Tips to Help Keep Your New Year's Fitness Resolutions

Losing weight. Exercising more. Eating better. Getting more sleep. Being healthier.

New Year’s resolutions can take many forms, and it’s never a bad idea to set goals to improve your life. However, one key sticking point for most resolutions is that it’s tough to keep them.

Statistics show that fewer than eight percent of people who make New Years’ resolutions manage to keep them for the entire year. Another study revealed up to 80 percent of people have stopped working on their resolutions as early as February.

With this in mind the fitness team at Harbin Clinic has some tips on ways to pick and keep realistic resolutions.

Set attainable goals

Whether it’s to lose a lot of body weight, to tone up your muscles or to improve your 5K run time, it’s great to have goals. But everyone needs to realize to reach the big goals, they first have to hit the smaller ones.

“Start off by setting several smaller goals,” Brian Price, an exercise physiologist, says. “Achieving those smaller goals helps build confidence and momentum toward reaching the larger objective.”

“Sometimes people set such lofty expectations that they are just setting themselves up for failure. And when they can’t reach those goals, they give up,” Price says.

Exercise and eat right

Advertisements and even some television shows bombard us with claims of massive weight loss in only a few weeks. But the reality is losing weight isn’t easy or fast.

“Don’t buy into all the weight-loss hype,” Price says. “Losing a quick five or six pounds is possible early on but a lot of time you’re just losing water weight. It takes a lot of hard work, exercise and changes in your diet to really lose change your body or physique.”

Exercise helps with weight loss, but diet also plays a vital role.

“Getting to a healthy weight is a balance of diet and exercising. These two must go hand in hand to get results,” Marcy Pugliese, a Harbin Clinic dietitian, says.

Diet changes that work

Starting on a new eating plan isn’t easy and can often lead to trouble. Instead of latching on to the newest diet craze, try making simple changes to your eating habits.

“A quick way to cut out extra calories is to stop drinking or limit soda and sweet tea and replace those drinks with water,” Pugliese says. “It helps you stay hydrated and helps eliminate some extra calories.”

Instead of switching to a brand new diet, Pugliese says it’s easier to stay on your current diet but to work on portion control.

“Changing eating habits is never easy. If you start eliminating all the foods you like, the temptation to cheat might be too much,” she says. “Try cutting down on your portion sizes. That way you’re taking in fewer calories but also get to continue to eat the foods you enjoy.”

Limiting excuses and finding motivation

Planning out meals ahead of time and making sure you have a bag with workout clothes either at the office or in your car can help keep your eating and fitness plans on track.

It’s also a good idea to find motivating items to ensure you keep working toward your goal or even a friend or two to help keep you going.

“I’ve had clients who use a picture of themselves when they were in better shape and work to getting back to that look. Others pick a favorite piece of clothing they want to be able to fit into comfortably again,” Price says. “Whatever it is, try to find a couple of things to help keep you motivated.”

Be prepared

Having an extra set of workout clothes also helps.

“I always keep an extra bag with work-out clothes around, because I know one day I’m going to be in a rush and forget mine,” Price says. “If I have the extra clothes, it eliminates an excuse to not work out that day.”

Celebrate along the way

Setting smaller more attainable goals is a big step, but it’s also important to reward yourself for attaining those goals.

“When you reach some of the goals, celebrate it. That helps keep you motivated and on track to reach the longer-term goals,” Price says. “It may not be the big goal, but if you reward yourself for hitting the little ones, it helps give motivation to keep going and trying for the bigger goals.”

Harbin Clinic wants to help you on the way to reaching your News Year’s resolutions.