Expert Tips: How to Get the Most Out of Your Resolutions for the New Year
January 1: Eat better, sleep better, work out more, drink less, quit smoking, spend more time doing this, less time doing that…the list can seriously go on and on, and then by January 31, we’ve basically fallen off the New Year’s resolution wagon and gone back to our old ways. The tricks? Stay motivated, think small and be realistic! From fitness to nutrition, we’re sharing expert tips for staying motivated and getting the most out of two common New Year’s resolutions.
Resolution: Start Working Out/Going to the Gym/Stop Being a Couch Potato/etc.
Here it is, the same resolution so many of us makes each year and consistently manages to, instead, find our way to the couch instead of to crunches. The best way to keep up a resolution routine? Find one you actually enjoy!
Let’s face it ladies and gents, if you don’t like running, don’t focus on a treadmill—sign up for a group class that works on cardio and targeting your core. Not a fan of repetitive routines? Check out options like muscle confusion workouts to constantly keep you on your toes.
Another great way to stay motivated is to find people who inspire you and ask them (or Google them if they’re a celeb!) what they do to work out and how they fit it into their schedule.
“When you’re feeling lazy and uninspired, imagine them lacing their sneakers, eager to get their workout on. You’ll be amazed how your energy will suddenly lift!” Kleidman says. Visualizing someone who is already in the place you want to be helps give you the motivation to get going well past January 31. “Imagery is powerful tool; practice it, and you will reach your goals.”
Keeping your new goals realistic is the best way to keep up and grow a new routine. Kleidman suggests breaking big goals into micro goals. “For example, if you want to lose 50 pounds or drop four sizes, create a goal for each month and each week. Also, write everything down; your workouts, how you’re feeling, as well as everything you ingest.” Kleidman says keeping track of these little details will help you get to know yourself and your workout style better. “This knowledge will foster confidence to reach for new goals in the future.”
Brooke Alpert, M.S., R.D., C.D.N. and founder of B Nutritious, also encourages to start small. “Instead of saying ‘I’m going to go to the gym everyday’, aim for ‘I’m going to start going to the gym a minimum of 2-3 times per week.’ [Try] signing up for a charity walk/run, trying a new fitness class like bootcamp, Zumba, spin, or my personal favorite: sign up for a mud run this year- great obstacles, races and all for a good cause!”
Like Kleidman, Alpert believes in writing down goals and progress. “Mark in your calendar for the first of each month to review how you are doing on your goals, it’s a great way to check in with yourself and see if any of your resolutions need some adjusting.”
Resolution: Lose Weight/Eat Healthy/Stop Snacking/etc.
Introducing, most common resolution number two! Eating healthy to lose weight is a goal we can all easily achieve just by making small changes, but when six o’clock rolls around and you’re tired from a long day of work, sometimes the right choice and the easiest choice don’t always seem to coincide—and you’re back to traveling down the fast food freeway towards guilt town.
“While the New Year is a great time to rethink your goals, remember that you can always create a resolution to be healthier any day of the year as well,” says Alpert. “The best resolutions are ones that you are able to keep and achieve. For healthy resolutions it’s always best to make realistic ones. Instead of saying ‘I’m going to lose 20 pounds this year,’ make a resolution to work on weight loss of 1-2 pounds a week until your total goal is lost. Alpert believes in sticking to positive-thinking goals instead of negatives. “Instead of ‘I’m staying away from all carbs,’ opt for ‘vegetables and lean protein will be my priority of what fills up my plate.'”
Kleidman shares her list of “little things that make a BIG difference.” Don’t feel pressured to do them all by any means, but rather, think of this list as a one-at-a-time path or pick and choose one or two to try for two weeks and see how each makes you feel; soon enough, it will become second nature.
- Limit alcohol
- Eat protein at every meal; add almonds or a piece of cheese with an apple after your workout
- No fried food
- No soda
- No cakes, cookies, candy or ice cream but for special occasions
- Eat sweet potatoes or brown rice in place of bread. Eat bread once per day only
- Drink skim instead of whole milk
- Trim portions and use a slightly smaller plate when eating at home—you’ll still be satisfied
- Pay attention to when you’re full and put your fork down
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