4 Best (and Worst) Ways to Stick to Your Healthy New Year’s Resolutions

It's that time of year | iStock.com

It’s that time of year | iStock.com

The start of a new year encourages a lot of people to hit the reset button by thinking of what they can do better going forward. Resolutions can be anything from finally cleaning out the basement to spending more time with family. Though such goals are popular, none of them come close to weight loss. The sad reality is very few are able to actually make it happen. Statistic Brain report

only 8% of Americans manage to achieve their New Year’s resolutions, so the success rate for weight loss-specific goals isn’t too good.

Even those who aren’t interested in shedding pounds frequently cite eating better or becoming more physically fit among their top resolutions and, again, many of these resolutions fade come February. Instead of focusing on the likelihood of failure, it’s a lot more helpful to think about how you can work your way into that 8%.

We reached out to four AcaciaTV fitness experts to get a little bit more insight. They each shared the strategies they’ve seen that never work as well as the ones that do. By avoiding pitfalls and making the right changes, you might be able to make this your healthiest year yet.

1. Have a plan

Source: iStock

You have to be prepared | iStock.com

Least successful:

That’s easy. The biggest fail is trying to make too many changes at once. It’s not possible. Select one thing to add on and one thing to take away regarding your diet or workout routine each week and commit to it. The next week, add and take away something else. If you try to do too much, you may regress fully into your bad habits again.

Most successful:

Have a written outline of your workout routine for the week: what days you’re working out and the type of workout you’re doing. Write out your programs before you begin because you’re more likely to commit when you have a plan ready instead of trying to wing it.

Identify parts of your daily routine that coincide with unhealthy choices. If you follow the same path to work or eat at the same place for lunch, there’s a chance it will be difficult to break the habit. Take a different route. Find another place to eat. Whatever it takes.

Also, acquire some sort of data-tracking technology that will help you identify your fitness efforts or analyze your caloric intake and expenditure. Having a visual goes a long way towards motivating you to stay on top of your goals. Most of these devices have heart rate monitors to track your efforts in your workouts, the steps you take, and calories burned.

Gerren Liles, CPT and Equinox instructor

2. Know there aren’t any quick fixes

Dieting, diet plan

Learnt to adopt healthy eating habits | iStock.com

Least successful:

Liposuction. My tough-love and keeping-it-real response is, “What?! You want to get lip? No you don’t!” If you’ve exhausted all efforts and still see no change, which is unlikely, then do what makes you happy. Lipo is an invasive procedure that will suck the fat out, but it will come back.

Some people reach their goal and then that’s it. It goes deeper that just hitting the goal. It’s about what you actually learned along the way and instilling those new changes and good habits.

Most successful:

My advice is to make subtle changes. First, I have my clients keep a journal of everything they eat for one day. I know one day doesn’t sound like much, but adding too many days can seem daunting and leave room for people to forget. So add a little bit at a time.

We go through the journal together and talk about it. What time did you eat? Can you substitute this for that? Reduce the amount of that to this? I like to bring awareness to what they’re eating and ask them to listen to their body. Then I might ask them to take out one thing for the day and see how they feel. Maybe cut three sodas down to two. Small changes are the key to success!

Deazie Gibson, personal trainer and group fitness instructor

3. Make positive changes

Spinach omelet, frittata, eggs

Think about things in a positive way | iStock.com

Least successful:

Trying crash diets or the latest fad; making unrealistic goals, such as waking up at 5:00 a.m. to work out when you know you’ve never been good about getting out of bed then; or beating yourself up after setting your expectations too high.

Most successful:

Add good things instead of eliminating bad things. Find a way to toss some spinach into an omelet or have baby carrots at lunch. Try an apple for a snack and eat berries for dessert. When you look at adding healthy, yummy treats, you don’t feel deprived or focused on cutting things out. Eventually, there’s no room for chips or cookies when you’re eating healthy.

Stay positive and be kind to yourself. Ditch the negative self-talk and you’ll be happier and more successful.

Create short, doable goals you can accomplish each day, such as holding a plank first thing in the morning, holding a wall sit before you brush your teeth, or doing a downward dog before you go to bed each night.

Kristin McGee, yoga and Pilates instructor

4. Set realistic goals

family vacation

Build your goals around what really matters | iStock.com

Least successful:

Setting goals based on what you think you should do. Instead of getting caught up in what you think you should do, think about what you want more of in your life, like health, joy, or family time, and set goals that are designed to add more of these things to your life. Stick to the stuff you really need in your life and the things you value the most, not all the things you believe you should be doing.

It’s easy to daydream about where you want to be and what you want to accomplish, but it’s impossible to develop a plan that’ll get you there if you don’t know your starting point. Think about it this way: You can’t give someone directions to your house without first knowing where they’re starting. So acknowledge where you are right now, then you can make a plan that gets you from point A to point B.

Most successful:

Aligning your goals with your priorities. Start by thinking of your top three priorities, then set your goals. You’re more likely to succeed if you don’t set goals that conflict with your priorities.

Focus on changing things you do daily. We’re all pretty busy, so you might need to eliminate some old habits to make room for new ones. Determine which things are not getting you closer to meeting your goals and ask yourself if it’s time to stop. Once you’ve eliminated the nonessential stuff, you’ll have more time and energy to direct to new habits.

Alison Heilig, CPT, owner and running coach at Miles to Go Athletics, and fitness blogger