How to Make New Year Resolutions that Stick

Happy New Year! After a dreadful 2016, for many reasons, it’s a brand new year which means it’s the perfect time to start making big changes in our lives. You’ve probably read dozens of Facebook statuses, tweets, inspirational memes and Instagram captions from people who declare to live healthier and make exercise a priority. Unfortunately, after a good 2 weeks at the gym or so, a lot of those people will fall back into old habits. What’s the culprit? Poor goal setting. The key to sticking with your goals is to divide your ultimate goal into small milestones that you can realistically reach within a certain period of time.

For instance, let’s say your goal is to lose 50 pounds this year. Declaring that statement is a start, but it’s not enough. Ask yourself these questions:

-       How will you lose the weight?

-       What exercises do you enjoy?

-       What habits need to change?

-        How will you be held accountable? Who makes up your support system?

-       What other milestones would you like to achieve on your way to losing those 50 pounds?

Answering those questions starts the process of losing those 50 pounds. I also ask similar questions in my New Year, New You goal setting sheet. You can download it by clicking the link below. Goal setting isn’t easy and it’s an underrated part of the lifestyle change process, but if done right, the results will be worth it.

Downloadable PDF New Year, New You Goal-Setting Sheet

Related: 4 Easy Ways to Beginning a Healthy Lifestyle

First, grab a notebook and pen. You can’t keep all your goals in your head and succeed. You’ll lose focus, forget to prioritize and revert to old, bad habits. Once you have your notebook and pen, take five to ten minutes to write a letter to your future self in 2018. Tell yourself how proud you are of the progress you’ve made over the year and how much you’ve grown. Once that’s done, it’s time to focus on overall goals, identifying weaknesses, strengths, people who belong in your support system, and building new habits. It’s a great way to take one major goal and break it down into small, short-term ones.

As an example, here is one of my health, fitness and wellness goal and how I plan to reach it.  

Ultimate Goal: Compete in a Figure or Physique Competition

How will I reach this goal?

·      Working with my personal trainer.

·      Maintaining a clean diet.

·      Dedicating 5 days a week to strength training and 6 days a week to cardio.

·      Take weekly progress pictures.

What are my weaknesses/triggers? (This is the time to be completely honest with yourself)

·      Junk Food – Burgers, Fries, Pizza, Brownies, Cookies and Fried Chicken

·      Creamy pasta dishes

·      Tacos

·      Time Management

How can I improve on those weaknesses? (The goal is to turn these weaknesses into strengths)

·      Discuss with my trainer about including the occasional cheat day into my diet or finding clean foods that are equally satisfying.

·      Write 3 important tasks to complete per day to improve my time management skills.

What are my strengths?

·      Dedication.

·      Hard work.

·      Open communication.

How will I be held accountable?

·      Weekly check-ins with my trainer.

·      Accountability gym selfies with my cousin.

·      Weekly check-ins with members of my favorite Facebook groups.

Who makes up my support system?

·      My trainer

·      My cousin/best friend

·      Close friends who are fitness-minded

What other milestones do I want to reach on my way to my ultimate goal?

·      Fit into size 4 jeans and dress.

·      Look awesome in a bikini.

·      Wear a tight shirt without seeing butter rolls up and down my back.

·      Be able to do more 30 or more unassisted pull-ups.

As you see, this is an example of how I begin to achieve my goal of becoming a competitor. Focusing on improving upon my weaknesses and reaching my milestones will keep me motivated as my trainer and I work to put me in shape to compete. If I just focused on only my ultimate goal, eventually I’d get overwhelmed and disappointed that I’m not seeing results as quickly as I think I should be seeing them, which would lead to me giving up.

Related: Journey to the Stage – Three Months In

Start your year off on a great note and start working on your goals today! I also recommend joining or creating Facebook groups for people who have goals similar to yours. Remember, start small and focus on one goal at a time. You will get to where you need to be. Those jeans or that dress in your closet? You’ll be able to fit into them as long as you keep working hard and smart. It won’t be easy and when times get tough, lean on your support system. They’ll offer the courage and support you need to keep going.

We’re all in this together. As the year goes on, keep me updated with your progress. I’m a big cheerleader of people’s health and fitness goals and am yours too!