The most common New Year’s resolutions are exercise more and lose weight.
The most commonly broken New Year’s resolutions are the same exercising more and losing weight.
How do you keep those resolutions past January 31, 2023? One way is to not make resolutions. Try self-motivating affirmations instead—I am strong. I am confident. I am the best I can be today.
However, if making a list of resolutions on January 1, keep it short, simple and authentic. According to the American Psychological Association, the more realistic the goal, the better your chance of keeping it throughout the year until it becomes a healthy behavior.
Here are some tips for success with resolutions beyond January.
Set specific goals. Get fit is a lofty goal; it can also be overwhelming. Go to the gym three times a week is specific and manageable. Start new exercise routines by taking small steps and being consistent. Block time on your calendar for exercise. Set an alarm on your phone or watch.
Change one behavior at a time. A list of a dozen resolutions may set you up for failure. Keep the list short to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Unhealthy behaviors develop over time. Replacing those with healthy alternatives also requires time. If you tend to binge watch Netflix or Hulu on the weekends, resolve to have television-free Saturday afternoons. Instead, go outside and garden or do yard work. Gardening incorporates all four types of exercise—endurance, strength, balance and flexibility. Along with physical benefits, it can also improve mental health.
Recruit exercise buddies. Most of your inner circle probably set the same resolution to exercise more. Rather than going solo, share your goals with friends, family or coworkers. Invite them to join you for a yoga class, weekend hike or nightly walks around the neighborhood. Set group goals and celebrate successes together.
Avoid the guilt trip. Don’t beat yourself up if you skipped your exercise routine for a couple of days or even the entire two weeks leading into Fat Tuesday. Exercise is not about perfection; it’s about practice. Get back on track and keep moving.
Do what you enjoy. Forcing yourself into a physical activity that you don’t enjoy can be counterproductive to keeping the resolution. If just putting on running shoes is stressful, then don’t run. Ride a bike. Go dancing. Swim. Play soccer or jump rope with your kids. Take an exercise class. The Fitness Center, located in the Thibodaux Regional Wellness Center, offers hundreds of classes a month. From yoga, water dance, cycling and Zumba to PiYo, Body Pump, P90X and many others. Try different classes to see which ones you enjoy. If you enjoy it, you are more likely to participate regularly.
Create a playlist. Stay motivated to keep exercising by making it fun. One way is by listening to music while you move. A playlist of high-energy music helps increase endurance, improve your mood and even help prevent age-related cognitive loss. Research also shows that when listening to high-tempo music while exercising, people tend to think they’re putting in less effort during the workout.
Take a walk. Daily walking increases metabolism to help maintain healthy weight and prevent muscle loss. According to the American Heart Association, it can also lower risks of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer, as well as improve your mental health. Start by setting a goal to walk for 30 minutes a day and see where it leads.
Make anti-resolutions. Instead of setting a resolution to start something new, think about something you want to stop doing in 2023. If you regularly set an alarm for 5 a.m. to start checking emails, get up and work out rather than starting your workday. Or set the clock for an hour later and get more sleep, the ultimate self-care goal. Your body, mind and overall well-being will thank you.