How’s your New Year’s resolution going? If you’re like the majority of Americans who resolved in January to eat healthier and be more active, then you’ve probably decided by now to shelve that goal until next year. It’s an unfortunate statistic that 60 percent of people who set fitness goals quit within six weeks of starting.
Many of us choose to eat healthier and exercise more because we know they’re important for our health. But when life gets in the way, it’s easy to push aside these lifestyle changes and tell ourselves we can get to them tomorrow. Before we know it, a week, a month, a year goes by and the resolution is gone. Here are five tips to help you stay motivated, remain on track and reach your goals:
1. Have a clear, achievable goal, write it down and place it where you can see it regularly.
Reassess your goals to make sure they’re clear and attainable. Don’t set yourself up for failure. If losing 20 pounds is realistically attainable based on your schedule, then keep it there and do what you need to do to achieve it. If it’s not realistic, be honest with yourself and scale back. I encourage my patients to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week. If you’ve lost 6 pounds by the six-week mark, you should be very proud of yourself because you are on a healthy track. Once you’ve settled on a goal, write it down on a piece of paper and attach them to your bathroom mirror, workstation or another location where you will see it every day as a reminder. Reading and seeing your goal daily will help motivate you!
2. Reward yourself for reaching milestones.
Who doesn’t like rewards? Rewarding yourself for reaching certain milestones is one of the best ways to stay motivated. If you set a goal to lose 20 pounds, reward yourself in 5-pound increments. Buy new pants, eat something you’ve been craving (just don’t over-indulge), go to a concert or a movie. Whatever it is, do something fun that makes you feel happy.
3. Review why you wrote your goal and everything you have done to make it a priority.
Remind yourself why you are working out or dieting. Maybe you want to lower your blood pressure, fit into that summer bikini or have more energy to keep up with your toddler. Whatever your reason may be, write it down and place it next to your goal. Post a photo. Do whatever you think it will take to keep you motivated.
4. Take it one day at a time and add daily goals to your schedule.
Nobody ever said changing your lifestyle would be easy. It requires a huge time commitment every week. But don’t think about it that way. Rather, focus only on what you can accomplish in the next 24 hours. Maybe you only have time for a 15-minute walk during your lunch break at work. That’s fine. Build it into your schedule to help you stick to it. If you often find an excuse not to go to the workout, pack your gym bag the night before and place it in the car so you can go there directly after work. It’s a lot harder to tell yourself no if it’s on your schedule and everything is ready to go. If you’ve already quit, start over by setting a goal for tomorrow only. You can do anything for just one day!
5. Be persistent and patient with yourself.
It takes about six weeks for something new to become a habit and six months to make it truly part of your routine to the point where you cannot live without it. That said, don’t beat yourself up for missing a workout or having a bad day with your diet. You will always be your harshest critic, but remember nobody is perfect. Find a workout partner to help you stay accountable for showing up to the gym on time. Encourage your family to eat healthy with you because it’s a lot easier to do something if everyone around you is doing the same thing.Share this Article