Happy 2017 Everyone! New Year’s Day is right around the corner and you know what that means? That’s right, resolutions, new starts, and new goals! Many people set January 1st as the day they start their new diets, new exercise regimen, and other new lifestyle changes. My personal resolutions are to read 10 new books this year and pay off one major financial debt! For some, this exciting fresh start quickly fades away during January and February for many reasons. Common reasons for failed commitment to resolutions include time management, expenses, and lack of set plan. Below we have a list of tips and tools to help you stick to your New Year’s Resolution, whether it’s to lose weight, health healthier, or even stick to that budget.

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Set Realistic Goals

Many advertisements this time of year promise weight loss of 30 pounds in the first 30 days, or 12 inches in the first week. Please note that if a shake, meal guide, or fitness program makes claims that are too good to be true, they likely are. Severe calorie deficit can result in rapid weight loss, however, many of these plans are not long-term solutions and can result in more weight gained back due to deprivation. Realistic, healthy weight loss amounts to 1-2 pound weight loss per week, which equals to about 500 calorie deficit daily. ALL new exercise programs should be discussed with your doctor prior to starting, but some extreme “shred” programs many be too much for novice athletes and can lead to disappointment and defeat if too challenging. Consider a program with gradual progress, such as a couch to 5K or sessions with a personal trainer that you can stick with long-term.

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Set Measureable Goals

It’s great to start with a general idea of positive changes to make, like “I want to eat healthier” or “I need to save money”, but a plan makes it happen. Having a target with a realistic timeline will keep you focused on the goal. With that said, instead of just wanting to eat healthier, set a goal such as including a vegetable a each meal, which in turn will hopefully help you meal plan and improve your eating overall. Remember, small gradual changes lead to long-term goals.

Accountability

It’s hard to hold yourself accountable on your goals when it’s easy to find any excuse to not go to the gym today or buy that shirt because it’s on sale. Having a partner or friend that is aware of your goals can help keep you accountable. They can also help you define your barriers to change and be an outside source of motivation.

Tools

We live in an age of technology that can effortlessly help you achieve your goals. There are so many apps available for motivation for fitness, food tracking, water consumption, giving, and budgeting. Check out some of our favorites below (bonus, they are all free!):

Every Dollar — Budgeting

Wooftrax — Charity app that donates money to animal shelters every time to track your walks.

Charity Miles — App that donates to the organization of your choice during your run, walk and bike

My Fitness Pal — fitness, calorie, and weight tracker.

Couch 5K (C25K) — Couch to 5K app

Map My Run/ Map My Run Trainer — Run training app great for helping achieve your running goals!

 

Overcoming Barriers

Remember the actual “why” of the goal. Personally when it comes to fitness my biggest motivator for sticking to a routine is to instill good habits now to benefit me later in life. Life is always going to be busy and things will always come up, so I try my hardest to remember that when it seems too hard to plan workouts (having a 30 minutes workout routine also helps too). Being aware of these barriers can help you strategize a plan of action beforehand and help you be more prepared.

Long-term Success

In reality, it may take you a few tries to find a routine that works for you, especially when making changes to diet and exercise. The important thing is to find something that works for you in the long run, and small, gradual changes in your day to day life should help you achieve your goals.