Skip New Year's Fitness Resolutions: Make Lifestyle Changes

Most of us have been through it. Sometime in December we think about life, fitness health and how we just let another year pass by without making real commitments to greater health. In a moment of desperation, or perhaps it’s not desperation as much as a true desire to facilitate our own personal change, New Year’s fitness resolutions are born.

The problem with a resolution is just like that diet that starts on a Monday: most of them die shortly after beginning. Here’s the thing. You don’t have to wait until New Years Day to find lifestyle changes. You also don’t have to make changes that involve turning your entire world around.

Commit to some very doable things you could do to help yourself get healthier. If it lasts the entire year, amazing!

Why Resolutions Fail

new years resolutions

Many resolutions fail because they are not specific enough. For example, deciding to “eat better” does not give you much guidance. Similarly, “get into shape” does not have enough direction behind it.

Setting unrealistic expectations for yourself is also likely to end in disappointment. If you are a couch potato deciding you are going to exercise every day is likely setting yourself up for failure.

If your resolution is for someone else you are less likely to succeed. If your spouse or partner is a health food nut and you vow to eat like they do you may find yourself resenting the choice very quickly.

Reframe Your Thoughts

How do you make changes in the new year that are more likely to stick?

Instead of resolutions think about making lifestyle changes.

Do not try to completely overhaul your life all at once.

Set obtainable timelines.

Consider breaking your goals into specific timeframes.

Allow yourself short term goals, medium term goals and long term goals.

Frame your goals in a positive way.

Take Small Steps

Sure, registering for a marathon may be a great motivating factor to get you to run more consistently if you already have the desire to run. If you have never run a step, however, that might be too ambitious of a step(Note: Some people do successfully go from couch to marathon. It can be done. It just isn’t the easiest way to transition from sedentary to a marathon).

You may be better off setting some small goals toward movement. Rather than deciding you are going to exercise for 30 minutes a day, every day, start smaller. Decide you will work out 3-4 days each week.

Give yourself some options on what your workout will look like. Vary the length of workouts. Remember it is okay (smart even) to walk before you decide to run. Sure, this is literal but also figurative. This pertains to any type of activity. Don’t jump right in with both feet. Ease into things. This will help keep you healthy and injury-free.

Keep It Interesting

If you easily bore, mix up your workouts. Some people find joining a gym with multiple kinds of class offerings helps with that. Others use a fitness app that has a variety of virtual workouts.

For people who need variety and don’t plan to enter a gym, you can mix things up yourself. You can create an impromptu workout using a couple of pairs of dice. Just give each number on one die an exercise and the other die can be the number of sets you will do 10 reps of (Woe the day you get a 6 on pushups).

Another way to keep things interesting is to get an accountability partner. That is an excellent way to greater wellness in the new year.

Consider an Accountability Partner

Whether you join a group, register for a class or find a workout buddy, an accountability partner can be an advantage.

If you are a runner find yourself a local running group! Local running stores often host group runs that anyone is welcome to join. Some communities have groups such as She Runs This Town or Black Men Run. If you aren’t into running with other people, there are many online running groups. Believe it or not, a virtual accountability partner (or group!) can be very effective!

Registering for a class often gets you to show up. This can be true partly because you have paid for it and also because once you start going, people start to look for you. When you miss a week the other participants and instructor may seek you out. This can be motivating!

never miss a Monday

A friend who is also interested in making lifestyle changes can help keep you on target. Many people have a Never Miss a Monday mantra. Check out the hashtag on social media and you will see! Getting yourself a friend to workout with either live or virtually may be just what you need.

Better Nutrition

“Lose weight in the new year” is a very common resolution, but it is vague and open-ended. Instead, make a list of small changes you could make to improve your eating habits. Remember the list is a brainstorming session. You don’t have to make all the changes at once.

Maybe as a first step, you will decide to eat the recommended 5-7 servings of fruits or veggies each day. Don’t focus on a huge change, just this one. You may be surprised to see that when you are eating all these healthy foods, your snacking on unhealthy things has decreased.

Another way to transition to better nutrition is to meal plan. Taking the time to plan your meals for the week should help you to shop smarter which can lead to better choices for your plate.

Food prepping can help you improve your nutrition. Having fresh veggies cut up in your refrigerator, for example, makes cooking and snacking easier. It is easier to bypass the chips if you have another crunchy snack at hand.

Relaxation and Stress Reduction

Many people find themselves so wrapped up in work and obligations that they forget to take time for important things like relaxation. It is super important to prioritize your own mental health and physical wellness regarding rest and relaxation. Believe it or not but some of the things mentioned prior can help with this.

reduce stress
Stress Reduction

Having meals planned out and some food prep done can actually relieve anxiety and help reduce your stress. But that is not enough. You should schedule time to relax. That can be something as simple as a bubble bath or accomplished by scheduling a massage.

Even shutting down your screens 30 minutes before bed and reading quietly is an excellent stress reducer.

Make Fun Goals

As we head into the new year, you can look at things differently. Instead of a resolution make yourself a bucket list of things to accomplish in the new year. These can include anything from a trip to take, a romantic gesture you want to make or to take a day off of work to be completely off the grid.

Putting an item on each month that you plan to do can give you an interesting objective to look forward to.

Those fun goals could be a different wellness motivation focus for each month. February could be to take a new fitness class, the month of May an opportunity to work on meditation or mindfulness. You get the idea.

Set The Table for Success

What it comes down to is that you hold your own destiny when it comes to new year’s resolutions. If you want to change your world, it is right at your fingertips. Just know that making lifestyle changes that are obtainable, reasonable and specific are more likely to come to fruition.


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