Did the clock strike twelve, fireworks go off and you resolved that it was going to be a “New Year, New You” kind of year? Well, now that we’re midway into February, this is the perfect time to reflect on your progress to see how those resolutions you made are coming along .
Sticking With New Year’s Weight Loss Goals
Sadly, this time of year is about the same time that gyms and fitness clubs start to empty out — as half of all New Year’s resolutioners start to lose sight of their goals and give up.
According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute‘s 2017 survey of 1,273 online, 216 phone, and 73 in-person respondents, 41% of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions.
Of those resolutioners, 32% of the resolutions were weight related.
When asked about how many actually kept with their resolutions after a month into the new year, only 58.4% of respondents felt that they kept up with their resolutions after January.
What’s more, only 9% of respondents felt that they were successful in achieving their resolutions at the end of last year. This means that 91% of the people that made New Year’s resolutions felt that they were not successful in achieving their goals — holy moly, that is a huge percentage of people that probably feel ashamed and guilty for not following through with their goals, me thinks.
The How To
So what does it take to achieve those weight loss goals? A quick google search defines New Year’s resolutions as a tradition in which a person resolves to change an undesired trait or behavior. But what I’ve learned over the years and after taking on countless new clients around this time of year, is that you need more than just resolve to change an undesired trait or behavior.
Setting Healthy Lifestyle Goals: Where to Start
- What is your overall objective?
- How much time can you invest in achieving your particular goal? (Think hours per day, per week and number of months.)
- How much money or resources do you want to put towards your goal?
- How much effort are you willing to put in to reach your goal? (Use a 1-10 scale, anything less than a 7 rating usually means your goal is not as important to you as you think.)
Now don’t get me wrong, I too have failed in keeping many a resolutions in the past — But after many years of learning about human behavior, and of course through trial and error, I know one thing for sure, it takes a few strategic tactics for health and weight loss goals to stick.
Take for example, my client Nadia (pictured above). She was able to achieve her new year’s resolutions of meeting her weight loss goals. But what did it really take? How was she able to find herself in the coveted 9% of resolutioners that met their goals? After all, she was working full time while starting her own business on the side, as she completed her masters degree and embarked on new life experiences. As tall a feat as it may seem, I promise you, you can also meet your weight loss goals the way she did. Read more to learn how to take the 4 questions above and put them into action.
The Healthy Resolution Plan: The Follow Through
First, you really have to want it. Don’t overbook yourself. You can’t want to lose weight, but also want to work more, read more, give more work presentations and spend more time with friends. In theory all of those things sounds great and doable at the same time, but when it comes to your resolutions, you have to make your goals a top priority.
Schedule Workouts as “Meetings”
You have to be willing to leave work at a specific time without guilt, at least 3 times a week. You can’t keep putting your work goals ahead of your weight loss goals and then complain that it was a lack of time that made you fall off the weight loss goal wagon. What it really came down to was that your goals for work took precedence over your weight loss goals. And you know what, that is okay. In fact, you should pat yourself on the back for doing your job so well and not beat yourself up for not keeping your weight loss goals. The point of the story is that you have to be really specific about the goal at hand and prioritize the things that are most important to you at this very moment in time.
Yes, work is always a priority as it pays the bills. So if you want to place focus on work AND working out, then schedule your workout into your day and block off an hour like you would for a meeting. If you feel guilty about taking an hour to workout, think about how guilty you would feel about taking a whole day off from work for being sick. Regular exercise can improve immunity and reduce your risk of developing certain types of illness and diseases, meaning fewer sick days at work.
Also, according to a study by Leeds Metropolitan University, office employees reported managing work time more effectively on days when they visited the gym. They felt more productive, and reported smoother interactions with their colleagues. Not to mention that they went home feeling more satisfied at the end of the day.
Be Specific About What It Means to “Eat Healthy”
If you resolve to eat healthier this year, then set a time frame and be specific about the degree of “healthy” you want to choose. In this scenario you can choose to simply cut out table sugar for a week straight, or eat more veggies with every meal for 3 weeks. Or maybe you want to start by cooking at home more, or reading and educating yourself about healthy nutrition, or drinking more glasses of water everyday for a month. The point is that there are many ways to be healthy, so don’t be vague and start with the specifics. Starting small and working your way up is a surefire way to cross resolutions off your list and be excited about meeting goals that you set.
What I don’t suggest is that you cut out whole food groups or follow a specific “fad” diet as a resolution. These types of resolutions are never sustainable long term as your body requires a wide range of nutrients from all of the food groups and you’ll eventually burn out from the strict lack of variety in those types of diets. Instead focus on eating whole, healthy foods that you prepare yourself, with scheduled cheat meals that will allow you to indulge your cravings and keep you from going back to old, unhealthy habits.
With Nadia, we first worked on a healthy eating plan that fit within her first set of goals, then switched them up after 4 weeks to meet another set of goals. She found that she was actually eating more on her Positively Strong Transformational Package than before, eating at certain times and in correct portions to meet her macronutrient needs.
Exercise According to a Set Plan
What does working out really mean? Do you go for a run every other day? Do you start a kickboxing class? Do you go for a 30 minute walk around the block on your lunch hour once in a blue moon?
Whatever the goal, you have to set a time limit and make it a priority (remember you can’t blow off the lunch hour walk everyday because of work commitments, that only means that you made meeting work commitments a bigger priority than your resolution, and that’s okay, but don’t call it something it isn’t). Also, you will want to track your progress, and be very specific about the goals you set for exercising.
Consider setting behavior goals, such as “this week I’ll go to the gym three times, spend 20 minutes on a cardio machine and 40 minutes on strength training and accessory work”. Every time you meet each goal, you will be more likely to feel encouraged to continue on your plan.
With Nadia, we worked on a plan that included working out 3 times a week, meaning a small amount of HIIT cardio one to two times a week, and progressive overload when it came to strength training 3 times a week for 40 minutes at a time. Each time she increased the weights and became more familiar with each exercise, she became more and more encouraged to keep working out. Eventually she was asking me if it was okay that she wanted to workout everyday, in which case I had to remind her that scheduling rest days was just as important as working out when it came to being healthy.
Make Every Day a New Day For Healthy Resolutions
Remember that it’s never too late to start a new resolution. Just because the new year has come and gone, doesn’t mean that the opportunity to better yourself has also come and gone. Take advantage of every single day and don’t be afraid to adjust your goals to your immediate needs. Most of all, don’t be afraid to be kind to yourself and allow yourself to jump back onto your New Years’ resolutions every month if need be.
To living Positively Strong — all year long,