What have you resolved to do this year?
For many of us, having a happy new year means setting and achieving new goals. Are you trying to lose weight? Eat healthier? Run a marathon? These are some common resolutions we see with every new year and they are all focused on self-improvement, which is fantastic.
If you are one of the many who have travelled down this road before, what’s kept you from achieving your goals? Resolving to do something is a great first step in goal setting. If you are looking to meet your fitness goals this year and beyond, then it’s time to move past the resolution phase and start developing healthy habits that last.
Set goals and be specific. Need to lose weight? How much do you need to lose, in what amount of time? What are the steps it will take you to get there?
Be realistic. If your goal is to lose 50 pounds this year, for example, you may set smaller achievable goals along the way. Think “baby steps”. Perhaps your goal will be to lose 4-5 pounds per month. Are you able to stick to a diet and exercise plan that will allow you to get there? Want to run a marathon? Set smaller goals along the way and register for shorter races, like 5Ks, 10Ks and half marathons to keep you on track in the months leading up to your marathon.
Commit. Tell someone about your goal. Once you’ve made it public, you’re more likely to stick to it.
Stay motivated by finding a support system. Online support groups work for some, working out with a friend works for others. Try group exercise. People who attend group exercise classes are more likely to stick to it because of the camaraderie and the motivation they get from instructors and other class participants. Most Importantly, it’s fun.
Schedule workout time on your calendar. You need to make the commitment to yourself, so schedule it just like you would an important meeting or appointment. If you have to cancel, be sure to reschedule.
Plan your meals. One of the biggest reasons we reach for unhealthy choices is because we have failed to meal plan. Find what works for your schedule, but taking one day of the week to meal- prep works for many people. Not sure what to prepare? More nutrition information can be found at choosemyplate.gov.
Keep track of your progress, reward yourself for your achievements and don’t be too hard on yourself if you get off track. It takes time and patience to create new habits, but once these healthy habits are formed, they will become second nature.
Angela Fulgieri is the Wellness Experience Director at the Plant City YMCA. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.