Each year, millions of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. According to a recent survey, the most common goals involve improving fitness and diet, losing weight, and saving money. Each is a noble cause, but another study found nearly 2/3 of people abandon their New Year’s resolutions within a month. It’s understandable: Making lasting changes is difficult. But this year, we’re arming you with six strategies to help you stick to those resolutions.
REEVALUATE YOUR GOALS
One month into the year is a great time to reflect on your resolutions. Do they still serve you? Are they realistic? Are they still in line with what you hope to accomplish? Answering these questions can help you determine if you’re on the right path. There’s no shame in tweaking your resolutions to better fit your needs or schedule, or even dialing back certain goals if you’ve found them to be unrealistic. Ambitious goals are great, but making and keeping a simple goal is better than making and dropping an overly ambitious one.
REVISIT YOUR “WHY”
Resolutions are typically spurred by a desire to make a positive lifestyle change, hence so many goals to get fit, eat better, get organized or take control of finances. But, often there is a more important ”why” lurking just beneath the surface of these relatively simple concepts. Think about what really compelled you to make your resolutions. Maybe you want to feel healthier when you get out of bed or walk to work. Maybe you want to feel more confident in your clothes. Or maybe you want to improve the vitals from your last physical to ensure your health and longevity, so you can maximize time with your loved ones. The exact reason is yours; it’s personal. But digging deep to find that reason can be a powerful tool in helping you keep working toward your goals.
ENLIST AN EXPERT
Everyone needs help on occasion. Whether it’s a personal trainer, dietitian or psychologist, experts are there to lend a hand, so don’t hesitate to use them. Not everyone has the luxury of being able to hire a professional, but with so many options available online, working with a trainer or dietitian is more affordable than ever. Even better, many resources, like MyFitnessPal are free or low-cost, and ready to assist you when you’re stuck in a rut and want a push.
FIND RECIPE INSPIRATION
If one of your resolutions is to eat better this year, you’ll be happy to know simple, healthy recipes abound. You can flip through your favorite magazines or browse recipes on the MyFitnessPal blog. One great MyFitnessPal feature is Recipe Discovery, a free tool that shows you recipes based on what your goals are. For example, you can view vegetarian recipes, high-protein recipes and more. If you’re counting calories, you can even log those recipes directly in the app.
KEEP YOUR WORKOUTS FRESH
Exercising more is always a great goal. If you’re new to fitness, you might start by walking. If you’re more accustomed to exercise, you might try jogging, lifting weights or taking a HIIT or Pilates class. All these options are beneficial to your body, but if you do the same workout each time, you’re likely to fall into a rut or hit a plateau. So, rather than relying on the same old movements, try something new. There are countless resources available to help you make that happen, but one convenient resource is MyFitnessPal’s Workout Collections feature. It contains tons of great workouts, many of which can be done at home with no equipment. Let it serve as inspiration and motivation when you’re bored with your current routine.
HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE
It’s easy to fall off the wagon once February rolls around. Hey, one healthy month is better than nothing, but if your goal is to make lasting changes, then it’s helpful to build accountability measures into your goals. You can schedule time once per week or per month to evaluate your progress, or keep a journal to note how you’re faring — both are simple ways to check in with yourself. But one of the best ways to stay accountable is by involving your friends and family in your resolutions. Let them be your support system. A little encouragement and positive feedback goes a long way.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Making resolutions is easy; keeping resolutions is hard. Set yourself up for success with realistic goals and a plan to help you achieve them. You’re bound to get off track on occasion — everyone does. The key is to not beat yourself up when you stumble but to have strategies in place to help pick you back up. Use the above tactics, and you’ll be better prepared to stick to your resolutions and make lasting changes, no matter what you want to accomplish.
Originally published February 2022, updated January 2023
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