Making those New Year's Resolutions Stick

5 ways to make those New Year's resolutions stick

First you make 'em. Then you break 'em.

Does that pretty much sum up your past history with New Year's resolutions? You're jazzed in January to get in shape, stop smoking, eat better—to achieve your goal, whatever it is. But by February, your resolution is kaput.

As you've likely discovered, good intentions aren't enough to make resolutions stick. You've got to stack the odds in your favor. Here's how:

1. Be specific. Be patient. Rather than a fuzzy resolution—for instance, "I'm finally going to get fit"—commit to a clearly defined one. Do you want to be able to finish a 5K? Do a dozen pushups? Walk the hilly streets in your neighborhood without getting winded?
Nail the details.

2. Don't overreach. Resolving to go to the gym every morning before work is potentially setting yourself up for failure. Getting there two or three times a week is more realistic—and far likelier to become a habit.

3. Line up tech support. Pair up with a resolution buddy—somebody or something that can keep your motivated. Change is easier if you don't attempt it solo. There are numerous tech gadgets for fitness that measure everything from steps to heart rate to calories. Search out fitness and nutrition apps to help get you started.
Talk to a personal trainer, someone who can design an exercise program to meet your fitness goals. Personal training can greatly improve outcomes.

4. Reward yourself. Did you make it through your first week without smoking? Then spend the money you would have spent on cigarettes on something special for yourself. Are you down 5 pounds? Why not celebrate with a manicure or massage.

5. Bounce back. Do not accept defeat. OK, so you skipped the gym a couple of times or binged on a bunch of snacks one weekend. You slipped up, but so what? Missteps are normal. And one key to successful behavior change is resiliency. Tomorrow really is another day—it's your chance to get back on track.

Starting out on a good foot ensures success. At HAMC there is over 2,500 square feet of wellness center space, equipped with treadmills, free weights, ellipticals, cycles and more. Trainers and nutritionists are available for consultations.  

Sources: American College of Sports Medicine; American Council on Exercise; American Psychological Association