Resolutions got you down?

Every year we make them, and, sadly, every year we (often) manage to break them. Despite our greatest efforts, our goals come to… less than we thought they might. So how will this year prove any different? Because for once, we’re going to Get Real. We’re not going to promise to lose 50 pounds in a week. We’re not going to do 200 push-ups per day. This year, we can make changes that will be gradual. We can make changes that will last. Below are ways you can set and keep ACHIEVABLE New Year’s fitness resolutions.

You CAN do this – we assure you. It won’t always be easy, but it will be lasting.

Set measurable, achievable goals

Yes, we’d all like to lose 25 pounds overnight. But anyone who claims that you can is either insanely unhealthy or lying. Instead, let’s make goals that allow us to celebrate small wins. Five pounds in three weeks?* Achievable! *And by the way, expect the first day you work out to be the WORST day of exercising. Just realize it gets better.

Chart those goals daily

Monitoring your day-to-day activity (and weight) helps you achieve those goals. Record a baseline so you can measure your progress, or you won’t realize how much progress you’re making. You can even use technology to keep track of your goals and progress.

Keep a food diary

It’s amazing how much food we consume – especially when we don’t realize that we’re even eating. Maintaining a food diary will allow you to know exactly what (and how much) you eat.

Find a fitness Yoda

It takes a team to make a change. It’s easy to “take a day off” or “just have this one—,” but you NEED someone to hold you accountable. It’s annoying – and not always convenient – but a buddy can keep you on track and on point.

Expect to lose two pounds per week

If you’re trying to lose weight, with effort you can expect to lose two pounds per week – one due to diet and one due to exercise. Eating 500 calories lessper day (averaging 1500 calories total, for the typical person) and exercising for one hour (burning 500 calories per day) can result in a two pounds per week loss. Keep in mind each pound you lose/gain is equal to 3,500 calories.

Find out what motivates you

Whether you prefer running on the treadmill or you prefer the competition of one-on-one basketball, evaluate what motivates you and plan your workout around it. Is it tennis, racquetball, or a cross-country jaunt? Whatever it proves to be, include it in your workout.

Get back on the wagon

It happens to the best of us. But if you fall off the fitness wagon, get right back on. No excuses. Do not return to GO. Do not collect $200.

Cut back on the caloric fluids

Okay, we’re mostly talking about sugary soda and alcohol. Try not to “drink” your calories. One bottle of red wine equals 600-plus calories. That’s basically like eating two Snickers® bars. One can of Coca-Cola? 140 calories. So find a way to drink more water.

Reward yourself in non-food ways

Yes, it’s tough to think you can’t eat your favorite food for months. You need to find something that will equal that happiness. Maybe it’s new clothes or a long-yearned-for trip – whatever it is, try to reward your New Year’s fitness resolution sacrifice with some rewards.

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