How to Sustain our Resolve

By Chrissie Kaufmann

Many of us are formulating impressive health resolutions for this fresh new year of 2019. These goals usually involve doing more constructive things (like jogging and eating vegetables) and less risky things (like binge-watching Netflix while eating several bags of potato chips).

We know that exercising, eating right and managing our weight will help us reduce our risk of heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. We will also feel happier and stronger after several months of regular physical activity.

But let’s face it: making lifestyle changes is difficult. How do we sustain our resolve past the first few weeks of January?

Here are five winning tips for staying on track in 2019:

Break it down 

To succeed, we must transform large goals into mini-goals that are both measurable and attainable. For example, if we want to lose 20 pounds this year, we could break this down and say that we will lose one pound every two weeks.

Notice that this mini-goal is measurable (involves numbers) and attainable (one-half pound per week). We should consult healthcare and fitness professionals for help in determining what is attainable for each of us.

Write it down

Next, using a calendar or notepad (either digital or paper), we should record our goals, our action plan, and our results.

In our weight loss example, our action plan should include exercising regularly. We would use our calendar to write down each exercise session, set reminders to weigh ourselves every two weeks, and then record our results.

Keep in mind that our action plan includes everything we plan to do (or not do!) to meet our mini-goal. Posting these calendars and notes in visible places will help remind us of the next step to take. 

Use positive self-talk

 Are you human? Me, too. Therefore, we can expect a bit less than perfection when it comes to following through with our action plan. Let’s expect setbacks and decide today to be positive towards ourselves tomorrow.

Think about it: if we lose 10 pounds this year instead of 20, would that be a failure? Of course not! When we miss an exercise session or overeat horribly, we can forgive ourselves and move back to our action plan.

Find like-minded people 

Let’s seek out others who will encourage us to meet our goals and who will help us enjoy the journey! Fitness classes and sports leagues can make exercise more fun. Group support programs for weight loss help us stay on track and offer instruction and accountability.

Celebrate successes 

When we meet our mini-goals, we should celebrate! These are the stepping stones that we will use to climb to the top of our personal mountain of success.

Using these five strategies, we can sustain our personal resolve for a healthier lifestyle throughout 2019. Have a Happy (and Healthy) New Year!

Chrissie Kaufmann is a Group Fitness Instructor at the Niles-Buchanan YMCA.