Remember that New Year’s resolution you set a few months ago? How is that going? If you’ve “fallen off the wagon,” that’s okay! You don’t have to wait until January 1 to push the “reset” button and get re-energized about making changes in 2018. Henry Moore said, “I think in terms of the day’s resolutions, not the years.’” Every day is a new chance to create a better you.
I want to first address a common mistake I see when it comes to making resolutions. Many people set goals rather than resolutions, and it’s important to understand the difference here. You see, a goal has a specific finish line (i.e. “lose 12 pounds”). And if you don’t accomplish your goal within the first few weeks of the new year, you’re more likely to become discouraged and give up. A resolution, on the other hand, does not have a deadline or a final destination. A resolution is “a firm decision to do or not to do something.” It’s a commitment to improving your way of living, thinking, or behaving long-term. It’s ongoing. If you set goals at the beginning of this year, but no resolutions, I encourage you to take some time to set your resolutions now. Here are a few examples of health and fitness related resolutions:
- Get daily physical activity
- Avoid fast food
- Consume more whole foods
- Drink more water
- MeditateOnce you’ve decided on your resolutions, you can set specific goals that align with them. The good news is, by adhering to your resolutions, you may reach your goals naturally. For example, by following your resolution to “avoid fast food,” you may lose 12 pounds as a result. Make sense?
Now that you’ve reset your resolutions for 2018, here are my top 3 tips for sticking to your resolutions all year long.
1) SET REMINDERS.
Right now, while the ideas are fresh in your head, set up a system so you are reminded of your resolutions every day. This could be a post-it note on your refrigerator, a screensaver on your computer, or an alert on your phone. It should be something that is in your face, so even on your busiest days, you will be reminded. And let’s be honest, the busy days are the days we need the reminder the most.
2) GET ACCOUNTABILITY.
Accountability means having someone check in with you regularly. Someone who is expecting you to follow through with what you say you’re going to do. When you have external accountability, you are far more likely to stay on track. This is why so many people hire trainers and coaches. Yes, to provide the education, but also to hold them accountable for showing up and putting in the work. Here are a few ways to get accountability for your health and fitness resolutions:
Recruit a Friend. I bet you have at least one friend who wants to improve his/her health. You can schedule times to meet for workouts, or just put a system in place to check in with one another every week.
Attend Group Classes. Group classes can be a great way to get you in the door. You don’t have to plan anything. You just need to show up, and then someone else will be there to motivate you. Introduce yourself to other participants in the class. Once they’ve seen you there a few times, they can be great accountability buddies for you.
Hire a Personal Trainer. You’re much less likely to bail on your workout when you have an appointment with a trainer. Once there, a good trainer will challenge you to work harder than you would otherwise. If you’re lucky, they may even help provide accountability for the days you’re not meeting with them.
Join an Online Community. There are so many blogs, Facebook groups, and social media networks for people with similar goals to get in shape. Once you’re connected in one of these communities, vocalize your goals with the group, so they know how to best support you.
Hire an Online Coach. As an online coach myself, I believe this is the most effective and most efficient form of accountability. A good online coach will provide you with the tools and the resources to be successful, then check in with you regularly. They will be available to you when you need them, and get back to you in a timely manner. Many coaches create an online community (as mentioned above) with their clients, so they can support one another and act as another layer of accountability.
3) REWARD YOURSELF ALONG THE WAY.
Even adults respond to rewards. Of course there are inherent rewards with getting fit and healthy (more confidence, more energy, feeling incredible, reduced risk of disease, etc.), but rewarding yourself for the small successes along the journey can help keep you motivated. Often times, people focus only on their BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goal), and therefore, they overlook their day-to-day progress. If this is you, then you probably feel discouraged and are ready to give up because “it’s not working.”
Instead, shift your focus to the baby steps that lead to your BHAG. Set mini goals to reach along the way. I encourage you to have a combination of physical and habitual mini goals. A physical goal could be losing the next 5 pounds of your 30 pound weight loss goal or doing 10 consecutive push-ups. A habitual goals might be eating 4 servings of vegetables a day for 10 days in a row, or getting into bed by 10:00 each night for 2 weeks.
When you achieve one of these mini goals, reward yourself! Treat yourself to a pedicure or a massage. Buy yourself a new pair of workout pants or a cute sports bra. I encourage you to stay away from food rewards. When you reward yourself with food, you’re telling yourself that certain foods are “off limits” or “cheat meals” and this can lead to a negative relationship with food. Instead, I believe in a Flexible Dieting approach, in which no foods are off limits, but you learn how to consume foods in moderation and optimally fuel your body. Visit www.empoweru.life to download my free Ebook, Macros, Micros, and Food Freedom, to learn more about Flexible Dieting.
There’s a lot of 2018 left. What will you do to reset, and make your resolutions last?
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