Every year, millions of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, hoping to turn over a new leaf. As you might have guessed, exercising and eating healthier are almost always the perennial favorites, and according to YouGov, this year is no exception.
However, most of us fall off the New Year’s resolution wagon about as quickly as we jump on it. That’s OK and a perfectly normal part of the process — we’re suppose to stumble, fall, and fail our way up. So give yourself permission to fail and fail often, because success is rarely linear.
With that said, when it comes to exercising and eating healthier, you will likely be more successful if you focus on the journey (process) instead of the destination (goal). When you fall off of the horse, which you inevitably will, just get back on, and stay committed to the journey. Here are seven strategies for making your exercise and healthier eating resolutions work:
1. Embrace you.
Take a moment to do some personal reflections, and unconditionally embrace yourself (body, mind, and soul). That’s right, warts and all, because we all have them. Consciously position yourself for success by starting with self-acceptance.
2. Begin with the end in mind.
Just like a road trip, get out the map, chart your course, and prepare for pitstops. Sit down for an hour or so, think, ask yourself questions, and write down your thoughts. What do I want to start doing in 2019? What kind of exercises appeal to me? What do I realistically see myself able to commit to long term? What kinds of foods do I like and which foods can I realistically live without or eat less of?
If you struggle with this, think about all that you’ll gain by making small changes in your exercise and eating habits.
3. Decide to be successful and create a vision board.
I know it sounds corny, but vision boards can be a useful tool in self-actualization. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, and creating that vision on a physical board can help us solidify and implant those ideas into our subconscious mind. So get to the craft store, buy your board, glue stick, scissors, stickers, and grab those old magazines to clip out the images that best represent you and your vision. Yup, it’s just that simple, and then make sure your board is placed somewhere you can see it everyday. Now you have set the law of expectation and attraction in motion.
4. Community service and fitness
Are you passionate about certain causes? Have you always wanted to support different charities by participating in 3K or 5K races or runs? If so, make this the year you combine your philanthropy and fitness. Here’s a short list of suggestions to get you started:
5. Small things really do add up.
It’s the teeny tiny steps (not leaps and bounds) that ultimately leads to exercise and healthier eating success. Baby, inch by inch it’s a cinch, but by the yard it’s hard. For example, if your goal is to lose 25 pounds, shoot for losing 2 pounds a month, rather than 2 pounds a week. Up your exercise a little and cut back or eliminate the extra helpings, salty snacks, and sweets.
When it comes to permanent weight loss, slow and steady wins the race, because you’ll more likely maintain your weight loss when it occurs slowly over time.
6. Create the environment for your success.
Create the environment you need at home, work, etc. to be successful. Tell your family, friends, and coworkers you’ll need their support to help you with your new healthy lifestyle. Keep the refrigerator and pantry stocked with healthy options, and make fitness a daily priority. If possible, buddy-up and work out with a friend that will help you both stay accountable.
7. Reward yourself and celebrate every success.
Always reward your successes (big and small) along the journey. Here are a few ways to reward yourself: