Best Tips for Setting Smart Resolutions You Can Actually Keep

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New Year’s resolutions can be different for everyone, but it’s common to set a few that are related to health and fitness, as a means to get in shape, clean up your diet, and maybe even drop a few pounds.

Yet, sometimes people set unrealistic resolutions, where they might be too restrictive or not practical for their lifestyle, and of course that sets them up for failure.

Not to mention it could backfire, where that defeatist attitude can lead to unhealthier habits and unwillingness to get back on track. If you’re focused on setting and sticking with New Year’s resolutions this year, here are the best tips to keep in mind for greater success.


Don’t Shoot for the Moon

If you want to lose weight, don’t set a lofty goal that might be too daunting and high to accomplish or one that puts excess pressure in a short period of time. First off, you want to lose weight in a healthful manner, so that means starting with 1-2 pounds a week. Going in increments is key, and it’ll keep encouragement high and your health in check, where you aren’t going into starvation mode or losing weight too quickly.

Keep Them Manageable

Make sure your resolutions fit with your lifestyle. If you are busy with the kids in the morning, work long hours, and then need to get dinner on the table, don’t set a fitness goal for an hour that’s too early in the morning or too late in the evening where your sleep is compromised or you’re more likely to ditch it. Either way, it’s not going to work! Plus, lack of sleep backfires—your workouts will suffer, your heart health decreases, and you might just be cranky and tired all day long,

A better solution might be to try HIIT (shorter workouts with more intensity) or splitting up the workout into 10-minute workouts throughout the day. Try ten in the morning, ten during a lunch break, and ten when you get back home. And don’t expect to work out every day with that busy schedule. Instead, choose a few days a week that have the most flexible time, since that’s manageable and won’t set you up for failure.


Find a Healthy Balance Between Achievable and Challenging

If you’re new to working out, don’t set a goal of doing HIIT classes (or any high intensity workout) daily or lifting without taking rest days in between to let those muscles repair and rest. Treat your body at the level it is in relation to your goals! Go for a shorter workout time and work your way up by intensity as you improve your fitness level. This keeps it challenging but also achievable, and you avoid taxing your body or overtraining, too.

Find an Accountability Buddy and Track

Don’t take the journey alone! Recruit a buddy, like a friend, spouse or partner, or co-worker, and set those goals together. You can send each other recipes of healthy foods and work on grocery store lists for the week together and you can even do in-person or virtual workout classes or gym dates together, too. This keeps momentum high and holds you accountable for your progress. Plus, it’s more fun to do it with someone else!

And track—don’t worry if you don’t always see progress and be honest with yourself (Did you eat a candy bar for a snack? Write it down!), as that’s the best way to look for patterns and find greater success long-term.