After the excitement of a new year has come and gone, you eventually fall back into your normal routine. Research shows that gym memberships increase at least 12% each January, only to have those numbers fall back by February.
As losing weight is usually the most common New Year’s resolution, it’s normal for people to get serious about exercise—at least for a few weeks. Regardless of reasons behind past failures, it is possible to make small, reachable goals that will leave your new year healthier and more consistent than ever. So what can you do to keep your weight loss resolutions this year?
How to Overcome Weight Loss Pitfalls
Scientifically, weight loss consists of eating less and exercising more. But after your resolve wears off, it’s as easy as ever to make poor choices. Many people overestimate exercise benefits while underestimating their calorie intake. With better nutrition information and achievement strategies, you can keep your resolutions for 2015 and beyond. Below you’ll find 9 ways to make and meet realistic weight loss and wellness goals.
1. Plan Ahead
Put “exercise” in your daily planner, calendar, or phone. This helps you make a real commitment, if only to yourself. Assess what changes need to be made, and prepare yourself to actually carry that plan out. Even if your goal is just to spend 10 minutes exercising at first, it’s better than nothing. Consistency is key.
2. Make a Pros and Cons List
This will help you map out why you want to make this goal. It also will help you keep the future benefits in your mind, even if they won’t come for another six months. Before setting a goal, make sure you want it enough to achieve it. Making a list of positives and negatives (or sacrifices) that come from this goal will help you know what to expect.
3. Be Realistic
You’re not going to keep working out if you hate it. Instead, choose activities you will enjoy. Thi s could be bowling, ballroom dance, or martial arts. Whatever you end up liking, you’ll stick with. It’s also a good idea to make small, reachable goals so you don’t end up frustrated and overwhelmed by the end of January.
4. Choose Wisely
Think about your daily caloric limit as “spending money.” You’ll want to spend it on things that give you energy and satisfaction rather than an empty and unhealthy feeling. But how do you know which foods are better, especially when going out to eat?
Don’t let chain restaurants fool you with their boosted health images. Instead, read up on specific chain restaurant nutrition information. There are apps for this as well as for those who like to prepare their own meals. This way, you can know exactly what to expect from what you consume.
5. Stay Accountable
Chances of you meeting your goal increase if you are accountable to someone else. Whether this means doing your resolution with a buddy or informing your family of your plans, make a commitment. You’re much more likely to make good on your promises, especially if people ask you how it’s going.
6. Reward Yourself
One hard thing about weight loss and resolutions is that they involve little immediate payoff. Give yourself short-term incentives to keep your long-term goal going strong. This could be a movie night, a day at the spa, or even just an indulgent slice of chocolate cake. Whatever you do, keep your motivation up.
7. Track Your Progress
Stop and assess how you are doing with your goal about twice a month. If things are looking dire, it’s not prohibited to rewrite your resolution. It’s also a good idea to measure the impact of your exercise. This doesn’t just involve weighing yourself, but checking your BMI, cholesterol, and blood pressure. After this assessment, resolve on what things you need to adjust. Post sticky-note reminders around your home to stay aware of these changes.
8. Don’t Guilt Yourself
Even if you slip up or have an off week, it’s no reason to give up. Instead of getting overwhelmed with what you haven’t accomplished, look at each day individually. Every new day is a new opportunity to start fresh and recommit. Just remember, New Year’s Day is just another day. You can approach any day with the same commitment and resolution.
9. Stay with It
You won’t see immediate results, but you may feel some. Pay attention to your body and rejoice in the small victories. Now you can walk up the stairs to work without completely losing your breath! Whatever it is, watch for small improvements. Be persistent and patient, knowing that you’ll get eventual results. Remember, exercise habits develop after six months.
Even if you’ve already fallen short of 2015’s resolutions, recommit to a healthier lifestyle. Consider ways you can make your goals more reachable. Whether that involves small diet adjustments or just ways to get moving, you’ll be happier and healthier this year.