Did your New Years resolution have you making donations to your health club last year? Have you made a New Year’s resolution yet for this year? Well guess what? Three out of the top ten most common New Year’s Resolutions are regarding health, weight loss, and exercise. Unfortunately, these well-meaning goals are often broken after a few months
(or even weeks!) following New Years. How can you set yourself up for success this year so that the exercise clothes don’t continue to be used as “athleisure wear” and the monthly gym membership fees are no longer just donations? Consider these helpful tips to turn things around this year and establish healthy change.
- Set achievable fitness or weigh loss goals. When making your goals for the year, make goals that you know are realistic. Two months is not a reasonable amount of time to lose 50 lbs. in a healthy way and you are most likely not going to be able to go to the gym everyday of the week. Healthy weight loss is considered to be 1-2 lbs. per week. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (five days per week) or 20-60 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise (three days per week).
- Be specific. It is hard to work towards an ambiguous goal. Think about what you want to achieve specifically so that you can work towards your resolution in a way that you can measure along the way. Specific resolutions may include going to the gym a specific number of times per week, losing 30 lbs over the year, decreasing your waist measurement to 32 inches, or completing a 5k roadrace by September.
- Be accountable. It can be difficult to motivate yourself to exercise, especially on those rainy days. To help you stay true to your goals, establish accountability to increase your chance of success. You may have a friend with similar goals and can coordinate workout sessions to help each other to stay motivated, even on the tough days. If you are working by yourself, check out some apps that help you track progress and provide encouragement and reminders that promote consistency in your goals.
- Think long term. It’s all about the lifestyle change! Drastic, short-term changes are most likely not going to last for long (think about the last time you tried to diet). Establish a work out routine that you can gradually ease into and would be able to maintain for years to come. This may mean that changes are small at first and that’s ok!
- Plan ahead. Avoid putting yourself in the position of making spur of the moment decisions regarding your goals. Rather than waiting until after a long work day, plan ahead for the week so that you know when you are going to the gym or taking your walks. Set out your work out clothes the night before if you plan to work out in the morning. Have a plan for each workout, whether it is a set circuit or a time goal, to avoid aimless wandering in the gym. Drink lots of water in preparation for your workouts so that you are fully hydrated to get the most out of your workout.
Keeping these tips in mind, you can achieve your goals and be on your way to a healthier lifestyle.
Dr. Elizabeth Young