Fall is here, and before we know it we’ll be ringing in the New Year.  December and January are probably the best months for new gym memberships, nutrition plans, and health classes because of all of the enticing discounts that hope to get you to commit to a healthier version of you in the New Year. We all say we want to make changes come January, but then what happens? For many, by mid-year their resolve to stick with that new diet or workout regimen is completely gone and they are back to square one, right before bikini season. Below are a few thoughts on how you can make some New Years resolutions that you will stick with long after you yell “Happy New Year!”

1. Use Whatever Word Works for You.

Some people don’t like the word resolution and prefer to set “goals” for the New Year. Having a goal for some, is more activating than having a resolution. Figure out what works for you and use the word that motivates you to make something happen, rather than just dream about it. Here are some other words you can use if you don’t like resolution: goal, objective, target, intention. Many people are afraid to even begin the process of resolution setting because they accept defeat from the beginning. Give yourself permission to dream but obviously don’t make your goals too far of a stretch so you don’t lose heart before you begin.

2. Make The Resolutions Measurable.

Avoid the tendency to set vague intentions for the New Year. Don’t just say, I want to lose weight, say I want to lose 10 lbs and decrease my body fat percentage by five points. Use numbers, use a time limit if you want, just make sure your goal can be easily quantified. If you want to eat healthier,  maybe you set a goal to eat 7-9 servings of fruits and vegetables three or four days a week. You get the idea. This is super important because without the specifics you cannot know when you’ve reached your goal and should be celebrating, or what numbers or data you should be tracking on a regular basis to obtain the goal.

3. Find Someone to Hold  you Accountable.

It’s so much easier to fall off the healthy bandwagon if you have a goal and no one else knows about it. In that scenario you can easily slip right back into your bad habits with no one to shame you but yourself. Having someone hold you accountable, whether it be a workout buddy, a trainer, a nutritionist, or your bestie may help you feel more motivated to stick with the plan. The trick here is that the person must be understanding but tough enough on you when you fall off so that you feel the need to get back on track. Don’t pick friends who will listen to your lame excuses for missing the gym for two weeks and tell you it’s OK.

4. Have a Plan.

As the saying goes, vision without perspiration is hallucination. Don’t say you are going to lose 10 pounds but not have a strategic plan. Write down in detail what you need to do daily and weekly to see that goal through, and be willing to seek advice of someone more seasoned in whatever area you are trying to change if you need pointers on how to go about it.  In the case of weight loss, you could commit to meeting with a nutritionist and personal trainer. Having your plan is also a way to hold yourself accountable to whatever actions are outlined in it. It saves you from being vague and missing your mark altogether.

5. Write it Down and/or Visualize It.

Most people skip the essential step of writing down their goals. There is magic in writing it down, it starts the process of creation. It’s just on paper but it’s a start, now you can work from there to create steps to achieve it or even better let them come to you. As someone who is intense about goal setting, I have learned that it is possible and perfectly OK to have the goal and have no idea how to make it work. Just holding the intention can be magical and you will run into the right people or situations that point you to your final destination. However, that can only happen when you have a clear, written objective. You can also do something I love to do and vision board it. Using electronics tools like Canva, or Photoshop for the technologically savvy, you can create a collage of images that represent your goal.

6. Track Your Progress.

So you have the goal, you wrote it down, you visualized it, and maybe you also have a game plan. You are way ahead of the crowd, but still in danger of waking up mid-year wondering where the resolution went if you do not track your progress. One simple example using the goal of exercising more often is  to track your workouts using an app or even a calendar. For each day you workout, a sticker can go on the day with a brief description of what you did to give you a visual evaluation of how you are doing. If you look at the calendar and its virtually blank by weeks end you’ve missed the mark! Find whatever methods of tracking work for you and make sure they are fun and not obsessive.

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