Resolving that 2016 will be different? Nearly a quarter of us will abandon our New Year’s resolutions within the first week of January, according to research mention in a Washington Post article last year. The article also says that 40 to 50 percent of us make New Year’s resolutions, but unfortunately, there isn’t a ton of data on how successful we are with them and how long we stick with them. Big surprise but the top resolution tends to be weight loss, followed with “improving finances” and “exercising” ties for a close second. Here are a few strategies so you can make changes that last, without turning your life upside down.
Don’t do too much too soon.
While it might seem like a good idea to “lose 10 pounds,” “run a half marathon this year,” “get out of credit card debt,” “start writing a book” “volunteer more often,” and “make new friends,” it’s going to be overwhelming for you to try to clean up every area of your life at once. You’ll be more likely to crash and burn and not get anything done! Choose the goal that means the most to you and will make the biggest difference in your happiness and go from there.
Set goal-oriented resolutions.
While it’s good to have an overarching goal you’re striving for–maybe 20 pounds off your frame, fitting into smaller pants, or a lower BMI number—reaching that might be a few months away. Set smaller attainable goals you can achieve each week and month so you can feel accomplished as you check them off.
A weekly goal could be trying a new fitness class, even one that intimidates you a bit. Grab a friend and sign up for UXF, CrossFit, even Barre classes. Your 30-day goal could be working towards running a certain number of miles for the month, or setting a monthly steps goal that you track on your smartphone or with a pedometer.
Be prepared for week 3!
Between week three and week four in January is the classic time when people quit their New Year’s resolutions, says LEVL’s weight loss expert, Liz Josefsberg. Be aware that this might happen and plan ahead. Set aside some money and reward yourself for your efforts so far with new workout music, trying a new class at the gym, booking a massage (even a foot massage!), or buying a new workout outfit. You’re still in the early stages of winter and swimsuit season seems so far away, you might be tempted to slack off and “pick up where you left off” in the spring time. Ever hear that quote “Summer bodies are made in the winter?” It’s true. You can do this, just reward yourself along the way so you’re motivated to keep going.
Resolve to try a new variation on a classic exercise.
Keep things fresh and challenge your muscles in new ways in order for your body to continue changing and seeing fat burning results. Do a pushup on a Bosu ball to work your core. Try walking lunges while holding weights or light kettlebells, or even while holding a ball over your head to work on balance. Swap your full-body plank for a side plank. Even better, extend one leg in the air while your arm is outstretched. Even if you don’t success at a new fitness challenge the first time, keep trying. You’ll get it eventually and be proud of yourself when you do!
Make a resolution to try a new food.
The next week, try a new recipe. Diet boredom is one of the most common reasons many of us stray from our healthy diets. Prepping and bringing your meals everywhere isn’t easy. But if you’re trying something new and delicious, you’ll look forward to eating it. Learn new ways to lighten up a family favorite or try something entirely new. Make these mouth-watering Banana Oat Bars or the Baked Brie and Maple-Rosemary Pecan Apple Wedges. They taste so naughty, you’ll wonder how they can possibly be healthy recipes.
Feng shui your kitchen.
Or at least clean it out and get it organized. You know how good you feel when your closet is organized and you can actually see your clothing options? Imagine what it could do for your waistline. If you de-clutter your kitchen, you’ll snack less, according to this article on USAToday.com. In one of Cornell University’ research studies, they found that cluttered kitchens prompted people to eat 44% more of their snack food than a kitchen that was organized and decluttered. Take a weekend day and toss out junk, get rid of anything left over from the holidays, and restock your kitchen with healthy food, fresh spices and herbs, and fruit in a place you’ll see it.
Resolve to practice relaxing.
Learn some mediation techniques you can rely on when you’re stressed so you don’t fall into old emotional eating patterns. You might even want to jump on the “adult coloring book trend” as research says coloring helps adults feel less stressed.
Lose weight with fat.
The latest research shows that you need to eat healthy fats in order to lose weight and keep it off. Learn more about the best ways to incorporate good fats into your diet and how fat helps you lose weight in this video with Liz Josefsberg.