(BPT) – Every year, many Americans resolve to change or improve something in their lives in the coming months. Too often, their January fervor to take control fizzles by February. But a new approach to managing resolutions could make 2015 the year you achieve meaningful, lasting change.
Paul Kriegler, assistant program manager of nutrition at Life Time – The Health Way of Life Company, offers these six tips to help you make a commitment for the new year and capitalize on the energy surrounding the change in the calendar.
Aspiring to “lose weight” isn’t an effective resolution. Instead, Kriegler says, you should focus on a course of actions rather than the outcome such actions produce. “Focus on making small, realistic commitments to goals you can achieve along the way,” he says. “Lose five pounds of fat over the next three months is a much better – and more achievable resolution, plus you’ll be able to track your progress and set new goals once you achieve it.”
Kick off your commitment in a healthy way
Demonstrate your commitment by kicking off the new year with an activity that will help you reach your goals. This year, commit to being one of the million people logging a workout at Life Time during its first-ever Commitment Day Festival and Fun Run Jan. 1-4. Walk your first 5K with your friends or family on Jan. 1 at the Commitment Day 5K, bring the kids for some football-inspired fitness fun or a winter pool party in the indoor pool, or even try a tri with a 60-minute indoor workout.
Resolve to take daily action – no matter how simplistic it is
“Most of us bite off more than we can chew and forget about what’s not within our direct control,” says Kriegler. “Life is busy – everyone has demands to meet and responsibilities often prevent us from carrying out our grand intentions of turning our lifestyles on end by working out, sleeping eight hours each night or perfectly portioning our home-prepped meals.” Instead of setting grand plans, resolve to string together 365 days of tiny battles won and see what happens. Chances are, if you’re constantly building up small wins each day, you’ll stay motivated and even find room to do more than the minimal effort you’d envisioned.
Expect to fail sometimes
If you keep things simple, an occasional failure shouldn’t be a problem. In fact, it should seem so easy to get back on the right track that you almost have to laugh at yourself for falling off in the first place. Set behavior goals that appear easy but are effective enough to make progress even if you only hit the target 80 percent of the time. Kriegler says that missing one day of sticking to your plan shouldn’t ruin your desire to continue, especially if the miss is an expected part of the process.
Eat well to live well
The types of food you eat can be as important as, if not more important than, the calories they contain. This year, commit to really thinking about the foods you eat, every time you eat. Keep a food journal for a week and write down everything that you eat and drink as well as how much and make a point to note how you feel. Be honest with yourself about those occasions when you may choose to eat something that isn’t in the interest of your healthy eating plan. When you do an honest assessment of your eating patterns, you will likely see where moderation can work for you and where it can’t.
Take others with you on your course of action
If you get down on yourself when you can’t stick to your intentions, Kriegler suggests adding to your support system. “Using a group or partner approach is known to increase adherence to exercise habits and healthier eating, but it also makes the process more enjoyable and more fun with the shared intention,” he says. Not only can your resolutions foster better health and happiness in your life, but they can inspire positive energy and change in others’ habits as well.