What are your New Year’s resolutions for 2013?
If you are among the 45 percent of Americans that set New Year’s resolutions, you may be happy to learn that 49 percent of people achieve their resolutions – at some point in their lives. Only eight percent of Americans, who set resolutions each year achieve them within that same year. Twenty-four percent never achieve their resolutions and 19 percent generally achieve a sought after resolution within two years.
Why don’t most people achieve their New Year’s resolutions?
The average person sticks with their resolution for about six weeks. By February 15th, the lines for the treadmill have been redirected to the fast food drive-thru lane.
The lack of adherence can be attributed to multiple factors. Many times the goals set are large and too lofty to achieve without a clear plan to the finish line. Other times, the New Year merely marks a fresh start or new beginning. As a nutritional counselor, I often see clients who come in on Friday with a plan to get started on Monday. The trouble with this mindset is the belief that the beginning and the end are finite. When it comes to weight loss and ultimately weight management, it is a life long process. Whether you start on January 1st or an arbitrary Monday, you will have to eat right, exercise regularly, manage stress, get plenty of sleep and, in general, care for your health to maintain your goal for the rest of your life.
How can you achieve your New Year’s resolutions this year?
Set your goals and then develop a plan to achieve each one. If you want to lose 30 pounds, you have to break down the process week by week and day by day. Whenever a client came to me to get started, I always as them to choose three goals to perfect for the first month. This means in the midst of doing their best to eat healthy and exercise, they could focus on creating small habits throughout the year that would ultimately result in weight loss and long-term weight management.
Maybe you have resolved to lose weight in 2013 and joined a gym and a weight loss program, like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig. You have covered two big hurdles to the resolution by joining these programs. Now you have to commit to the habits. For your diet, do your best to follow the plan set forth by the program, but pick a smaller goal to achieve in the first month, such as drinking more water or not skipping breakfast. After a month, this will have become a habit and you can choose another goal to add. You may still be struggling with other aspects of the program, but you are creating healthy habits one at a time.
You should also choose an exercise related goal to achieve each month. You may have joined the gym, but how many days a week can really commit to? Start by telling yourself that you will go at least one day a week for 30 minutes. You can expand from there, adding another 30 minutes to your one day or adding more days throughout the week. Eventually, you can strive to conquer mixing in resistance training with cardio and keeping things interesting by trying new classes or types of equipment.
And don’t forget the other details – sleep and stress management. Vow to go to bed at the same time for three nights each week and wind down with a relaxing bubble bath. You can slowly build a bedtime routine and relaxing activities into your daily routine.
Remember to include a little fun in your plan too. Just because you are trying to lose weight doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy events and social gatherings. You just have to plan better. Give yourself one “free” day per week. You don’t have to go on a binge, but you can let yourself indulge a little and practice the art of relaxation and stress management.
Happy New Year!!!
Following this type of pattern with resolutions will have you waking up on the eve of 2014 with your 2013 resolution achieved and your sights set to achieve a brand new resolution in the New Year.