6 steps to making your New Year’s resolutions stick

January 05 2015

It’s the time of year when people begin to feel sluggish and groggy, where we would rather eat a celery stick than pick at the unwanted chocolates out of the bottom of the tin. We’re so very over chocolate right now.

Sound familiar? If you overdid things during the Christmas break then perhaps it is time to start your New Year’s resolution of leading a healthy lifestyle today.

The New Year is a fantastic time to choose self-improvement goals, but sometimes it is hard to stay on track. With so many new things that we want to achieve we can often put unnecessary pressure on ourselves, which can lead us to lose motivation completely and give up.

A huge amount of people pledge to become healthier as a New Year’s resolution but fail to stick to their plan long term, with just 3% of people successfully adhering to their new fitness programme over the year, as our recent infographic depicted.

How do you turn a New Year’s resolution into a New Year’s lifestyle?

1) Set yourself SMART goals

New Year’s resolutions will be much more manageable if you make them sensible. Creating resolutions that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely (SMART) will be easier to work towards and track your progress.

As the acronym suggests, you shouldn’t make any resolutions that aren’t realistic or that you cannot achieve. For example, if you are familiar with running you might want to try and run 5km in under 30 minutes within 2 months.

You can always reassess these goals once you’ve achieved them, breaking them up into smaller goals will encourage you to continue with your fitness plan over the course of the year and your confidence will grow as you meet each achievement.

2) Keep a schedule

It can be hard to implement a new fitness routine if you have a jam-packed schedule. Like many other things in your life, you need to make the time for fitness.

Assess your schedule and see where exercise fits into it. While you don’t need to dedicate 24/7 to a decent workout, you should allow yourself a good hour a few days a week to achieve the best results from your workouts.

Familiarising yourself with allocated exercise slots can encourage you to stick to it as it becomes part of your daily routine, instead of only working out when you feel like it.

3) Don’t go it alone

Support from others can make a world of difference when trying something new. If you feel like you might be inclined to make an early exit from your resolutions then try to encourage friends and family to join you on your health quest.

Turn working out into a sociable activity by inviting friends to come to the gym with you, join a group exercise class like Zumba or simply find a running buddy.

If you are part of a couple, a great way to stick to your health goals is to become accountable for each other. You’ll feel guilty sneaking those biscuits if your partner has cooked a dinner packed full of super food delights for you both. If you’re struggling to find ways to spend time with one another, then exercising together might hold the key to a happy relationship.

4) Mix it up

You wouldn’t wear the same clothes day in day out, so why should you stick to the same healthy routine?

Just because you are mixing things up doesn’t mean that you aren’t sticking to your New Year’s resolutions. In fact, altering the kinds of activity you do is more likely to help you to maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you normally hit the treadmill 3 times a week, switch your workout around by taking a class, adding some weights into your routine or using the pool.

Who said healthy food has to be bland? There are thousands of delicious and easy-to-make healthy recipes out there to create amazing dishes. Healthier foods typically concentrate on herbs and spices to create flavours, as opposed to tastes we find naturally appetising such as fat and sugar, which means they are generally more flavoursome than unhealthy processed food. Try out a new fruit or vegetable every week and discover your new favourite taste.

5) Invest in some new gear

While the clothes you wear when you workout shouldn't affect your performance, the right getup can do wonders for your self esteem.

If you are lacking the confidence to keep motivated then consider investing in some amazing gym gear to inspire you to workout. One of the best motivators is to put on your gym clothes then decide if you want to go to the gym - putting the kit on is half the battle so chances are you will workout!

We understand that some of the clothing can seem expensive but it really is worth paying the money for a good pair of trainers that will see you through training for the entire year - or maybe even longer. If you are feeling like the newbie in a baggy t-shirt and shorts, then a quick transformation to a brand new pair of lycra leggings and some amazing neon trainers can make you feel like a professional in no time.

6) Remember that we’ve all been there

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Apologies for whipping out the cheesy proverb, but remember that everybody had to start somewhere. While it may seem tough at the beginning it will become a lot easier as time goes on and you stick with it. Your fitness will rapidly improve and you will start to smash each of your individual goals.

Similarly, if you are a regular gym-goer, try to quell the eye rolling when you come across someone at the beginning of their fitness journey and remember what it was like when you first started out.

The key to making your New Year’s resolutions stick is to strike the perfect balance between exercise and healthy eating, and implementing it with the rest of your lifestyle. Don’t push yourself too hard, you don’t have to go to the gym every day to get brilliant results. Allow yourself to have the occasional day off and see how much longer you keep your routine up than those who never take a break.

Need any more reasons to get healthy? You can get fit for a fiver this January at DW Fitness Clubs.