According to a 2013 YouGov Omnibus survey, 22 percent of Americans cheated on their resolutions the first week of January — and nearly 50 percent ditched them before they even got started! If your resolution is to get fit this year, don’t let yourself become another statistic. Here’s a four-step action plan that’ll help you map out how you can stay on track and achieve your 2014 fitness goals.
Step 1: Establish a realistic resolution.
If you want to achieve your fitness goal(s), make sure that your resolution is realistic and attainable. It’s okay to think big, but start small. For instance, it may sound like a lofty goal to declare that you want to lose 40 pounds this year, but if you’re currently more than 40 pounds overweight it’s actually realistic because it requires you to lose less than a pound per week which is safe and doable. Just don’t allow yourself to get too caught up in the long-term goal because you may end up feeling defeated if the weight isn’t coming off fast enough. Instead, set a weekly or monthly goal so you stay motivated along the way.
Step 2: Clarify your goal.
Once you’ve established a resolution for yourself, the next step toward making it happen is to make it as specific as possible. You can do this by developing a list of questions that will help you clarify your goal. For example, if you want to improve your cardiovascular health by exercising regularly this year, here are some questions you may want to ask yourself:
- What type of exercise will I be doing?
- How often (e.g. how many times per week) will I do this type of exercise?
- What’s should the duration and intensity of the exercise be at each session?
- What time and days of week will I do this exercise routine?
After you answer these questions you’ll have a clear plan as to what exercises you’ll complete, how often you’ll do them, what time of day will work for scheduling in exercise, and how long and how hard you’ll workout at each session.
Step 3: Identify challenges.
In addition to setting specific guidelines for your goal, you also need to consider potential roadblocks or obstacles that may make it more challenging to achieve it. So if you have a business trip coming up, you should figure out ahead of time how you’ll fit in exercise before the change in your routine potentially derails your resolution. Once you identify these challenges, you can strategize how to overcome them before they present themselves, making you less likely to stray off course.
Step 4: Create a plan to keep you on track.
Continuing with the business trip example above, develop a plan such as the following to overcome challenges and help keep you focused on your goal:
- Pack sneakers and workout clothes in luggage on business trip.
- Book a hotel with a fitness center.
- Plan to wake up 45 minutes early to workout in the hotel fitness center before your day gets started.
- Pack resistance bands, a jump rope, or your favorite workout DVD in case the fitness center is unavailable.
Another way to stay on track is to break down your fitness goals into smaller ‘mini goals’ week to week so you can feel proud of what you’ve accomplished so far rather than sighing at the prospect of how long you still have to go. By staying positive and focused, you’ll conquer your New Year’s resolution before you know it!
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