Many of us made resolutions earlier this year to get healthy (or healthier). But keeping those goals might be another story. According to a University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology report, only eight percent of those surveyed were successful in achieving their resolutions. (These included resolutions to lose weight, save money, quit smoking and other goals.)
If your fitness resolutions have already gone by the wayside, don’t despair! We’ve got tips to help you get back on track.
1. Talk with your primary care doctor
Make sure you’ve set realistic health goals by first talking with your primary doctor. Let them know what you’d like to accomplish and ask if those goals are achievable given your current state of health. If your goals aren’t realistic, your doctor can help you determine ones that are more appropriate.
2. Small steps = big changes
Coaching and health experts agree that a key to success in achieving any goal is to break it down into smaller, more manageable steps.
For instance, if want to lose 50 pounds this year, break that goal down into monthly or weekly increments, which can increase your success rate. You might begin by giving up your soda habit and doing 10 minutes of cardio every other day for the first seven days. At the end of the week, you’ll have achieved success, which can help boost your confidence and prepare you for your next goals in weeks two, three and four.
Remember, small wins over time can add up to big success!
3. Create a routine
It’s often been said that humans are creatures are habit, and creating a routine can help reinforce a new activity until becomes habit. It will also help you plan your day around your new commitments.
For example, instead of thinking, “I’ll walk every day for 15 minutes when there’s a break in the day,” try committing to a specific time in your day when you know you’re not busy: “I’ll walk for 15 minutes each morning at 7:30 a.m. for a week.”
4. Don’t get discouraged
Setbacks can occur on the path to any goal. If you set a small goal but don’t achieve it, that’s OK! The key is to not give up. Give yourself the gift of being an imperfect human being. Then, give yourself the gift of trying again.
As author Dominique Astorino likes to say, “Progress, not perfection.”
5. Buddy up
Who doesn’t need and appreciate words of encouragement when trying to meet a goal? Find a friend or family member who would like to achieve the same or similar health goal that you’ve set. That way you’ll have someone you can talk to about any challenges you might face. You’ll also have someone you can support (helping others boosts our own happiness) and share your wins.
When it comes to losing weight as a health goal, exercise physiologist, chiropractor, and Internet radio host Adam Shafran, DC, says people who fail do so because they lack a good support system.
Bonus tip — Enjoy the journey (or at least try to!)
Rather than worrying about how difficult it is to reach your goal, try focusing on the wonderful little details that make up your day.
If you’re starting to walk in the mornings, listen to the birds and watch the sky turn colors. If you’re goal is to de-stress, buy some candles that smell good and light them while meditating. Remember the words of encouragement and smiles that people in your support system offer you.
So often it’s these little things in life that can make our day and give us the courage to keep going.
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