Written by: Elsie Velazquez cert. personal trainer at Prescription Fitness (Cleveland, Ohio)
After a long year and a busy holiday season, it can be overwhelming when your list of New Year’s resolutions is as long as or even longer than your holiday shopping list. As if the post-holiday slump isn’t enough to increase your anxiety, just knowing that you did not keep the prior year’s resolutions and now have to come up with a new one is, I am sure, enough to send you over the edge! This is when you should take a deep breath and remember that a New Year’s resolution is meant to be a positive thing. It is a time to reflect on the past year and think of beneficial lifestyle changes you can make to improve your existence. It is not the extent of the change that matters most – it is the fact of knowing that whatever change you decided on is worth working on.
If you focus on making your resolutions realistic, there is a greater chance that you will keep it throughout the year. Making multiple resolutions or resolutions that are totally out of the realm of possibility will only lead to frustration and feeling of failure.
Below are some tips to help you make AND keep your New Year’s resolutions in 2018:
Tip #1 – Start small
Don’t set yourself for failure. Make resolutions that you think you can keep. For example, if your goal is to exercise more in the upcoming year and you currently work out twice a week, don’t make it goal to exercise 7 days a week. Chances are you will fail and become discouraged. A more realistic goal would be to plan on exercising 4 days a week. If you can do more by all means do more but don’t make your goal impossible to reach.
Tip #2 – Change one behavior at a time
It is fair to say that bad habits don’t develop overnight. Unhealthy behaviors develop over the course of time. Some take months or even years to develop. Accordingly, don’t expect to replace an unhealthy habit with a healthy habit in a week. Give yourself a realistic time frame. Don’t get discouraged if you have to shift the time frame out a bit as long as you are seeing progress and are doing your best to reach your goal. Don’t overwhelm yourself by choosing to change more than one unhealthy habit – be fair to yourself.
Tip #3 – Talk about it
Share your New Year’s resolution with family and friends. It helps to have people who will hold you accountable. If your goal is to take two yoga classes a month, it will help to share that goal with a friend or family member who also practices yoga. They will help get you there!
Tip #4 – Don’t beat yourself up
Nobody is perfect. A year is a relatively long time. There will be good days and bad days. If you have what you view as a “fail”, don’t beat yourself over it and allow it to ruin your progress. If your resolution is to cut back on sugar and you eat a brownie, don’t get discouraged. Discouragement will lead you to eat a second brownie because you feel you already messed up. Don’t do it. Instead, pick yourself up and start over. It is a given that you will experience ups and downs so prepare yourself for them. Become familiar with self-forgiveness and move on.
I hope these tips are helpful in setting and keeping your 2018 New Year’s Resolutions. Good luck to all!
If you have any questions regarding your New Years resolution or proper goal setting, contact one of our fitness professionals at firstname.lastname@example.org.