Tips and Tricks to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolution from Tips and Tricks to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolution

Tips and Tricks to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolution

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Tips and Tricks to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolution

About half of Americans want to lose weight but only about a quarter are even trying, according to a Gallup poll. The numbers are not that different when it comes to other non-fitness related goals. Regardless of what you wish to achieve next year, the tips for not giving up are fairly common. Research shows that only 8 percent of people actually achieve their New Year’s resolutions. Be the exception in 2017.

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Ask yourself “why”

“Most people are not emotionally connected to their resolution,” John Kalinowski, life coach and mindfulness experts, says. “They want something but don’t really know why.” Getting fit is always great but you have to understand why it’s what you need. The “why” is the strongest motivational factor. Once you have the answer, the rest falls into place, he adds.

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Give yourself enough time

Another big problem for people is aiming to do too much and achieve it too soon or all at once, Kalinowski says. You’re not going to suddenly eat 1,200 calories a day, watch no TV and go to the gym every day, so don’t even try because you’re only sabotaging yourself, he adds. “You need to wee habits into your life to make them sustainable.” Allow enough time to do things effectively.

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Don’t judge yourself

“Be gentle on yourself,” Kalinowski says. People don’t usually go to the gym several times a day five days a week, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t either. “Some stress can be productive, but making yourself feel like a failure is very discouraging,” he adds. Perfection is unattainable, so don’t aim for it. “We are always going to be perfectly imperfect.”

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Know you’ll fall off track

There will be days when you are too stressed or too tired to stay on schedule. Know that you can get back on track right away, Kalinowski says. “You don’t have to wait for Monday.” The sooner you start up again, the sooner you’ll feel better and the less overwhelmed,” he adds. Anticipate the problems so you know how to handle them when they arise in order to stay on track with your bigger plan.

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Be precise

The top 5 resolutions are losing weight, getting organized, saving money, enjoying life to the fullest and staying fit. What is the one thing that describes them all? They are too vague. This is a major problem with picking resolutions, Talane Miedaner, who has over 20 years of experience coaching people, says. Spend more quality time with my family, is a badly phrased objective. “A much better and more specific goal would be Friday night is games night with the kids.”

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Goals must be measurable

Numbers don’t lie, right? General goals don’t work because you don’t really know if you’re making any progress. Besides, they are way too open-minded. Don’t set a goal along the lines of “I’m going to get fit.” Instead, be determined to lose three inches off your waistline or lose 10 pounds.

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Tie new habit to existing behavior

Making realistic New Year’s resolutions has a lot to do with creating a new habit. The best way is to do it daily and tie it to an existing behavior. “It’s easier to tag a new habit to one already in place,” Kalinowski says. If you want to jog more, do it while you’re out for a walk; if you aim to floss more, do it after you brush your teeth; if you want to work out more, get up during commercials on TV and do an exercise.

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Reward yourself

Some resolutions come with built-in rewards, Kalinowski says. For example, you’re never going to regret going to the gym. But it’s important to acknowledge what you did and mark the occasion accordingly. “Most people will just say ‘I could have been better,’ or ‘I should have done this instead of that,’ but this is the wrong approach,” he adds. Positive reinforcement is much more effective. Small prizes are great encouragement – as long as it’s not overindulging on junk food or sitting on the couch for hours.

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Set visual reminders

Use visual reminders to get yourself going and a structure for support, Miedaner says. Your new habit trigger might be tidying up – as soon as you've cleaned the kitchen, go for a walk. Use sticky notes, set reminders on your phone, or enlist a friend to go on walks with you. Have something somewhere to regularly remind you of why you want to achieve your goal, Kalinowski says.

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Have a partner

“Accountability is one of the most useful tools out there,” Kalinowski says. Stay accountable with a trainer, dietitian, or a friend to maintain consistency. You are more likely to continue a behavior when you have to answer to someone or if other people depend on you so they can stay on track as well. Have that one person to whom you will keep a promise.

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Start small

Why would you want to stress over more things than usual? Don’t set grand goals. If your wish is to get fit, then just start with walking more or riding a bike to work, if possible. This habit will eventually translate to going to the gym a couple of days a week before you find yourself there almost every day. Do the same with your eating habits. Don’t go “cold turkey” on the desserts. Replace them with a smoothie perhaps.  Go one day at a time.

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Change strategy

Keeping track of your advancement is important and also intuitive, Kalinowski says. Use your body as guide. Seeing the physical proof of your progress is extremely motivating. Bodies get accustomed to a new habit and may stop responding. This means you have to change your strategy but not your goal. Don’t keep the same gym routine, for example. You’ll easily get bored and go off track.

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Learn patience

“This is a mindfulness exercise,” Kalinowski says. “Patience is a great opportunity to generate happiness.” Use the time you have to spend waiting to be grateful for what you already have, for the progress you’re already made, and for the support you’re getting, he adds. Take a moment to look on the bright side and to remind yourself that all good things take time.

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Publicize your goals

This one can be tricky, Kalinowski says, because it all depends if who you’re telling about your goals is supportive. “Some people are just mean and judgmental and say horrible things without reason or evidence,” he adds. During those first few critical weeks of forming a new habit, it makes a huge difference to have a really solid support system in place.

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Forget about “all or nothing”

You’ve probably often heard personal trainers say that some movement is better than none at all. The same principle applies to your resolutions. Don’t fall into a binge-eating phase because you had dessert after dinner. The difference is thousands of calories and a broken spirit. You don’t have to skip the gym all together because you don’t have an hour and a half to spare – you can work out in just 15 minutes and get better results.

Tips and Tricks to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolution