It’s almost that time of year again, when millions of American’s make a vow to themselves that in the coming New Year, they’re going to hit the gym more often, be able to see their six-pack, or fit into their favorite old jeans once again. Whatever your New Year’s resolution this time around, you can take steps to ensure success, and help keep your motivation for a happier and healthier lifestyle for years to come.
Step #1: Set a Specific Goal - A New Year’s Resolution to “lose weight” is not very specific. How much weight do you want to lose? Ten pounds? Fifty pounds? You need to put a specific number on your goal in order to have something to work for. After all, if you just want to lose weight, a one pound weight loss accomplishes that goal, but it does little to improve your life.
Step #2: Write Down Your Goal - Quite possibly the most important step. When you write a goal down, it becomes physical. It has been transferred from your brain to paper, and you can now look at it. Once it’s on paper, it does not change in your mind on a regular basis. This is accountability. You now have your specific goal written on paper, so look at it every single day. This will act as a constant reminder of what you want to accomplish with the New Year.
Step #3: Set a Date by Which You Want to Achieve Your Goal - Let’s say you want to run a marathon. Well, if there’s a marathon on February 1st, it’s probably not a good idea to jump into this one. It takes time to build up the endurance to run a marathon, so you should break down a goal like this (or nearly any goal) into smaller steps, where your marathon is at a far enough time down the line so you can realistically achieve this goal without hurting yourself.
Step #4: Take Small Steps to Achieve Your Goal - Much like the marathon, if you have a goal to go to the gym more, you should pace yourself. Otherwise, going to the gym on a daily basis and training hard every day will wear you down, cause painful muscle soreness and eventually burn you out. Start by going to the gym 2 or 4 days per week, then gradually work your way up to 5 or 6 (if you want to go that often). This will give your body ample time to recover, and you will look forward to your gym visits instead of loathing them.
With the incorporation of these four simple steps, you may find that this year’s New Year’s Resolution is easier to keep than any other you’ve attempted in the past.