Tips for Keeping Your New Year Health & Fitness Goals

Right now, most of us are planning, making lists, and getting ready for the new year ahead.  We're reflecting on this year that is so quickly coming to an end - seriously, where did the time go? Just about everybody always adds losing weight and/or exercise to their list of goals for the new year.  I know I always do.  But what I've learned is that just writing down or saying "I want to lose XX lbs. in 2014" or "I want to start working out more" Is not gonna cut it.  I know, because I always did this and always failed.  I failed because there was no action plan.  It's great to set goals to become healthier or more active in your life, but without a plan, it's just a dream.  This is the year to turn those dreams into reality.  Here are a few tips to help you get started on the right track!  

1.  Have a game plan.  Saying and doing are 2 different things.  Write down how you plan to lose those XX pounds.  Will you do a 21 day sugar detox? Will you practice better portion control?  Will you join a gym? Workout 3 days a week for 30 mins? What workouts will you try? Write it all down and keep it in a handy place to go back to!

2.  State why you want to make these changes.  These statements can be very powerful and have a big impact on keeping yourself motivated to make these lifestyle changes in the coming months. 

3.  Put it on your calendar.  Make appointments, set reminders on your phone, and/or recurring events on your calendar.  Whether it be scheduling time to go to a fitness class, go for a jog, or pop in a workout DVD, make it a part of your daily routine.  

4.  Weekly meal plan.  This is major if you are looking to make healthy lifestyle changes. Pick a day out of the week that works for you (Sunday is my day) and write down your meal plans for the week then go shopping accordingly.  If you have a super busy schedule, then you can even try prepping your meals on this day to make it easy to just grab & go during the week.  This will really help you stay on track and not make hasty or bad food choices because you don't know what to make for dinner or you didn't pack your lunch and just went out for fast food.  

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5.  Be realistic.  Saying you want to workout 5 days a week can be daunting, especially if you haven't been on any set routine before!  Start off with smaller goals and work your way up to the ultimate goal.  Start by making it a goal to workout 2 days a week for the month of January (Don't forget to put it on your calendar!)  Then add a day each month thereafter and by May you'll be working out 5 days a week! 

6.  Step out of your comfort zone.  Sometimes we need to try new things and go out on a limb a bit because that's where the magic happens.  If you do the same thing over and over, it can start to get boring, so try something new!  It could be a new healthy meal, a new fitness class, or even just a different running trail.  You'll never know if you'll like something new unless you try it.  It will be scary, but just think how proud you'll feel when you actually do it.  You may find you really love it and if not, at least you can say you tried it! 

7.  Keep yourself accountable.  Telling someone else about your goals is a good way to stay accountable.  Having a good support group will help you stay on track with your goals.  

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8.  Sign up for a race. I know this is what keeps me going and I firmly believe that signing up for a race will keep you motivated too.  It'll give you a goal to aim for.  Sign up for your first 5K or your first marathon.  Try an obstacle course race or a fun run.  There are so many options available right now, that there is bound to be something you'll find fun.  Sign up with a few months in advance and get to training!  You won't regret it.  

9. Don't give up.  None of us are perfect.  We're gonna miss a workout or indulge in a meal that's not part of our meal plan.  It happens.  The key is to not let one bad day, ruin your goals.  Honestly one bad day won't ruin your progress, giving up will.  So, if you know you're going out for a special occasion, allow yourself a "cheat meal" and move on. So you missed a workout because you worked late that day.  It happens.  Those are small bumps on the road.  We all have them.  Don't be too hard on yourself.  I've read it takes 21 days to make something become a habit, so don't give up!

10.  Rewards.   Who doesn't love to get rewarded for a job well done?  Some people like to buy themselves a new outfit after reaching their weight loss goals others will plan a night out.  Workout 3 days a week for 30 days and get a pedicure.  Get a new playlist for your ipod after you run your first 5K.  Whatever it is, it doesn't have to be expensive or big it just needs to be something to keep you motivated!  Set your goal + reward and you'll be on your way :)

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Do you have any tips for staying on track with your fitness goals?  I'd love to hear them.