The Secret to Keep Your Healthy New Year’s Resolutions

It’s the New Year and with the start of 2012 comes New Year’s resolutions. In fact, a study by the University of Scranton found that 45% of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions.

The study also found that the #1 resolution for 2012 is to lose weight.

Why Many New Year’s Resolutions Fail

You may have the best of intentions when you make your New Year resolution to lose weight or get healthier, but there is a good chance that your resolutions may fail.

Some of the top reasons weight loss resolutions fail include:

  • You focus only on outcomes, not inputs.
  • Your resolutions are too vague.
  • You think you only need to be motivated to succeed.
  • Your resolution is not realistic.
  • You forget that reaching your goal will require dedication and hard work.

Plan for Success

You can create New Year’s resolutions – or goals at any time of the year – that you can achieve.

Step 1: Be SMART

SMART goals are:

  • Specific – Your resolutions should be specific. Instead of saying, “I want to be healthier,” state, “I want to exercise 3 times a week.”
  • Measurable – Your resolutions also need to be measurable – otherwise how will you know you achieved them. “I want to lose 10 pounds,” is measurable. “I want to lose weight,” is not.
  • Attainable – When it comes to resolutions, dream big, but don’t set goals that are so big that you can’t reach them.
  • Realistic – Don’t put expectations on yourself that you cannot meet. For example, healthy weight loss is typically one to two pounds per week.
  • Timely – Make sure your goals have a timeframe. “I want to join a gym,” is a nice idea, but there is no sense of urgency and your resolution can be pushed off. Instead, create a goal that includes a deadline.
Step 2: Focus on What You Can Do

When you want to lose weight, it is very easy to become focused on losing X amount of pounds. However, the human body is complex and you might not be able to control the rate of your weight loss.

Instead, focus on what you do have control over: the inputs. Instead of focusing on the amount of weight you have lost, focus on what you can do. Create a resolution to “eat 1,500 calories per day and exercise three times a week.” That way, if the weight does not fall off as quickly as you had hoped, you can still see that you are making progress.

Step 3: Get Some Help and Support

A study by researchers at the University of Leeds found that you are more likely to stick to a New Year’s resolution if you enlist the help of friends, family, and colleagues. The more people you involve in your goal, the more likely you are to stick to it.

Tell people about your New Year’s resolution and get some of them even more involved. In fact, if you can find a “workout buddy,” you will be more likely to stick to your workout goals.