Each year, thousands of people make resolutions about fitness and health. They want to lose weight, hit the gym more frequently, get some muscles, or improve their stamina.
These fitness goals are incredibly popular – about 21.4% of people make resolutions to lose weight or improve their eating habits each year, while about 5.5% set goals to work out more frequently.
Unfortunately, 42.4% of people who set resolutions fail at their resolutions each year. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be this way. By understanding how to stay motivated and reach your goals, you can help your resolutions come to fruition and reap the benefits of that effort.
Here’s what you need to know:
3 Ways to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Resolutions
When it comes to fitness and health resolutions, motivation is essential. According to research, 72.6% of people maintain their resolutions through the first week, but only 44% maintain the same resolutions past the point of six months.
A large part of this comes down to motivation. While motivation is strong right after you set your resolutions, it starts to fade off as time goes by. You get busy, things come up, and you start to forget about the fact that you ever set a resolution in the first place. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Here are some tips for keeping your motivation up as you move through the year:
1. Start With Why
If you connect your resolution with a solid and compelling why, then it’s more likely to succeed. While motivation can be finicky, a solid why doesn’t change. With this in mind, figure out why you want to set the fitness goal you do:
- Is it because there’s a history of heart disease in your family, and you want to avoid that outcome for yourself?
- Is it because you’re getting married and want to feel good about your body on the big day?
- Is it to set a good example for your kids?
When you align your resolutions with your core values, they’re more likely to stick.
2. Set Attainable Goals
If you’ve never dieted before, you should start small when cleaning up your eating habits. It’s probably not the best idea to set a severe diet changes (like getting on the Keto-diet or another merciless diet without any flexibility.)
A goal that large virtually assures failure, mostly because it’s too difficult to maintain. It’s too much change at any given time. Instead, set attainable goals. Make your fitness and health resolutions manageable.
Here’s a great example: if you want to improve your health by working out more frequently, start by going to the gym three days a week instead of every day. Keep your workouts short and sweet to set yourself up for success.
3. Enlist Some Friends
If you want your goals to stick, social accountability is key. The reason for this is simple: change is tough, and you’re more likely to make a difficult change if you surround yourself with people who believe in your ability to succeed, and who care about the same values. Here are a few ways to get social accountability on your side:
- Make a public pledge. Let other people know what you’re doing, what your goals are, and the deadline for achieving them. This creates a network of support to hold you accountable.
- Join a group. This is part of the reason gyms and fitness classes work so well! When you join a group, you surround yourself with people who care about the same things you do.
5 Tips for Long-Term Success With Fitness Goals
Think of your long-term fitness goals as a marathon rather than a sprint. Here are five tips to help you reach yours:
1. Understand Your Goals
Again – start with the “why” of what you’re doing. Think about your future, your core values, your biggest reasons for making the fitness and health goals.
Put them down on paper to work through them in your mind, and keep them somewhere you can see them every day. This is a constant reminder of your goals and your reasons for working toward them.
2. Set Short-Term Goals
Embedded within your long-term goals should be several short-term goals. In addition to breaking your large goal down into digestible chunks, these short-term goals give you markers of success by which to judge your progress. Don’t forget to congratulate yourself when you meet your short-term goals!
3. Create Measurable Goals
The more measurable your goals are, the easier it will be to ensure you’re on the right page. Whether you’re looking to lose a certain number of pounds or train for a marathon, setting measurable goals is an excellent way to keep the momentum going.
4. Create a Specific Plan
If you want to meet your fitness and health goals, you’ve got to develop a plan. Just having goals isn’t enough! Instead, you’ve got to have a strategy to achieve them. For example, if your plan is to run a half marathon in six months, break down the mileage you have to run each week to build up to the 13.1 mile mark. Now lace up those sneakers already!
Make sure the plan:
- fits your schedule
- supports your goals
- takes your challenges into account
Be sure to approach your goals defensively. Here’s an example.
If you have a habit of reaching for fast food, some defensive tactics are to:
- prep healthy snacks ahead of time in fridge
- research the healthiest choice at your drive-through
- keep a healthy snack in your car such as almonds
- drink 12 oz. of water before indulging in a high-calorie meal
- eat the sandwich-skip the fries
5. Reward Yourself
Fitness and health goals are notoriously difficult to achieve, so it’s essential to reward yourself. Don’t tip the scales against yourself by adopting self-destructive behavior like binge eating.
From a psychological standpoint, your reward should not contradict the habits you are breaking. Instead, indulge in some self-care to reward yourself for all your hard-work.
Pro Tip: If you are cutting back on sweets:
Don’t: reward yourself with ice cream when you meet your goal.
Do: try getting a massage instead.
Stick With Your Fitness and Health Goals This Year
If you’ve set fitness and health goals in the last few months, it is possible to reach them. Whether your goals are short- or long-term, understanding how to overcome motivational issues, creating social accountability with your friends and peers, and rewarding yourself when you meet your short-term goals are excellent ways to bring your fitness and health goals to fruition.
No matter what your goals may be, now is a great time to improve your fitness and health and see the benefits of that throughout your life!