How to make fitness resolutions you'll be able to keep

Set yourself up for success, not disappointment

As the year winds down, you may be thinking about what you can accomplish in the next?

Health and wellness coordinator Amy Eversley (Personal Fitness Trainer ’10) has some advice to help you succeed with your New Year’s fitness resolutions.

Be S.M.A.R.T

Eversley says your resolutions should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-specific. “What typically happens is you say, ‘this year, I’m going to lose weight’. But you don’t say how much you’re going to lose or when you’re going to lose it.” Write it down.

Make it fun

“Don’t make a goal to run a marathon if you hate running,” Eversley says. “Pick something that you enjoy doing.” She says to try new things, but don’t make yourself miserable.

Plan to track it

If the goal is related to your diet, Eversley suggests that you start a food journal. In each entry, check-in with yourself by identifying what you’ve been eating and how you’re feeling. “Do whatever works for you. If [your check-in] is once a month or once a week, put it in your calendar. Even if it’s just 10 or 15 minutes, make sure you sit and write it down.”

Pace is important

“Fifty percent of people stop their goals by January 31st. They quit,” she says. “The idea is to make a change that is going to be sustainable for the rest of your life, not just one month.”

Break it down

Eversley says the key to success is baby steps. “If your goal is to lose weight, maybe you start by going to the gym 3 days a week. At the end of January, maybe add an extra day or add 15 minutes to those workouts.” She says small increases throughout the year will keep you more accountable.

Don’t rule out failure

“It’s human nature to mess up,” says Eversley. This is where the goals you wrote down will come in handy. Rely on them to refocus and motivate you.

Tell someone

Share your resolution with a friend, family member or coworker. “Tell them what your goal is so they can keep you accountable,” says Eversley. Even better, “have somebody do it with you."

"You may not have the same goals, but you’re both focusing on something. It’s always easier when someone else is there with you.” If you don’t want to share but still want the motivation, try an anonymous online forum, like SparkPeople. “You can join those and you don’t feel like you’re being judged.”

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