5 Fantastic Hacks for Keeping those 2020 New Year Resolutions!

If you are like most people you have made at least one or two New Year’s resolutions.  For many, the resolution is to exercise more and lose weight.  Sadly, on average, 80 percent of resolutions fail by the second week of February each year. While almost all of us have the best of intentions, the way in which we go about formulating and implementing our resolutions can set us up for failure even before we start. So how exactly do you stick to your resolutions?  

The following are 5 tips for keeping your New Year’s resolution to help get and stay fit.

1. Keep your goals specific and small

Getting in better shape can be a daunting task, which is why it’s often best to set small, specific and — above all else — realistic goals at the beginning of your journey. Too many people set overly ambitious goals that do not allow for the occasional misstep. Most resolutions fail because we set unreasonable goals and expectations. Resolving to lose 30 pounds may not be a reasonable goal, whereas moving down a size in your jeans may be very achievable with hard work.  It took a long time to gain the weight, it takes a long time to lose it in a healthy and lasting fashion.  After months of over-indulgence over the holidays, many of us feel compelled to make too many big changes very quickly. Unrealistic goals lead to failure. In fact, nearly 1 in 5 Americans admitted to setting unrealistic and potentially unobtainable goals.

2. Don’t make a lot of changes all at once and try new tools

If you decide to make multiple sweeping changes in the New Year, you may find it more difficult to remain focused, which could limit success. Behavioral changes aren’t easy, and it’s best to keep things simple. Be specific and have a plan as to how you want to change and why you want to make a specific change.  Take advantage of Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) tools, which focus on changing how you think about yourself, how you act, and circumstances that surround how you act is an effective treatment for a wide range of problems, including weight loss and achieving exercise goals. 

3. Write down your goals.

A recent article in Forbes talked about the neuroscience of writing down goals.  Writing things down happens on two levels: external storage and encoding. External storage is easy to understand: you’re storing the information contained in your goal in a location (e.g. a piece of paper) that is very easy to access and review at any time.  It doesn’t take a neuroscientist to know you will remember something much better if you’re staring at a visual cue (aka reminder) every single day.

But there’s another deeper phenomenon happening: encoding. Encoding is the biological process by which the things we perceive move to where they’re analyzed in our brain. From there, decisions are made about what gets stored in our long-term memory and, in turn, what gets discarded. Writing improves that encoding process. In other words, when you write it down it has a much greater chance of being remembered.

When we write down our goals, they seem more permanent and official. Post your list in a prominent place (such as the mirror in your bathroom) so that you see it every single day and are reminded of the task at hand. Update the list as you make progress to remind yourself of your successes – no matter how large or small.

4. Make fitness a priority

Regular physical activity can help to control your weight, strengthen bones and muscles, improve mental health, and reduce stress and the risk of certain diseases. It can even help increase your lifespan.  Instead of putting your physical and mental well-being on the back burner, make fitness a priority. Schedule it into your day as you would a dentist appointment or important business meeting. It helps to think about those you love and how your health can improve those relationships as well.

5. Don’t go it alone – Find a “resolution partner.”

As human beings, we’re naturally social. When we work with another person to achieve goals, our likelihood of success increases exponentially. Feeling connected to another person as you work to achieve a common goal can provide support and inspiration. Make sure to hold each other accountable and celebrate successes together.  According to the magazine Experience Life: “Exercise partners provide a powerful combination of support, accountability, motivation and, in some cases, healthy competition.”

Now you’ve read these tips, you are in a better position to consider the best ways to improve your life in 2020. Your wellness is worth the time and effort, so get started, and good luck!