It is estimated that over 90% of people never follow through with their New Year’s resolutions. Before you throw out the tradition and label it as “cliché”, read our top strategies to help you stick to your New Year plan:
1. Align your Priorities with your Goals
“I want to lose 50 pounds this year, run a half marathon, and compete in a local CrossFit competition.
However, I can only train 30 minutes a day and three days a week.
I do not have time to pack meals and will need to eat out a lot since I have kids who play travel sports. I also normally sleep five to six hours a night and really don’t want to go to bed earlier because that’s the only time my husband and I can spend alone time together.”
There is nothing inherently wrong with this woman’s resolutions. They just don’t match with her main priority: time spent with her family.
In order to avoid disappointment with not reaching her goals this year, something has to give. Either her goals or priorities need to change.
Rather than sacrificing time with family, a good compromise for this woman would be to modify her current goals. Instead of trying to compete in a local marathon or CrossFit competition on 90 minutes or less of training per week, this woman should spend this year solely focusing on weight loss.
We have all experienced a time where we set lofty resolutions that conflicted with our main priorities in life. It often leaves us frustrated or annoyed and we eventually give up on goal setting altogether. The answer to the problem is not setting less goals for ourselves; it is making sure our goals are in alignment with our priorities.
2. Establish a daily Routine
Many people avoid routines because they feel like they are too restrictive. In reality, a consistent routine is freeing. It allows you to prioritize the actions throughout your day that will help bring you closer to your goals.
Once your priorities are out of the way, not only are you encouraged by a sense of accomplishment, you have the freedom to spend extra time on the things that you consider least important, yet equally enjoyable.
Here is a good example: the woman above has a goal to lose 50 pounds this year. Her schedule is a bit chaotic with balancing her job with her family. The worst thing this woman could do is to plan to exercise whenever she “has the time”. The reality is that she will probably never have the time. Something will always get in the way.
The only chance this woman has at reaching her fitness goal is to set a specific time to exercise on the three best days that she has. On her off days, she would also benefit by having a routine to accomplish tasks that might prevent her from training on her scheduled days. The best way to combat a busy schedule is to make a plan so that you can regain control of your day. Routine results in consistency and consistency is the key to results.
3. Create a Sustainable plan
A few years ago, my father committed to losing 100 pounds in six months for my brother’s wedding. Despite my doubts, he successfully transformed his life and body by losing all 100 pounds one week before the wedding.
At first, my dad made gradual changes to his diet and exercise routine. However, when it came down the last couple of months with plenty of weight left to lose to hit his 100-pound goal, my dad kicked into “hardcore” weight loss mode. He started training twice a day, substantially reduced his caloric intake and spent hours each week in the sauna “sweating it out” with a hoodie and sweats on.
Although my father’s work ethic and determination is commendable, it was not sustainable. After the last couple of months of such an intense regimen, my father decided he needed a break. His “short break” turned into months, then years, and he quickly gained back the weight he had lost plus more.
My father’s story is not uncommon. In our culture, we crave fast results. We want the quickest way to lose weight, the quickest way to make money, the quickest way to be promoted, the quickest way to change our behaviors, etc. Unfortunately, fast results often mean unsustainable ones.
While some may be able to change their entire lifestyle overnight, most of us, like my father, will end up either discouraged or exhausted. Never mind the goals we had, we just want to go back to living our lives the way we used to.
In this upcoming year, set lofty goals. Do not be afraid of failure or falling short. Just make sure that your resolutions are well planned.
Make a list of your priorities and ensure that your goals are in alignment with them. Next, set up a routine to help you gain control of your day. Lastly, make sure that your routine and plan is one that you can sustain. Do not change your entire life overnight. Take gradual steps.
Most coaches or fitness gurus will tell you that nutrition is the most important factor for fat loss. Some will even try to argue that enough intense exercise can outweigh bad dietary habits. Very few will stress the importance of better lifestyle choices, such as more sleep and less stress.
The truth is that lifestyle habits, nutrition and exercise are all equally essential in attempting to lose body fat. They are the “holy trinity” of weight loss, and depending on the person, each characteristic is more important than the others are.