“Dear Santa, This year please give me a big fat bank account and a slim body. Please don't mix those two up like you did last year.”
Plenty of us made healthy New Year’s resolutions for 2015 — “I will finally lose those 10 pounds,” “I will fit in my old jeans,” “I’m giving up carbs.”
Yes, setting goals may be the first step to achieving them, but why do we almost always find ourselves back in our old routines, making the same exact resolutions over and over again every year?
Let’s make 2015 different. Let’s make it count! Here are 5 simple steps to help you really achieve your fitness goals this year.
1) Set small, reasonable goals
It’s easy to set unrealistic goals with the motivation boost we get on January 1st. Two weeks in and still way too far from reaching our goal, we start finding excuses not to go to the gym, or worse, completely give up and binge on chocolate chip cookies.
Set a series of smaller, more realistic goals that act as stepping stones, not as a long jump to your final target. You are more likely to achieve specific and reasonable goals like “I will lose 1 pound this week,” or “I will walk 10,000 steps today,” than “I will lose 20 pounds,” or “I will run a marathon.”
Start small and take it slow, it will pay off in the end.
2) Do something you actually like
Hate crunches? Then don’t do them! Exercise is supposed to be fun and make you feel good about yourself, not the other way around.
Challenges are always welcome, but if you find yourself really not enjoying your workout, then you won’t be doing it for long. So change things around — try a new class or ask your friends what they like doing.
Who knows, maybe bar method is your thing, or you will really like spinning! Experiment to find the best fit.
3) Good old portion control
As boring as it sounds, portion control is still an effective way to cut down on calories without the pain of letting go of your favorite foods.
Let’s be honest, none of us will be giving up our guilty pleasures for a whole year. So how about enjoying them in moderation, while still being able to see results on the scale?
Figure out what portion of your favorite food equals 200 calories, and enjoy it as a side or a snack in your diet. Without the pain of cutting off entire food groups, you will be more likely to stick with your weight loss routine.
4) Make it easy!
If getting to the gym takes you an hour on the freeway, you will clearly be less likely to commit to your workout goals. So make it convenient!
If you are a gym person, pick a gym close to home or work, and pack your bag the night before so even if you are running late in the morning, you can simply grab-and-go.
If you like exercising outdoors, pick a park or pathway close by, and ask a friend to join! Research shows that a workout buddy who is slightly fitter than us can motivate us to push ourselves harder during a workout.
Plus, you don’t want to be that person who ditches her friend on an early morning jog, do you?
5) Don’t be hard on yourself!
Getting off track is part of the progress. Think about it this way — if something goes wrong at work, do you quit your job? If you get into a fight with your partner, do you break up with them right away?
Same logic applies to your fitness goals. If you fall off course, skip a few workouts, or lose track of your diet, simply get back up and continue where you left off. It is not important how slow you go, as long as you don’t stop!
Five fitness resolutions to avoid in 2015. The Telegraph. Retrieved on January 16.
"Aerobic Exercise is Promoted when Individual Performance Affects the Group: A Test of the Kohler Motivation Gain Effect”. Annals of Behavioral Medicine.
Reviewed January 19, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith