7 Steps to New Year’s Resolution Success

7 Steps to New Year’s Resolution Success

By: KRISTI ATKINSON

If your New Year’s resolution is going to be to work out more, or eat healthier; it’s time to revamp your plan. Proper exercise and nutrition habits are perfectly sound aspirations, but as with any resolution or goal, they need a solid plan for success. Luckily, Get Fit Get Life has some expert tips on how to succeed at any health, fitness, lifestyle goal or New Year’s resolution before you even begin.

1) Brainstorm

Sit down and evaluate what you want out of your goals and why you want it. Make sure the goals are for you and not for anyone else.

Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, led a study that asked 700 people about their strategies for achieving New Year’s resolutions. Wiseman says making New Year’s resolutions at the last minute can backfire because they tend to be less genuine.

“If you do it on the spur of the moment, it probably doesn’t mean that much to you and you won’t give it your all,” says Wiseman. “Failing to achieve your ambitions is often psychologically harmful because it can rob people of a sense of self control.”

2) Set SMART Goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely)

Elizabeth Zelvin, an online therapist, says most resolutions last a week or maybe even a month, but few manage to achieve their goals.

“’One day at a time’ is the antithesis of making New Year’s resolutions,” says Zelvin. “It’s not saying, ‘I’m going to do this and keep it up all year,’ it’s saying, ‘What can I do today?'”

Jason Elias, PhD in psychology, says the problem is that sometimes people set their goals too high, and this makes it hard to keep track of the steps toward a goal.
“If they don’t have a plan, they aren’t going to get very far,” says Elias. “The resolution should be something like, ‘I’m going to wake up at 6 on Monday, put my shoes on, and go to the gym.'”

3) Plan

Now that you have set SMART goals; it’s time to plan to maximize your effort. Hollywood trainer Erin O’Brien says to start with one goal at a time. Try either diet or exercise, but don’t try to do both at the same time.

“Then after a few weeks, start tweaking your efforts by adding clean eating and exercise together,” says O’Brien.

4) Track your success

Wiseman says of the 78 percent that failed, a majority of them focused on the downside of not achieving their goals, but people who succeeded tended to have divided their goals into smaller steps, told their friends about their goals, focused on the benefits of success and kept a diary of their progress.

5) Create a community

Andrea Metcalf, author of “Naked Fitness,” says a support system essential for resolution success.

“Successful people have support,” says Metcalf. “Statistics show that one in 10 people can lose weight on their own but group support increases success rates to seven in 10.”

6) Remind and reward yourself

Reevaluate after two weeks and think about how you are doing. Do you like what you are doing? Does your body feel better? Can you move on to your next goal? Why did you decide to do this in the first place? Understand the benefits.

“If you’ve stuck with your resolution for two months, treat yourself to something special,” says Lynn Bode, a certified personal trainer. “But, be careful of your reward type; if you’ve lost 5 pounds, don’t give yourself a piece of cake as an award but instead, treat yourself to something non-food related, like a professional massage.”

7) Replace your bad habit

“We see people take the ‘cold turkey’ approach to kicking a bad habit, which is not the most effective or healthy way of changing unwanted behaviors,” says Jeffrey Wilkins, Director of Addiction Medicine in the Thalians Department of Psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. “In fact, this can often lead to new unwanted behaviors that take the place of the old ones.”

If you want to quit smoking; replace it with walking. Soon, replace walking with running one mile. Then after a while you can replace running one mile with running two miles, and so on.

Before attempting any lifestyle change, consult your doctor to see what’s best for you.

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  1. SparkPeople: Resolution Help from Healthy Living Online Community | Get Fit Get Life - December 29, 2011

    […] new year is coming quickly, which means it is time for New Year’s Resolutions. You can resolve to live with a healthier style with the help of online communities such as […]

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