Happy New Year.
In honor of the fact that you probably made the same New Year’s resolutions last night concerning your health and fitness that you’ve made in year’s past, I thought I would do the same. Well kind of. I’m not making the same resolution, but I am re-writing the same article about New Year’s resolutions. I figured if you’re going to make the same old resolutions year after year, why shouldn’t I get to write about the same old advice?”
I guess it’s easy to understand why we all make New Year’s resolutions. There’s just something exciting about the thought of “starting over” on the first day of a new year. Even though we can (and should) make positive changes in our life on any day throughout the year, people tend to hold off until Jan. 1. However, this approach often fails. Putting so much pressure on yourself by believing that you have to follow through with your resolutions this time or you’ll be a failure, and thinking that if you don’t do it now, you never will, often leads to disappointment. And if your resolutions deal with health and fitness, as they often do, letting another year go by without finally achieving your goals can have a much more serious effect than just disappointment.
So to help you make and stick to your fitness goals this year, I wanted to give you five important tips.
— Be concrete: Instead of talking about things you’d like to do, talk about things that will happen. Use statements like “I’m going to have healthy family dinners together every evening.” Or “I will eat my fruits and vegetables each day.” Avoid talking about your resolutions using phrases that begin with statements such as “I’d like to …” or “Maybe I’ll …” Using concrete terms will help you commit to the idea. It’s a simple confidence-building technique that will help you internalize your goals and achieve them.
— Be specific: Don’t just set a goal of exercising more, but try setting a specific goal such as exercising every Monday, Wednesday and Friday before work for an hour. If your resolution is a bigger goal that will take more time, such as losing 40 pounds, you need to map out all of the smaller goals that you need to accomplish along the way. Give yourself a time frame for each of the small goals, such as losing 2 or 3 pounds per week, required to meet the long-term goal.
— Set realistic goals: One of the biggest mistakes most people make is setting themselves up for failure. Achieving goals takes time and effort on your part. Things don’t happen just because you thought of it. If you set unrealistic goals, you will quickly become discouraged and likely stop pursuing them at all.
— Write them down: Writing your New Year’s resolutions down seems rudimentary, but experts agree that the rate of success is greater if you do. Writing them down is another form of commitment. Post your list in a prominent location where you’re sure to see it, or make a few copies and post them around the house, at work or even in the car.
— Tell everyone you know: This is probably my favorite idea, but one that takes the most courage. One of the worst mistakes you can make is to not tell anyone of your goals. By telling people, you are setting yourself up for success. Each and every person you tell will hopefully be rooting for you and will probably check up on your progress. Whether your goal is to eat healthy, exercise regularly, or spend more time with loved ones, you will always be questioned on your progress and your friends and family will share in your success right along with you, creating another measure of accountability.
n Mike DeCinti is the marketing director for Lumberton Radiological Associates. He can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 738-8222, Ext. 258.