It’s that time of year again — everyone likes to think that they have a foolproof plan to actually keep their new year’s resolution indefinitely, but the fact of the matter is that most people relapse by Easter. Here are our top 7 tips to ensure you don’t fall into the classic “new year, new me” downward spiral from January 1st:
1. Create a Gameplan
When it comes to keeping your new year’s resolution to lose weight, get fit, or generally improve your health, the key to success is slow and steady wins the race. If you want to lose 10kg in 2017, don’t try and do it all before Valentine’s Day — 10kg over 12 months is just over 800 grams per month (or roughly 200 grams per week), so keep track of your progress monthly and set incremental goals each quarter.
2. Be Realistic
Following on from the above point, don’t overdo it with your goals if you want to keep your resolutions — having a goal of being able to run 10km by June is a realistic goal if you are a novice runner. Don’t try and aim for a marathon by mid-year if you’ve never been a serious runner before in your life.
3. Bring a Friend
Finding a like-minded person can be a serious blessing when it comes to keeping new year’s resolutions. Find an exercise program or fitness class that you both enjoy, and commit to each other that you will follow through with it for at least 6 months. Alternatively, you could try having a “Healthy Dinner Club”, where participants take turns hosting health-conscious parties on Friday nights.
4. Drink More Water!
Not only does water assist greatly with providing stamina during a workout (and muscle recovery afterwards), but drinking plenty of it will reduce cravings for food, help with digestion, improve your skin, and help you sleep at night. Aim for at least 2L per day.
5. Mix it Up
The first step to failing to keep your resolutions is to grow complacent. If you find the exercise bike monotonous and aren’t really trying to improve each week, try going for an actual bike ride with your family, or cross-train by swimming some laps in the pool instead.
6. If at First You Don’t Succeed…
If you set resolutions that you believe are realistic (see point 2.) but have fallen off the wagon, take a step back and reassess whether your goals were right for you. Unexpected hurdles will also be thrown at you (injuries, unplanned interstate meetings, etc), so make sure you recognise that these are inevitable, and go and have another crack at it.
7. Reward Yourself
Once you start hitting your incremental goals (see point 1.), make sure you treat yourself to keep you on the right path — whether it’s an outfit in your new dress size, a pair of new shoes to replace your worn out ones, or even a latte after a gruelling workout, it is important that you recognise the effort that you’ve put in. They key is to keep these rewards goal-oriented, so don’t cancel out your hard work by ordering a large Quakeshake from Donut King after every workout!