Now that it’s almost March, that shiny New Year’s resolution you so enthusiastically embarked on a couple of months ago might have lost its sparkle. So how do you bring life back into your plan now that the initial thrill has worn off? Instead of letting your good intentions fizzle out again this year, make 2015 the year when you actually follow through with what you’d planned. All it takes is a little bit of self-reflection and a few tweaks to your routine to make a sustainable (and fun!) game plan to help you revive your resolutions and ultimately reach your goals.
Get back to basics.
People often bite off more than they can chew when it comes to New Year’s resolutions. Are you really going to overhaul your diet, start working out for an hour a day, pay off every cent of your debt and learn fluent French this year? Probably not! Pick just a few doable goals and break them up into smaller goals. Small changes can have a bigger impact than you might think, and you can always add more goals later if you master your initial ones early on.
Here are some basic ideas to get you started:
Exercise for at least 30 minutes, 3-5 days per week
Swap out junk food for healthier snacks a few days per week (fruit, raw veggies with hummus or a Quest Bars are all good options!)
Track your food daily to see how much you’re really eating
Make a point to get to bed by a certain time every night
Aim to eat at least five servings of fruits and veggies every day
Re-work your routine.
It’s important to switch up your food and fitness routine every so often to keep your body guessing and your brain interested! Instead of slogging away on a machine at the gym every day, try out a home workout DVD, or plot out a new-to-you running route. You might be surprised at how much small changes like these can re-kindle your motivation to reach your goals.
Grab a buddy (any buddy)!
It’s much easier to justify skipping a workout here and there when you don’t have anyone to hold you accountable. Find a fitness buddy who shares similar goals, and hit the gym together. It’s much harder to push that “snooze” button when you have someone else waiting on you! Just make sure your partner is just as committed—or even more committed–than you are. Fitness buddies can backfire if you enable each other to skimp on your healthy habits.
Update your playlist.
If your workout playlist is feeling stale, it can make it even harder to get through a tough workout. Update your playlist at least once a month with fresh tunes to spark your motivation. You can even structure your playlist to play exactly what you need to hear during certain points of your workout.
Bust your food rut.
Gravitating toward the same few healthy meals can be an easy way to keep things simple and stay on track, but some people need a little more variety to help keep their interest while trying to eat better. Break out of your food rut and treat yourself to a fun new healthy cookbook, or check out one of the recipe collections on SparkRecipes for some fresh ideas.
Create fun incentives.
Many people have trouble sticking to long-term goals because they crave instant gratification. Creating incentives for yourself will help you stick with your healthy lifestyle for the long haul by giving you little rewards along the way to your big end goal. Here are a few incentive ideas to get you started:
- Every time you overcome a temptation to eat junk food or to skip a workout, put a dollar in a jar. At the end of each month, buy yourself a small (non-food) treat!
- Keep two jars in a place where you see them every day. Make one of them your “pounds to lose jar” and fill it with small stones, each stone representing one pound that you’d like to lose. Every time you lose a pound, move a stone over to the second “pounds lost” jar. This can be a surprisingly motivating visual!
- Only allow yourself to watch your favorite television shows as a reward for completing your workout for the day. Alternatively, tell yourself that you can’t watch television unless you’re working out while you’re watching!
- Create your own reward system. If you like games and/or checking things off a to-do list, a more in-depth, personalized reward system could be just the thing you need to jump-start your motivation.
- When you tell others about your goals, you are more likely to follow through with them to save face. Make a note to tell your friends and loved ones about the goals you would like to achieve this year. You can do this individually in person, or make announcements on your social media accounts for a broader reach. For some people, having just one person to check in with every day about his or her goal progress is enough to make them think twice before reaching for that extra cookie.
- Hire a personal trainer, health coach or nutritionist to help you with planning, accountability, motivation and education toward reaching your health related goals.
Lean on technology.
When it comes to reaching your goals, technology is your friend! There are so many apps out there these days to help you set and reach almost any type of goal. From food trackers, to productivity monitors, to GPS-enabled fitness monitors, there is something out there for everyone who has a goal to reach. Explore your phone’s app store for the latest and greatest tools.
Re-evaluate your resolutions.
This one might be the most important strategy of all. Sometimes, we make New Year’s resolutions that just aren’t realistic. Take a step back and look at your resolutions. Are they realistic goals for you at this point in your life? Are you biting off more than you can chew at one time? Are you making these resolutions for yourself, or to please someone else? If you’re starting to have doubts about whether or not your resolutions are a good fit for you, it’s perfectly fine to revise them. You are an ever-changing person, and sometimes, your goals and priorities will change, too. If your resolution is no longer serving you, feel free to scrap it and shift your focus to something else that’s a better fit.
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