic goals—ambition is good thing, but failing to plan can be dangerous. Whether you want to lose 30 pounds, get down to seven percent body fat or just commit to a regular fitness routine, realize that it is not going to happen in a day. Map out a realistic time line for your goal, whether it be a month, six months, a year or more, and stick to it. If you don’t, you’re setting yourself up for failure, which could lead to you getting discouraged and giving up all together. If you have a big goal, break it down into smaller pieces to make it seem easier to tackle.
One thing at a time—again, ambition is admirable. But if you try to make this the year you lose 15 pounds, run a marathon, completely cut out processed sugar, go back to school, start saving for retirement, launch that start-up you’ve been talking about and start volunteering in your neighborhood, we guarantee you’re going to drop the ball on a few—probably all—of those things. We recommend picking the one or two that matter most to you and start by focusing on those. Once you have the workout routine down or you’ve adjusted to life without sugar, then start volunteering or sign up for the marathon.
15 minutes a day—if you can spend 15 minutes a day—about one percent of your day—focusing on your resolution and building it into a habit, then you’re much more likely to be successful in the long term. Start with a small time commitment—whether it’s running, weightlifting or any other kind of exercise—rather than trying to force yourself to spend two hours in the gym on day one. And trust us, everyone has 15 extra minutes in their day. As your commitment grows, you’ll find a way to make more time.
Write it down—seriously. Take a pen and a piece of paper and write it down. Then put it somewhere you’ll see it when you might be wavering. If you’re trying to snack healthier, tape it to your computer monitor at work. If you’re trying to work out in the mornings, tape it to your bathroom mirror. It is a lot harder to give up on something when you see it written in your own handwriting each day.
Use the buddy system—it is also a lot harder to bail on your commitment when you have a friend or family member keeping your accountable. Whether this means working out together, meal prepping together, grocery shopping together or all the above, having a friend you can call when you’re wavering will be a big help down the line.
Out of your hands—the time is going to come when your mind and body are going to conspire against you and your goals. Make sure you have fail-safe back-up plans. If you’re resolving to eat healthier, meal prepping and calorie counting are essential. Find healthy recipes or meal plans online, like the one that comes with our 30 Day Fat Blast Stack, or download an app that keeps track of your daily chloric intake.
Track your progress—keep a journal, take some selfies and keep track of all your successes, no matter how small. At times, it can feel like you’re moving too slowly or not making any discernable progress at all. Keeping track of small milestones, like when you start adding weight to make some exercises more difficult or when you can run a mile without feeling winded, remind you that you’re moving forward.
Don’t be too hard on yourself—we are always our own worst enemy. Acknowledge that what you’re setting out to do is difficult and don’t beat yourself up if you stumble a bit. What matters most is that you continually keep pushing forward.
Treat yourself—every once in a while, make sure to treat yourself with things that don’t contradict your fitness goals. Get yourself some new workout gear or enjoy a well-planned cheat meal, rather than denying yourself all enjoyment and then binging when you hit the wall.
Make sure it’s something you want—plain and simple, if this isn’t something you really want then don’t devote so much of yourself to it. It’s important to make sure you’re committing to something for your own reasons, not because you think it’s something you should want or because other people want it. If you don’t really want it, you won’t be able to motivate yourself and you’ll be better off dedicating your time and money elsewhere.