How to keep New Year’s fitness resolutions

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As the holidays take hold of our lives, we often turn to New Year’s Resolutions to get back in shape. Or to push ourselves a little harder. Unfortunately, 80 percent of people give up on their fitness goals by the second week of February. You don’t have to fall off the fitness cliff.

The most common reasons fitness resolutions fail

Setting unrealistic goals. Goals shouldn’t leave you feeling too deprived or frustrated.

Doing too much too soon. There is no quick fix for losing weight, toning muscles or improving endurance.

Not enjoying the process. If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t do it.

Having no accountability. Creating new habits takes discipline, so have someone to “report to.”

Expecting quick weight loss. Healthy weight loss is 1 to 2 pounds per week.

Failing to track progress. How can you know how well you’re doing without using accurate, measurable data?

If any of these (or multiple) reasons sound a little too familiar to you, what does that mean? Should you give up altogether and just not make New Year’s resolutions? Absolutely not! Below are some keys to help you succeed this year.

How to make your resolutions work

Set realistic, specific goals. Losing weight is not a specific goal; losing 10 pounds in 90 days is. Use SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, Time-bound.

Take small steps. You want to see results, but get there gradually. Start by planning workouts for the first week. Continue every week, increasing intensity so you stay challenged but safe.

Have fun! Find something you enjoy doing, whether it’s skiing, riding a bike, playing tennis or practicing yoga. Doing things that provide health benefits and pleasure can help you stay with your program.

Have an accountability buddy. Tell friends and family your goals so they can help keep you on the right path. It’s all too easy to skip a workout to go to the movies or ditch your healthy lunch for burgers with friends.

Celebrate your success between milestones. Don’t wait until you reach your final goal. Enjoy the journey!

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Track progress. Choose how you’ll evaluate results – by weight, body fat or improvement in activities. Keep a daily food and exercise journal, and track your progress each week. You’ll be amazed at how inspiring small victories are!

Instead of making impossible resolutions, make simple lifestyle changes that will actually stick. Small changes have a big impact over time. Be strong, smile and make it a great year!

You can also try a fitness time capsule to see how you did with your New Year’s resolution.

• This January, write down your health or fitness goal for the end of the year. Be specific.

• Seal the note or list in a container and put in a safe place. Tip: If you put it in a clear holiday

ornament that you’ll pack away and unpack next December, you’ll be sure to find it at the right time.

• At year-end: Check your progress against your written goal and see what a great year you had!

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