Sticking To Your New Year’s Resolutions

January 9, 2015

So, the clock struck midnight on Jan. 1 and you vowed to set a few new year’s resolutions.

How do you plan to stick to them?

For most people, upending a lifetime of habits doesn’t happen overnight. The key to sustainable resolutions is to make changes smaller and more gradual. If you’ve never lifted weights or exercised regularly before, suddenly going from nothing to five workouts a week and a strict fitness model diet isn’t going to work because you’ll end up hitting a wall and quitting. Resolutions should be both specific and measurable—studies show that setting broad, vague goals can lead to depression. Focus on winning each day. Start with 2-3 workouts per week with no changes to diet – only adjusting your diet once the workouts have become a habit.

Here are a few quick tips:

  • Write it down. Publicly stating your resolutions out in the open creates a far greater probability of success. You’ve not only committed to yourself but those around you.
  • Make a habit of it.¬†In a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, a team of researchers aimed to see just how long it takes to form a habit. The study examined the habits of 96 people over a 12-week period. Each person chose one new habit for the 12 weeks and reported each day on whether or not they did the behavior and how automatic the behavior felt.¬†On average, it took more than two months before a new behavior became automatic ‚Äì 66 days to be exact.
  • Find a mentor or support group. No one reaches their goals¬†on an island.¬†If you‚Äôre clueless in the gym or when it comes to diet, find someone who knows what they‚Äôre doing and piggyback off their knowledge. You can hire a personal trainer to hold your hand that first couple months, or find a friend or support group¬†to exercise with. If that involves a friendly wager, all the better. Motivation in group settings goes a long way. Custom Small Group Training may be the ticket for you and friends or family, which is a 5-10 class package on the Functional Training Zone tailored specifically to your group’s goals (athletic performance, fat loss etc.).

Mark Spencer

Rady JCC Director of Fitness & Health