Of all the people who make New Year’s resolutions, only about five percent manage to keep them. Yep, a whopping 95 percent of new Year’s resolutions FAIL and usually before the end of January.
It doesn’t matter how motivated you are on January 1st, seeing things through to the end can be tough.
Avoid becoming another New Year’s statistic by using these motivation-boosting strategies.
1. SMART goals
Applying the acronym SMART to your fitness goals makes your resolutions more concrete and quantifiable, so you are more likely to reach them.
S – specific. It’s not enough to say you want to get fit or lose weight; be more specific. How much weight, how much fitter? Giving yourself a clearly-defined target to aim for significantly increases your chances of success.
M – measurable. Make sure you can put a figure to your goal and then track it. Seeing your scale weight change week-by-week, for example, is very motivating.
A – achievable. Your goal should be challenging but realistic. If you want to improve your fitness but do not currently run, it’s crazy to make your goal running the next local marathon. Make sure your goal will stretch you but not break you.
R – recorded. Once you have your goal, write it down to give it substance and gravity. Share your goal on social media or with your friends to add peer pressure.
T – time bound. Adding a deadline helps to create focus and urgency. Open-ended goals are seldom achieved. If your goal is big, set some short term “stepping stone” goals to achieve along the way. Ideally, you should reach your goals in 3-6 months.
Also, consider the resources that you have available and any barriers that you may encounter along the way. List your resources and make sure you have everything you need to make progress. Also, list any potential barriers and make sure you have strategies in place to overcome them.
2. Create a plan
Once you have a goal, you need to create a plan to achieve it. This might be a diet or a workout plan. In many instances, it will be both. Like your goal, your plan should also be smart in that it is specific to your goal, you can stick to it, and that you have ways of progressing and developing it over time. If you cannot create your own plan, find one on the internet or ask a personal trainer to help you create it.
3. Take before and after pictures
If your goal is weight loss, track your progress with before and after pictures. Your success may not show on the scales. If you lose fat and gain muscle, you might not lose much weight at all. Before and after pictures clearly show the progress that is not revealed by your scale reading. Also, that before picture is a stark reminder of what you are working to get away from.
4. Make a bet
Nobody likes to lose money, and you can use this phenomenon to help keep you motivated. For example, if you know you have trouble sticking to your gym workout plan, give a friend £200 to hold for you. Explain that, for every workout you complete, they must give you £20 of your money back but, for every agreed workout you miss, they get to keep £20 of your money. You’ll need to send them a selfie each time you hit the gym but, with £200 at stake, you are much less likely to skip your workouts.
5. Start a food photo journal
Eating for weight loss and health can be challenging – especially if you eat alone with no one to tell you that you must stick to your diet. Taking and posting pictures of your food makes you more nutritionally accountable, so you are less likely to break your diet.
Commit to taking and posting a picture of every meal you eat on your Facebook page. That way, your meals will be scrutinised by your friends who will, without fail, soon point out if you are eating unhealthily.
6. Do it for charity
Your motivation levels will multiply if you can tie your fitness goals to a charity e.g. get fit enough to do a sponsored run, or get people to sponsor you to lose weight e.g. £1.00 per kilo. This is a very positive form of external pressure that will reduce your likelihood of dropping out. In addition to doing yourself good, you’ll be helping other people, and that’s very motivating too.
7. Don’t make too many resolutions at the same time
Many people make long lists of New Year’s resolutions and then end up not achieving any of them. Trying to change too many things at once can be overwhelming and, as soon as one resolution falls by the wayside, the others will soon follow.
Instead of trying to achieve all your resolutions at the same time, prioritize them, and only move down your list when you feel the previous item has sufficient momentum and is maintainable with minimal effort.
New Year’s resolutions are a great way to kick start the year and provide you with training and nutritional focus. But, breaking those resolutions can be very demotivating. Avoid making resolutions you can’t stick to by putting these seven strategies into practice.