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Five ways to keep your New Year's resolutions

Follow these steps to your own victory
Hannah Johnston/Getty Images

If you’re like a lot of people, New Year’s has you contemplating some resolutions. The problem is that most of these resolutions get dumped within the first couple of weeks (or even days) and leave us feeling like we failed.

1) Failing to plan is planning to fail. Part of the problem is often the lack of an actual goal and a plan to achieve it. Saying “I’m going to lose weight” or “I’m going to get back into shape” isn’t a plan. First, we have to determine what the goal actually is. How will you know that you achieved the goal if you haven’t defined it? “Losing weight” is vague, while “losing 10 pounds” is specific. That is something you can measure and feel a sense of accomplishment when you do it.

2) Set long and short term goals. If your goal is to lose 20 pounds by the time your high school reunion rolls around in July, set interim goals on the way. First of all, it will help keep you from procrastinating until mid-June and trying to lose it all in two weeks. Second, it will give you small victories along the way that serve to encourage you to continue. Success breeds success.

3) Reward yourself. If your goal was to go to the gym 3 days a week and you did that for the past 3 months, good for you. Do something special for yourself. Buy yourself something you want, treat yourself to a massage or whatever you want to do, but tell yourself “good job”.

4) Make the time to achieve your goals. Probably the second biggest reason (read that as excuse) that fitness related goals get put aside is lack of time. Schedule time for your fitness activity. Make an appointment with yourself to go for a bike ride or attend a yoga class. If you wait until you feel like you have extra time, you’ll never do it. Build it into your day. Some have told me that a switch to a morning workout helps. Few things interrupt the morning routine, but evening workouts can be regularly, and easily, put off by things that “came up at the last minute”

5) Get others involved. Tell people what your goals are. If you start slacking, they’ll call you on it. Then you’ll be in the uncomfortable position of not just making excuses to yourself, but to someone else too. Likewise, when you achieve your goal, share it. Not only will your friends and family be happy for you, it may inspire them to set a few of their own.

If you have questions or suggestions, please email me. To stay up on fitness news, events and articles, follow on Twitter @FMFitness.

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