2018 statistics showed that 45% of Americans and one third of Canadians choose getting healthy and losing weight as their New Year's resolution. Unfortunately, with all the good intentions, only a small fraction of us keep our resolutions.
In this article I will run through 6 tips that will get you back on track and on your way to reclaiming, and ACHIEVING your New Year's Resolutions.
1. Determine your WHY
Making the decision to make lifestyle changes is a big deal, but where many people fall short is not getting crystal clear on "why" they want to make the change. They may say they want to lose weight to look better, or to fit into a pair of skinny jeans, but this is where we fall short. We need to get to the emotional point where being successful stops the want and becomes a must. Pull out a pen and your journal or a piece of paper and answer the following questions to develop your "why".
- What will I have in my life once I achieve my goal?
- How much better will my life be once I hit my target?
- What will I lose out on if I fail or give up?
- What areas of my life will be improved?
- What are the top 3 things that I will gain once I reach my goal?
2. Make it a non negotiable
Once you've determined your 'why' it's time to make the commitment to yourself that you will not allow in distractions that prevent you from taking the time to prepare meals or exercise. Schedule it into your calendar and do whatever it takes to not deviate from the plan. We need to treat this time like a doctor's appointment or a staff meeting. Finding the time to meal prep, with two small boys is challenging. To ensure I have the time and space to prepare meals, my husband and I have made an agreement that for a few hours on Sunday he will occupy the kids, or take them out so I can cook. I suggest setting aside 2-3 hours on a Sunday to commit to meal prep. As you get more efficient and comfortable with the process you may find 1-2 hours is enough.
3. Set the game plan
This is where you would determine what meals you plan to prepare for the week, or how many days a week you will commit to exercise. I suggest starting small to avoid overwhelm. Plan to prepare meals for 2-3 days and choose known and easy recipes. Depending on which nutrition program you are on I suggest focusing on three food sources; a protein source (chicken, fish, tempeh, tofu, lean beef), a complex carbohydrate source (rice, potatoes, beans), and vegetables. Preparing these items in bulk will allow you to easily throw quick meals together. Pinterest has some great One Pan recipes that combine multiple food sources on one pan. If you decided you will get to the gym 4 days next week, refer to tip #2. Do not falter on your scheduled gym time!
4. Write it down
Heading off to the grocery store without your plan on paper is a recipe for forgetting something or overspending. As important as writing down your "why", making a shopping list is #2 on my list of importance in being successful. Go through the recipes you've chosen for half of your week's worth of meals and write down all the items you will need. Bring the list and a pen so you can check off the items as you go. I suggest the same thing for your workouts. Yes, showing up is key, but without a plan you could find yourself not making the most out of your time.
5. Choose nutrient dense, whole foods
Incorporating whole, nutrient dense foods will improve your physical performance and mental health and clarity. Choose foods as close to their natural state as possible. If you buy packaged food, be sure to read the food label and pick items with ingredients that you recognize! I also recommend choosing some frozen items for those days when you need something quick. Frozen spinach, cauliflower rice, avocado and berries are always in my freezer.
6. Share your goals
Studies have shown that publicly sharing your progress can actually help motivate you to accomplish your goals. Spend time with those who support your goals or those who have achieved what you want to. If you cannot find any positive support there are a TON of supportive groups available online.
Trying to run a marathon without a reason, a commitment, a game plan and a support team sounds crazy right? The same concept applies to achieving your health and fitness goals. Taking the time to layout your plan will lead to a much more successful and enjoyable experience.
Photo: Marc Guellerin