Make 2019 the year you take control of your health and fitness! We’ve all made resolutions that didn’t stick and ended up back on the resolution list the following year. It’s not that we didn’t have what it took to succeed, but more likely that we didn’t clearly define our goals or properly prepare for them. Use the tips below to set yourself up for success and ensure your fitness resolution doesn’t fizzle out a month down the road.

Attach a Number and Deadline to Your Resolution

Get really, really specific. Vague goals such as “workout more,” “lose weight,” or “live a healthier lifestyle” are recipes for failure because they can’t be measured and there is no end. If you’re not working towards a specific number, you can never feel the sense of accomplishment that goals are meant to deliver. Here are some examples of specific fitness goals:

– Lose 10 pounds
– Lose 3% body fat
– Deadlift 200 lbs
– Run a 10k
– Do 10 pull-ups
– Hold an inverted yoga pose for 20 seconds
– Run an 8-minute mile

You should also set an attainable deadline that will keep you motivated. If you give yourself all year, you’ll likely procrastinate and eventually forget altogether. It’s better to set a 30-90 day deadline and once you hit that goal, set a new one for the next 30-90 days.

Write Out a Plan and Hang It Somewhere You’ll See Every Day

A goal without a plan is just a wish. If your goal is to lose 10 pounds, write out an exercise schedule, including which days you’ll exercise and for how long. Then develop (or download) a meal plan and write out your grocery list. Decide which day of the week you’ll meal prep and block out a specific timeframe on your schedule.

If your plan involves cutting out sugar or alcohol, and you know that sounds unrealistic to do long-term, remember you only need to commit to it for 30-90 days right now. Then you can re-evaluate your priorities.

Be Realistic and Start Small

If you never workout, don’t start with a goal that involves working out 6 days a week. You’ll get burnt out before the first week is up. Instead, set a smaller, more attainable goal that won’t overwhelm you. Start with 30 minutes 3 days a week while you build your strength and stamina up. Once that becomes a habit, add another day or an additional 15 minutes to the 3 days. It’s important to build a solid foundation first.

Studies show it takes (on average) 66 days to form a habit. So if you stick with your smaller goals for 2-3 months, it will be much easier to keep it going and accomplish bigger goals.

Find An Accountability Buddy or Join a Group

There’s power in numbers. Surrounding yourself with people working towards similar goals will help keep you motivated and disciplined. If you don’t have someone in your circle of friends or family who will hold you accountable, consider joining a local class or club, or even a group online or through a fitness app. Activity trackers can also help give you a little boost of motivation each day.

Reward Your Small Accomplishments

Keep yourself motivated by deciding on a reward for small accomplishments along the way. Going back to the example at the beginning, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds, reward yourself for every 2 pounds you lose with something fun and exciting, but that won’t set you back. For example, new yoga pants, a night out dancing with friends, tickets to the next game of your favorite sports team, a cooking class, etc. It’s important to decide the rewards and milestones in advance though, so you always know what you’re working toward.

The key takeaway here is to set a specific, measurable resolution, and break your “big picture” goal into smaller 30-90 day goals to make it easier and more attainable to accomplish. And don’t forget to celebrate!

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