Every December, we start to think of new years resolutions to start January 1st. We plan to give up something, or change the way we do something, or try to do more of something. At first, we are really keen on the idea of making a change, but as the month of january progresses and the year carries on, often we fall off our new years resolutions and back into our old habits.
Why? Because change is hard! We easily fall into habits, whether they are good or bad, and it can be really hard to break or change them. Resolutions can also put a lot of pressure on yourself if you decide on a large goal for the new year. For example, say you haven’t ran in a very long time and your resolution is to start running everyday… Chances are that is not going to last very long. You are going to skip a day, and then well you’ve already failed your resolution so you may as well stop running all together. (I am being dramatic, I know, but you get the point!) Creating goals/resolutions that seem impossible to achieve can make it harder to stick to a resolution. It can be discouraging if you start slipping, and it may cause you to give up all together. If you decide on a resolution that is so drastically different from what you are currently doing, it can be pretty difficult to achieve that goal.
So, how can you you make a resolution and stick to it?
1. Pick a resolution that is realistic and achievable.
Last year my resolution was to stretch more. I didn’t put a value on it like I had to stretch everyday for 30 minutes. It was more that I wanted to make more of an effort to stretch after running. This resolution worked because it was something I wanted to do, and I was very motivated to do so for a number of reasons. Having a selected “start date” helped me establish a time frame, and the weight of it being a “resolution” actually helped me stick to it.
When selecting a resolution, do not pick something totally ridiculous or out of character for you. Pick something that you really actually want to achieve because you are more likely to stick to something you want. I would also not recommend giving up things completely. It is unrealistic to give up say, junk food, because lets face it, there are going to be birthdays, holidays and parties where it is totally acceptable to endulge a little. Do not get discouraged if you fall back on your goals, progress is progress no matter how slow it is. If you take a step back, do not give up completely, tomorrow is another day. When choosing your resolution, take a step back and look at where you are in your fitness journey. If you have yet to start it, but want to, start small. Make a few small resolutions through out the year so that you can achieve many goals instead of working towards one big one. When you are trying to achieve one giant goal, it can end up being very intimidating and you may loose sight of the goal. Stick to smaller goals and you may find that your progress is faster. Do not try to change everything all at once.
2. Pick something you want to achieve:
You are more likely to be successful in your goal if it something you truly want to achieve. Picking a resolution that you can tangibly reach will give you a goal date to work towards. That is why fitness resolutions are such a great idea. Pick a race or an event that you really want to do. Start wherever you are and work towards a level that feels achievable for you. If you do not exercise at all right now, gradually add exercise to your routine and work yourself up to your desired goal. If you goal is to work out 30 minutes everyday and you do not exercise at all, you can burn yourself out by trying to do it all at once or you could even cause harm to your body. Take is easy, listen to your body, and work your way up to an achieveable fitness regime. Focus on a few smaller goals instead of big one. If you want to run your first 5km by May and your first 10km by October, focusing first on the 5km, achieve that goal, and then move on to running then 10km. It is also important to be reasonable with yourself. If a certain amount of weight loss is your new years resolution, do not fixate on numbers. It can be easy to get disappointed and give up if you a certain number is not met. Instead make fitness based resolutions such as increasing your workout time per week, miles ran per week or eating healthier. If you are eating better and exercising you are becomign healthier. Also remember that muscle weighs more than fat so you may not end up loosing as many pounds as you set out to.
3. Make it Fun!
In the end, it is you that has to hold yourself accountable for your resolution so pick something that you actually want to achieve and have fun with it! Be specific with your goal; run that marathon, climb that mountain, fit into those old jeans, become a vegetarian. Whatever it is, make sure you truly want the change or to achieve the goal. Last year I gave up Tim Hortons completely, and if you know anything about being Canadian, we really like our Tim Hortons. There is a Timmys right across from the hopstial I work at that is open 24 hours. I found myself heading there on nearly every shift I worked. Then I started going before work, and then on days off. I decided I was done. I wanted to save money, and stop putting junk in my body everyday. I made it fun by thinking, how long can I seriously go with out Tim Hortons!? It has now been a year, and I no longer want it. At the beginning to keep me motivated, everytime I got a craving for it, I would transfer $5 into my savings account. By the end of the month I was able to treat myself to a new pair of running shorts… much better than bagels and “ice-caps” if you ask me! Reward systems can be totally helpful for keeping you on a track! Maybe every 5km you run put $5 into your piggy bank. It can really motivating and fun when you start to see that piggy bank building up! Get others involved in your goals too. Get a group of friends together and train for your first half-marathon. Sticking with friends makes it easier to stay accountable because you do not want to let yourself or your friends down.
So, with all that being said, I want everyone to pick a new years resolution and STICK TO IT this year. Share your resolutions in the comments below. Tell the community and help keep yourself accountable! Feel free to send us a message or an email at ANYTIME for questions, or if you feel like you are slipping on your goals. You can honestly do anything you put your heart and mind to, you just have to want to achieve it to do it! Go after those goals!! YOU CAN DO THIS!!!