New year, new you? Come January, reinvention and resolutions top most to-do lists. Yet, by early February, gyms start thinning out, discipline dissolves and willpower seems to fly out the window.
Personally, it helps me to write down goals I’d like to achieve, either per season or by year’s end. To better learn how to make—and stick—to common resolutions, we spoke with a trio of health, fitness and wellness experts.
1. Resolve to be a goal setter
When it comes to making fitness happen, step away from the scale. Avoid making weight loss goals that focus solely on pounds lost; instead, concentrate on achieving a goal.
“I’m a big believer in choosing an event goal like a Spartan race, charity walk or bike ride that has a specific future date,” says Tom Holland, Exercise Physiologist, Bowflex Fitness Advisor and author of Beat the Gym: Personal Trainer Secrets—Without the Personal Trainer Price Tag. “Choosing something challenging gets you excited to work; these events then give your workouts direction and purpose.” Holland cites examples such as completing your first 5K race, going to the gym 10 times in a month, completing a 30-day DVD program or fitting into an old tighter pair of pants.
Constantin Bisanz, Founder and CEO of ALOHA, a health and wellness lifestyle brand, seconds this idea. “When I was younger, I realized goal setting is the most powerful tool for whatever I do. Based on that, I write them down. I follow the SMART guide, which means thinking about them in a specific, measurable, attractive, realistic, and timed way. I usually do this after a vacation. It’s motivating! On Sunday, I’ll also plan my week and write down goals and priorities.”
2. Resolve to be held accountable
Once you’ve determined a goal, buddy up. “There is incredible strength in numbers. Working out with a trainer or coach, a friend, several friends or a bigger group will provide accountability as well as camaraderie,” explains Holland. After just a few weeks, working out with others becomes an established habit. Holland says that this group effect is one reason CrossFit has become so incredibly popular.
The power of accountability is a philosophy Alex Jay, Health Coach and Nutrition Expert at Juice Press, agrees is necessary when it comes to sticking to a resolution.
“A good way to stay disciplined is to find a friend or a co-worker that can hold you accountable. Most people start the new year with similar goals, so start a buddy system and send a friendly text to remind each other to stay strong,” says Jay.
3. Resolve to make it attainable
“Start small and make realistic goals. Pick one thing a week to work on,” states Jay. Her example: try one week of being dairy free. Replace your dairy and ice cream cravings with an alternate (she recommends Juice Press JP black vanilla almond milk and coconut water mixture).The next week, try cutting out processed white sugars by swapping a mid-afternoon dessert with a sweet green juice as a healthier option that still satisfies. “Everything can be gradual, but if you cheat and have it once it is okay,” says Jay. “The great thing is when you are eating clean most of the time you can treat yourself.”
4. Resolve to embrace change
Variety is the spice of life, while change is life’s only constant. To achieve optimum fitness results, Holland says: “The key is variation; constantly mixing it up. I am always setting new goals and trying new things in order to keep mentally stimulated and from hitting a plateau. Micro-workouts, ranging from one minute to five to 10 minutes, can be done throughout the day. Holland believes “the days of going to the gym for an hour or more every day are behind us,” meaning you can toss the ‘no time to work out’ excuse out the window.
5. Resolve to be happy in the present
Happiness starts right now…not in the future. “Set resolutions that make you happy,” advises Bisanz. The ALOHA founder went to India a few years back in order to explore Ayurvedic philosophy. “The belief is that happiness is a balance between eating right, exercising, being mindful, having great relationships, and taking care of personal development. The more I practiced Ayurveda, the better I felt. Anyone can learn from and adapt these principles keeping in mind to do what feels right to you.”
6. Resolve to keep things consistent
Consistency creates results, no matter your age. Holland’s younger clients tend to be motivated by aesthetics, wanting to tone up or shed pounds, whereas older clients aim to improve their quality of life and be injury-free. “The great news is that it matters not what your reason for starting may be,” says Holland. “If you are consistent, you get all the great benefits.” This philosophy can also be applied to other resolutions, beyond physical activities. Making things an established part of routine ultimately leads to a lifestyle change, often in a mere three weeks.
7. Resolve to find your center
Bisanz tells us he’s a big believer in balance. “With balance, meditation, health, focus, friends, and energy, anything is possible. Our goal is to create the tools to enable people to find that balance.” The company incorporates five pillars (eating right, exercising, mindfulness, relationships and personal development, and yoga and meditation) in order to help their consumers achieve health and happiness.
8. Resolve to stay disciplined
Bisanz maintains his motivation by aiming to impact others. “I want to change the world and that motivates me! To create something to inspire people to live better, be healthier and physically active,” says Bisanz. “Motivation is key. No matter how busy I am, I always find time to meditate twice a day.”
Make the next dozen months a success in self-discipline. Whether achieving health, happiness or something else is, following these guidelines will help accomplish whatever is on your resolution checklist. So, reset, refresh, reboot!