It’s that time again. Time to make your new year’s resolutions. So many resolutions will be made and broken because people don’t put enough thought into making them. They are a commitment to yourself, and they take hard work and dedication to stick to and achieve. Rarely are resolutions goals that can be completed quickly and then forgotten about. They are life goals and aspirations that are made at the end of the year to give yourself a chance at a better (often healthier) life in the coming year.
The problem is that many people choose resolutions that are too drastic or come with unrealistic timelines. People like to see immediate results, especially when it comes to their fitness and whenever the pounds aren’t dropping as quickly as they’d like, or the muscle isn’t packing on as swiftly as they thought, they become discouraged and quit. This is one of the major pitfalls of fitness based resolutions, and a huge contributor as to why they fail. Another problem with resolutions is that many see them as a quick fit to a lifelong problem. You didn’t gain 25 pounds over night so why would you think you can lose it that quickly?
Here are our suggestions for realistic new year’s resolutions and hints on how to stay on track.
It’s easy to cheat on your diet because it’s not a normal eating routine for you. It’s something that takes time and commitment and at the end of a long day sometimes ordering Chinese is just easier. But when you meal plan and meal prep you no longer have that problem, because quick, easy, and healthy meals are already prepared and waiting for you to warm up at home after a tough day at work, with the kids, or at school.
Sometimes skipping an exercise is easy simply because you haven’t put the effort in to plan it as something critical to the success of your day. Carving out a specific time, place, or activity for each day’s workout is the best way to ensure that your goals don’t fall to the wayside. Failing to plan is the equivalent of planning to fail.
Work This doesn’t mean that you have to hit the gym everyday of the week for an hour or two, it doesn’t even mean that you have to go to the gym at all. It just means that 3 or 4 days per week you need to be active for at least 30 minutes. Surprisingly enough, for someone who does not lead an active life, that’s all it takes to make a difference in the way you look and feel.
Even if you don’t want to meal prep every meal of the day all week, you should at the very least pack your own lunches when you’re out of the house, and make a healthy meal for dinner every night. Making sure that you avoid restaurants is a great way to cut down on calorie consumption, and is even good for your wallet. This doesn’t mean you have to ban restaurants from your list of approved activities either, it just means you’ll want to cut out on the frequency with which you visit them. Pick a realistic goal for yourself. If you eat out 5 meals per week now try to cut it down to 2. If you go out once or twice a week try to cut back to 3 or 4 times per month.
Too many people when they’re trying to become more physically fit and healthier think that the number on the scale is the holy grail. They treat the scale like a magic wizard that will grant them all of their wishes once the numbers are low enough. What those people fail to realize though is that muscle actually weighs more than fat, so there is a chance that you will actually gain weight through muscle mass while you lose pounds of fat, never actually moving the numbers on the scale. Sometimes you will even notice that you’re losing fat but gaining so much muscle that the numbers on the scale actually increase. So do not fear the scale.
Avoid food based rewards because they’ll just set you back in your nutrition and fitness goals. Focus instead on self improvement rewards. Treat yourself to a haircut, manicure, pedicure, movie, play, or concert. You can even reward yourself with money or new workout clothes or gear. Whatever you choose just make sure it’s something you really enjoy so that you’ll strive to achieve your goals and make sure that it’s not going to set you back.
It’s easier to stay on track when you can see where you’ve been and how much progress you’ve made so far. Since the numbers on the scale probably won’t be of much help to you in a true fitness sense try taking a picture of yourself, or measuring your problem area at the same time every week to record your progress. Focusing on what you’ve already achieved rather than what you still need to work on is a wonderful motivator.
While a long term goal is excellent to have, it’s also important to have short term goals set aside that act as success markers along the way. When you achieve one of your short term goals you will be reenergized by the enthusiasm that you have for your success. Once you are able to reward yourself for a short term goal, you will believe in yourself more, and be able to push yourself farther towards achieving your long term goal.
Make sure that you’re getting to bed at a decent hour and clocking in enough time in dreamland. Adults should be sleeping between 7 to 9 hours per night but most sleep much less, due to other obligations. When your body isn’t given a chance to sleep and rest for the appropriate amount of time it diminishes the quality of repair that your muscles experience after a workout, and it can also negatively effect your metabolism. Starting and following a sleep routine is the healthiest way to naturally let your body heal itself from the stress of the day.
Cutting out processed foods is a great way to enhance your health, but for some people cutting out all processed foods would be an unrealistic resolution. So instead resolve to stop buying it, because if you stop buying it you’ll be forced to at least cut back on your consumption. Then if you go to a party where they are serving chips, you can indulge lightly without feeling guilty about reneging on your resolution.
Whether your resolution for the coming year is going to revolve around fitness, nutrition, or overall health be sure that you make it realistic. A realistic resolution is an achievable goal, and an achievable goal paves the road to success and happiness. Nothing is impossible when you train hard, eat right, keep fighting, and give yourself time to attain greatness.
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