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The New Year is a great time for some reflection and wiping the slate clean.
Amanda Edell NASM CPT, ACSM CP | @bodybyamanda | bodybyamandanyc.com
Although we should all be doing constant evaluation of ourselves throughout the year, it's a great time to start over and think about what we learned in the last twelve months and how we can apply these lessons going forward.
Unfortunately, so many people go into the New Year with a bunch of goals in mind they want to accomplish but the reality is over half of these people won’t stick to these goals.
Many of us have been there so actually can relate. In order to not fall into the predictable trap, I share six tips to help you stick to your goals this year.
This seems pretty obvious but many times we set goals we think we will magically be motivated to accomplish because it’s the New Year when in reality, we actually are putting off these particular goals because they’re not what we actually want to be doing.
Make sure whatever you do set out to do is something that genuinely interests you.
Let’s take a particular example: let’s say you have a weight loss goal in mind so you set out to get to the gym three days a week starting January 1st.
The problem is, you despise the gym.
Kudos to you for recognizing that your health needs to be prioritized- awesome! But saying you’re going to hit the gym three days a week when in reality it’s the last place you ever want to be in your free time is unrealistic and you will be just setting yourself up for failure.
Here are plenty of options to get a good sweat going that don't necessarily involve going to the gym in a traditional sense. Maybe it’s taking a cycling class, boxing, hiking, taking a twerking class, (hey, you’ve got to think outside the box sometimes!) or trying karate or muay thai. My point is to take the time to find something you genuinely enjoy doing so that it won’t feel like work and you’ll be much more inclined to see this goal through.
So, let’s stick to this weight loss goal theory: let’s say you have a weight loss goal in mind and you announce you want to lose 50 pounds by April 1st.
This is a hefty goal that will require not only time but a load of support and planning on your end.
Losing 50 pounds by April 1st is extremely aggressive. It can be done but you’ll need to hire a trainer, a nutritionist and plan on making the gym a priority from now until then. Making sure you take these necessary steps prior is imperative to be successful.
So, take a look at your goals and think about if they are indeed realistic. If they aren’t break them down into baby goals. It’s OK if it takes you a bit longer to accomplish something rather than not accomplishing it at all and feeling like a failure.
Telling people you are going to accomplish something makes you that much more likely to actually doing it. You can even ask family or friends to hold you to it. You can also hire a coach to help keep you accountable.
The reality is thinking about do something and saying you are going to do something are two very different things. When we announce to others we are going to accomplish something, statistics show that it makes us that much more likely to do so.
So tell your friends, family, coach about your plans and if you need to, ask them to check up on you from time to time to help hold you to it.
Let’s say you make it a goal to go to get to the gym 3x a week in the New Year, regardless.
Fine- but what needs to happen before this?
Do you have enough gym clothes? If not, you may need to hit up Target.
Are you a member of a gym? If not, you may want to join one before.
Do you tend to snooze in the mornings? If so, you may want to think about a nightly routine you can implement before the New Year so you get into the habit of going to bed earlier so you can wake up 3x a week to hit the gym.
The reality is not waiting on taking the necessary steps before the time comes to start implementing is important to prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed and giving up.
Don’t wait for the last minute to do it all - make things easier on yourself and evaluate what needs to happen before in order to make you that much more successful.
It’s so easy to say you’re going to do something and as the months go by, things happen which totally throw you off your new and improved routine.
Maybe you move, switch jobs, get married, whatever it is, it forces your schedule to get totally thrown off.
Having monthly check ins with yourself and making sure you are continuously progressing towards those goals is imperative to actually see them through. Maybe that’s journaling, maybe that’s having monthly calls with your coach or family friend. Whatever it is, make sure every month you are evaluating where you are and where you still need to be.
The reality is something will come up to derail us from these goals. Sometimes it’s big, sometimes it’s not, but we can count on distractions and life events happening throughout the year that will inevitably pull us away from our routine.
When this happens, (because it always will) don’t freak out! We should expect these events to happen and have set back plans ready for when they do.
Sometimes it can be as simple as having resistance bands at home so when the kids do wake up sick unable to go to school and you can’t hit the gym early, you still have a home workout you can do in a pinch.
Sometimes it can be as simple as having resistance bands at home so when the kids do wake up sick...
Traveling for vacation or work? You know you’ll have to adjust your schedule to plan on working out before you go or take some bands with you while you travel to still get your workouts in while away from home.
Know you’re working an overnight? Plan on packing some healthy snacks to fuel your body right for the night.
Keep in mind that planning ahead for when stuff hits the fan is half the battle when it comes to staying on track with any goal. It’s about consistency, not perfection. The road to success is not going to be a straight line. It’s up, down and all around. It’s messy af. Be patient and kind to yourself this New Year and keep these tips in mind to help you see your goals through!
Laura Manning, MPH, RDN, CDN The Low FODMAP diet is getting some well-deserved attention these days.