January’s come and gone. The fitness classes and parking lots are less crowded, and the New Year’s resolutions are starting to lose their steam. If any of this sounds familiar, you’re not alone.
Each year millions of people embrace resolutions to get fit or lose weight. For some, the month of January is exhilarating, and they find themselves full of energy and motivation to keep an eye on the prize.
But for many others, this once-a-year promise to change their life begins to run out of steam before the first month of the year is over.
If you’re looking to make 2019 the year you stick with your health and fitness goals, we have you covered. We asked three fitness experts to give us some practical tips to help make your resolution stick.
Make Each Day Count
Approaching a resolution as a lifestyle change makes it easier to adapt into your life. That means, using each day towards your goal, even if in a small way. For example, iFit trainer Josh Nuckles recommends using Sunday for planning meals and workouts for the week. “Use Wednesday as a mid-week check to see if you need to slow down or push harder, and use Saturday as a reflective day to look back and log progress,” he says.
Create a Routine
When the January hype wears off, you’ll need to find other ways to stay in your fitness groove. One proven method is to create a routine. “You’re more likely to be successful if you plan ahead and set specific goals for yourself,” celebrity trainer and Fitbit Ambassador Harley Pasternak says. At the start of every week, Pasternak says to look at your schedule and carve out 25 minutes a day, five days a week to dedicate to a resistance routine. You can also use this strategy to schedule cardio time three to five days a week and save a few hours on the weekend for meal prepping for the upcoming week.
Do Away With Obstacles and Excuses
“The less convenient it is to exercise and eat right, the less likely you are to be successful,” Pasternak says. “If you join a gym 30 minutes from your home, let’s be realistic–you’re probably not going to go.” His advice? Don’t let it be an excuse; keep moving from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep. “I challenge myself, my clients and now all of you to get at least 10,000 steps a day (most of my clients exceed 12k per day), so walk around the block a couple of times when you wake up, during lunch, coffee breaks and after dinner.”
Kick Your Bad Habits
While maintaining motivation to improve your fitness may seem difficult, Pasternak says falling back into bad habits can be a deal breaker. Don’t fall back into the habit of grabbing a muffin with your morning coffee or taking the elevator or escalator instead of the stairs. Instead, make sure to eat breakfast before you leave the house to reduce your cravings for baked goods, and take the stairs at least most of the way. “These may seem like little habits, but they play a key role into the bigger picture,” Pasternak says.
Recite Your ABCs
If you’re losing the motivation to stick with your fitness goals, try reciting the ABCs. Kenzie Hayes, a certified trainer and coach for the personal training platform Ladder, says to think of the ABCs when sticking to your resolution.
- A for accountability. Accountability is something that many people struggle to find on their own. That’s why Hayes recommends working one-on-one with an online coach or personal trainer. This can help set you up for success, give you realistic goals and keep the fire lit.
- B for balance. This is a lifestyle, not a quick fix. Which means, you can’t feel overly restricted by a diet or training plan.
- C for celebrate. Remember fitness is here to help you enjoy life! “Celebrating the small wins can help you bounce back quickly after an “off” day and stay dedicated,” Hayes says.
Refocusing resolutions sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Nuckles says one way to get back on track is to find little ways to stay active throughout the day. For example, try walking meetings during work instead of sitting through them. Play music to dance to while making breakfast, lunch and dinner or do 10 pushups and squats every time you complete a task for the day (laundry, work project, etc.).
Enlist the Help of Friends and Technology
If you’re in need of a little motivation, enlist the help of your friends. “They can encourage you to stick to your plan, offer support and participate in healthy competition,” Pasternak explains. If your friends are losing weight, you’re far more likely to do the same. Beyond your support group, he also recommends using a health and wellness app, such as the Fitbit app, to track your progress and compare results.
Focus on the Process
Pasternak’s No. 1 tip for his clients? Focus on the process. “While it’s great to have end goals, they can actually hurt our progress if they feel too out of reach or if we judge our success on the outcome of one goal,” he explains. You may find more success if you focus on the processes, methods and techniques you use to work towards your goal. “Celebrate how hard you’re working and how dedicated you are, rather than how close you’ve come to an end goal.”
Work With a Trainer
Hayes recommends connecting with a fitness professional who can help keep you accountable and create the right program for you. “The best way to get back on track is to put a period on the end of that sentence and move on. A coach can help give you the momentum you need.”
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