Tips for Crushing Your Healthy New Year's Resolutions
New Year's Eve: the night of glittering fireworks, jubilant celebrations, and, of course, resolutions. As the clock strikes midnight, we promise ourselves that this year, things will be different. This year, we'll become stronger, healthier, and “better” versions of ourselves.
But, let's face it, sticking to fitness New Year's resolutions can be as challenging as trying to touch your toes after leg day. However, don't toss your goals into the "failed resolutions" pile just yet.
With the right strategies — and a dash of determination — you can turn those lofty fitness aspirations into resounding success. Let’s step into the new year with gusto, armed with tips, tricks, and science-backed advice to help you conquer your fitness New Year's resolutions and make 2024 your fittest year yet!
Setting Realistic Goals
Before you sprint toward the finish line, it's essential to map out the route. Setting realistic fitness goals is the foundation of a successful journey. And they should also contribute to a better, fuller life.
“Try to make resolutions that make your life, happiness, and upcoming year richer and more meaningful,” says Kylie Crowe, in-house nutritionist for Fit Body. “These can be things like ‘try a new restaurant with a friend once a month’ or ‘read 6 books this year.’
“Oftentimes resolutions are what we really dislike about ourselves or our current life, but it’s perfectly okay to make resolutions based on fun and experiences!”
1. Be Specific
Vague resolutions like "I want to get fit" won't cut it. Instead, be specific about what you want to achieve. For instance, "I want to run a 10k by June" or "I aim to lose 10 pounds in the next three months."
“And if you have weight-related goals, I strongly urge you to make more specific fitness-related goals as well, as we can often get discouraged by the scale,” Crowe says.
“These can be things like ‘do 10 full push-ups without stopping’ or ‘run a mile under 9 minutes.’ These are tangible, measurable goals that also show progress of increasing strength, endurance, and fitness — which a scale does not show!”
2. Make Them Measurable
Your goals should be quantifiable so you can track your progress. This allows you to celebrate small victories along the way, keeping you motivated.
3. Set Deadlines
A timeline creates a sense of urgency and accountability. It prevents procrastination and helps you stay on track.
“But never be afraid to set your resolutions on YOUR timeline,” Crowe says. “There is no reason why you can’t decide to give yourself an extra month and start them on February 1st instead.”
4. Keep It Real
While reaching for the stars is admirable, make sure your goals are achievable given your current fitness level, resources, and schedule.
“If the holidays are overwhelming for you and your family, it might not be reasonable to set big goals for yourself so close to the holidays or while you are still spending extra time traveling or with loved ones,” Crowe says.
5. Write Them Down
“You don’t have to have a fancy way of tracking your resolutions, but I do recommend writing them down in the Notes section of your phone and tracking your progress occasionally,” Crowe says.
“Writing your goals down and referring back to them will help you have a higher rate of success than keeping your ideas stuck in your brain only.”
In fact, a January 2020 study in Contemporary Educational Psychology suggests that people who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them. So, grab a journal and pen those resolutions!
Consistency is Key
Now that you've set your goals, let's discuss the secret sauce to success: consistency.
1. Start Slow and Steady
Don't rush into an intense workout regimen or a strict diet overnight. Gradual changes are more sustainable and less overwhelming.
2. Create a Schedule
Set a workout schedule that fits your life and stick to it. A review in the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows that regular exercise is key to long-term success.
3. Mix It Up
Variety is not just the spice of life; it's the secret sauce to keeping workouts exciting. Experiment with different exercises and activities to prevent boredom.
4. Buddy Up
Research in the October 2012 issue of Annals of Behavioral Medicine suggests that having a workout buddy — even a virtual one — can significantly increase your motivation and adherence to exercise. So make sure you’re part of the Fit Body Facebook group or connected on Instagram.
Your fitness journey isn't just about exercise; it's also about fueling your body right.
1. Eat Whole Foods
A May-June 2022 study in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine found that a diet rich in whole foods, like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, is associated with better health outcomes.
2. Portion Control
Overeating, even healthy foods, can thwart your progress. Use smaller plates, measure portions, and be mindful of what you consume.
Proper hydration is crucial for energy and overall well-being. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially before and after workouts.
Track Your Progress
To stay motivated, it's essential to see how far you've come.
1. Keep a Journal
Record your workouts, meals, and how you feel each day. This not only helps track your progress but also identifies patterns and areas for improvement.
2. Take Photos
Sometimes the mirror doesn't do justice to your progress. Regularly take photos to visually see the changes in your body over time.
3. Use Fitness Apps
There's an app for everything, including tracking your fitness journey. The Fit Body app can help you monitor your workouts and nutrition.
Seek Professional Guidance
If you're new to fitness or have specific goals, don't hesitate to seek professional help.
A certified personal trainer can design a customized workout plan tailored to your goals and guide you with proper form and technique. There are plenty of trainer-designed programs in the app, and if you have any other fitness questions, you can email Amy Schultz, PT, physical therapist for the Fit Body app (firstname.lastname@example.org)
If you're struggling with nutrition, a registered dietitian — like Crowe (email@example.com) — can help create a meal plan that aligns with your goals and dietary preferences.
Before embarking on a new fitness journey, consult your healthcare provider, especially if you have underlying health conditions.
Stay Positive and Flexible
Life happens, and setbacks are a part of the journey. Instead of beating yourself up, practice self-compassion.
Focus on Progress, Not Perfection
Perfection is an elusive goal. Celebrate your progress, no matter how small.
Adjust Your Goals
If you encounter obstacles, be open to adjusting your goals or timeline. Adaptability is a crucial skill on this journey.