Resolution reset: 5 ways to get back on track with your fitness and healthy living goals
At the beginning of a new year, lifestyle changes like exercising, eating healthier and losing weight are among the top resolutions many people make.
If you made New Year’s resolutions, how are you doing on them? If you are struggling or gave up because you couldn’t keep up with it, you’re not alone. You’re perfectly human. One study suggests that 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions are cast aside within three months. (Psychology Today)
The good news is, you can accomplish your goals in 2021. The year is still young. And besides that, it’s never too late to begin again. As the saying goes, “The best time to start was yesterday. The next best time is today.”
In order to do that, let’s reframe your mindset on your goals and how to reach them. I want to give you some advice here that will help you CRUSH your goals and get what you want this year.
First of all, let me explain where I’m coming from. I’m a weight loss success story, and went from a chip-loving couch potato to a fitness professional and health coach. It wasn’t an overnight success by any means. The date I started exercising — the day my transformation started — was simply the day I was finally ready to commit to actually doing the work. This time, I started with small changes I could stick with.
I’ve lived the mindset strategies I’m explaining here. It really worked for me when nothing else did — and I believe it will for you, if you give it a chance.
One of the biggest reasons resolutions fail is that people set unrealistic goals. Then when we can’t meet them, we feel like a failure. Sure, you’d love to have those 25 extra pounds gone the moment you decide to start, or at least by next month. But it’s not realistic, or even healthy, to lose a large amount of weight that quickly.
Often we also compare ourselves to our younger self. When I was young, I could lose weight or get in shape fairly quickly, and you probably could, too. Yeah, well…that was then, and this is now. Our bodies and our metabolism change through the years.
Ignore the magazine covers and TV commercials that promise quick fixes in record time with little effort. There are no quick fixes that last.
Take small steps for big changes
Another reason resolutions fail is because of trying to tackle too much change at once.
You have a long wish list of how you’d like to be and what you’ll do. Starting Monday, you’re going to exercise an hour a day, go on the diet you saw in the magazine, and give up sodas and sweets. But by Wednesday you’re sore and starving, and you realize you can’t keep going with all of that. And boy, those doughnuts look good. So you give up, and feel like a failure.
The fact is, behavior change is hard. It takes time to change long-held habits. You’ll find it so much easier if you’ll instead focus on just ONE thing at a time.
If you’re not accustomed to exercising, then trying to do an hour a day is going to feel incredibly difficult to keep up with. Instead, make a plan to do a small amount each day at first. Be specific but pick something doable so that you can make it a daily habit without skipping out. For example, you decide to walk for 15 minutes every morning after breakfast.
Focus on creating one new habit, and one small change at a time. That way, you’ll be able to keep up with the lifestyle changes you’re making. Then you can grow it from there.
Don’t wait for motivation — do it anyway
If we only went to work when we “feel like it,” we’d be unemployed. In the same way, if you only exercise when you feel like it, it’s not going to consistently get done. And consistency is a key to success.
Chances are you’re not going to wake up every day and say, “Wow, I can’t WAIT to go work out!” I don’t, even though now I genuinely do like to exercise. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get done. I’ve set a schedule for myself where I exercise every morning.
One reason I exercise is because I know I’ll feel so much better when I do. Maybe I am stiff and sluggish to start, but after I get going my body starts perking up. By the end of my workout I feel like a different person, physically and emotionally, and I’m so thankful that I did it.
I’ve learned to not let how I initially feel or think dictate whether I do my workout. I simply follow my schedule and get it done.
Woody Allen once said that 80 percent of success in life is just showing up. You could say the same for success in exercise. Just show up, and do what you can. Even if you only do half of it, that’s still better than nothing.
If you have trouble working out on your own, enroll in exercise classes, meet with a personal trainer, or partner with a workout buddy. All of those things can be done online these days. Do whatever it takes to get yourself on a set schedule to exercise.
Realize that setbacks and lapses are not personal failures
It happens, and it’s just a part of real life.
If you slip up, don’t use that as a reason to quit. Giving up on your goal because of one setback is like slashing your other three tires because you got one flat.
Avoid all-or-nothing thinking. You don’t have to be perfect to succeed. You just have to be consistent and persistent. Don’t give up.
If you get off track, simply get back on and move forward. Let yesterday’s mistakes go.
Just keep going
If there is one secret to success, it’s perseverance. I’ve had to turn the page and just keep going, throughout my journey. It’s the only reason I got to where I am today. It’s the only way to achieve what you want.
Picture yourself this time next year when you’ve accomplished your goal, and how grateful you’ll be that you didn’t give up. If you’ll be patient and just keep going, you will get where you want to be.
It’s never too late to make a resolution reset or to take steps for a healthier you. This could be your best year yet!
For more, see my post “Your step-by-step, no-fail system for getting fit and healthy in 2021.”