Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Secret to Successful Resolutions (Part 1)

Did you have a New Year's Resolution? Well, if you're like most people (88 percent according to a GNC poll), you have at least one resolution. And, if you are like the majority of these promise-makers, your resolution is probably related to health and fitness. According to GNC, 55 percent promised to eat healthier, 50 percent resolved to exercise more, and 38 percent wanted to lose weight.

While resolutions are well-intentioned, unfortunately most people fail at keeping them. With all the hype surrounding these promises, it's easy to get caught up in it without really taking them seriously.

We live in a throw-away society and even our resolutions, I'm afraid, are not immune. However, especially for promises that include improving our health, it's in our best interest not to take them lightly.

So, what's the secret to successful resolutions? While you can't wave a magic wand and make your resolution come true, there are some easy steps to take that will make easier to fulfill your promise to yourself.  Today we will look at 6 of the 12 tips:

1. Choose an obtainable goal. Resolving to look like a super model (ooops, sorry if I blew your illusions!) is not realistic for the majority of us, but promising to include daily physical activity in our lives is very possible.

2.  Avoid choosing a resolution that you've been unsuccessful at achieving year after year. This will only set you up for failure, frustration and disappointment. If you are still tempted to make a promise that you've made before, then try altering it. For example, instead of stating that you are going to lose 15kg, try promising to eat healthier and increase your weekly exercise.

3. Create a game plan. Write a comprehensive plan. All successful businesses start with a business plan that describes their mission and specifics on how they will achieve it. Write your own personal plan and you'll be more likely to succeed as well.

4. Break it down and make it less intimidating. Rather than one BIG end goal, dissect it into smaller pieces. Set several smaller goals to achieve throughout the year that will help you to reach the ultimate goal. Then, even if you aren't able to reach your final goal, you will have many smaller, but still significant, achievements along the way. For example, if your goal is to complete a 10K race, your smaller goals could be running a 5K in less than 30 minutes, or, adding upper and lower body strength training to increase your muscular endurance or running 2km with a personal best completion time.

5. Make contingency options: Don't assume sticking to your plan will be smooth sailing. Plan on hitting bumps along the resolution road and be prepared with specific ways to overcome them. What will keep you from skipping your workout or stop you from having a cigarette? This may mean seeking help from family or a professional, writing in a journal, etc.

And, the last tip today and one of the most important ones:6. Give it time: Most experts agree that it takes about 21 days to create a habit and six months for it to actually become a part of your daily life.

Tomorrow...6 more tips to help you succeed this year!

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