It happens every year: you decide this is the year that you’re going to lose weight, eat healthier, and will be getting in shape. And every year, you start with the best of intentions before slacking off and finally giving up completely. So what makes this year different? This year, you’re going to do things differently.
Most New Year’s resolutions are of the vague, “I’m going to lose weight this year” variety. You need to set SMART goals – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely. This means instead of the vague weight loss mentioned above, you’ll instead say, “I’m going to lose 20 pounds in the next 6 months by changing the way I eat and going to the gym three times a week.”
That goal is specific (20 pounds), measurable (the scale will show you that you’ve lost it), achievable (losing 20 pounds in 6 months is 3 pounds per month, which is very doable), relevant (you’ve defined your goal and the ways you’ll get to it), and timely (you’ve set both a start point and end point). This gives you a clear vision of what you want to achieve, how to achieve it, and when you want to achieve it by. That makes it easier to break it down into smaller pieces and actually start working on it, rather than feeling overwhelmed and giving up.
Food, drink, transportation, evening activity – assess all areas of your life and look for ways to make healthier choices. Take a walk after dinner instead of vegging in front of the TV. Walk to the library instead of driving. Drink water instead of soda, and choose healthy food options instead of junk food.
Sometimes that’s easier said than done, of course, especially when it comes to food. Knowing how to prepare healthier options, having the time to cook them, and being able to keep fresh produce from going back before you use it can all be barriers to healthy eating. Instead, consider a pre-packaged food service. A service like Nutrisystem allows you to choose from their healthy food options so that you still get to choose your own food, but it’s all healthy options. Plus Nutrisystem cost is about what you’re paying anyway, so you lose weight without spending even more on food.
These kinds of meals can be prepared quickly, are in the perfect portion sizes, and require little from you beyond heating and eating them. After you’re used to eating healthy food and the right portion sizes, you can ease back into buying your own foods and preparing them again.
Make your workout the first thing you do after getting out of bed in the morning. As you go through your day and things get busy, chances are you’ll put your workout off. Or you’ll feel too tired by the time you can workout so you’ll skip it. By getting your workout out of the way first thing in the morning, you ensure that it gets done and you have no excuses. Once it’s done, it’s behind you and you can’t spend the day dreading it, either. Plus, it will give you the energy you need to tackle your day.
Did you know you burn calories while you sleep? It’s true. But more than that, getting enough sleep is important for making good choices during your waking hours. Exhaustion can lead you to buy a sugar-laden latte or a doughnut instead of a healthier fruit smoothie or yogurt. Exhaustion is also another reason you’ll use to skip a workout. Plenty of sleep gives you the willpower and energy to make smart food choices and power through a workout. Spend some cash on workout gear
Investing some cash into your weight loss goal can motivate you to stick with it. Think workout clothes, hand weights, or maybe even a fitness device that tracks your vitals and encourages you to walk or workout. If you’ve put money into them, you’re more likely to use them.
Whether it’s a slip in the first week, or a vacation that you forgot to take your workout gear on, a little backslide isn’t a reason to give up on your goal. Forgive yourself, admit you slipped, and get back on the wagon and try again. Getting back on track and not letting a bad day destroy all your previous efforts is the fastest way to success with your goals.
Getting in shape is a very common goal for people to set at the beginning of the year. The key to success is doing more than just thinking about it in vague terms. By setting clear goals, making conscious choices, and not giving up, you’ll see success, even if it’s slowly.