Don’t let this year’s resolution diminish to having been just an idea, a 2022 pipe dream. The solution to resolutions lie in the preparation, specificity, and sticking to your plan.
The #1 resolution for 2021 was (drum roll!) to exercise more, following narrowly behind was weight loss. The resolutions types haven’t changed much over the years but the number of people setting and achieving their goals has. According to this source’s survey, over 12% of American’s with resolutions don’t believe they’ll succeed, and just over 13% think they might, but aren’t quite confident.
Why do resolutions fail? Plenty of reasons! Frustration because you try everything you can think of and you’re exhausted. Life circumstances throw wicked curve balls that can make your head spin. Losing motivation because you’re not seeing results so what’s the point?! All these can lead to a decline in effort, plan adherence, and mindset.
Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve failed to see success in the past. You can achieve a healthier lifestyle this year, you’re already working towards it just by reading this!
Developing a Plan of Pursuit: A 5 Step Approach
As in most areas of life, preparation is key. Designate a small notebook to outline your plan and mark important dates of your plan on your iphone or old-school wall calendar. Walk yourself through these points to help you identify your health and fitness goals for 2022 and set yourself up for the best path to achieving them. Write your answers down. No – literally, write it down. Pen-to-paper has far more power than just thinking it. It will give you clear goals, reasons to keep going, timelines to look forward to, and accountability.
#1- What is your goal and why?
Make your goal both specific but also realistic. If you want to lose weight, determine a realistically achievable amount and put a number to it. An average healthy weight loss is between 1-2 pounds per week so you can use this as your guide rail. Setting too lofty of a weight loss goal will likely set you up to fail and wreak havoc on your psyche. If your goal is simply to be healthier and exercise more assign it a number. FOR 2022, I WILL EXERCISE AN AVERAGE OF 3 TIMES PER WEEK FOR AN HOUR EACH WORKOUT. That checks the specific category!
Why do you want to achieve this? You need to dig a little for this one. To look good at the wedding in April or simply just to be healthier isn’t going to cut it. Why?! Do you want to look good at the wedding because you want to feel sexy and confident in your own skin around people who have judged you in the past for your weight? Make getting healthier about being around to walk your daughter down the isle at her wedding. You need to tug on your own heart strings here. Your reason will keep you disciplined when the motivational talks lose their impact.
#2 – Consider all important factors
Health and fitness require certain factors to be considered, namely diet and exercise. Other things we want you to consider are lifestyle choices, investments, and the non-negotiables.
How often each week is realistic for you to exercise? The average individual needs about 3-4 times per week between the different types of exercise. We consider the average workout session to be about 1 hour, but this has to be realistic with your schedule and lifestyle.
What is your daily caloric intake goal and what are your grocery staples? Determine what an ideal diet looks like for your needs and write down the consistent food choices you’ll make each time you shop. You’ll save time and the thought process which could lead to deviating on choices. Check out this video to determine your ideal caloric goal.
Are there lifestyle and financial choices you need to adjust to help you in this pursuit? Going out to the bar with friends every Friday night may need to change. An earlier wake up time may help you get your 3 workouts in per week. You may want to cancel your monthly clothing subscription because you’ll need a different size soon anyway. How will you reallocate funds? Will you put your Friday night beer money and your clothing box dough towards your gym membership or hiring a trainer? (We have great trainers to recommend!) Are there non-negotiables that will help keep you happy? If you savor a scoop of ice cream each night or sleeping in on Saturday mornings, then don’t deny yourself life’s pleasures. Sacrifice is part of the path towards reward, and just as you shouldn’t have to sacrifice everything, you certainly will have to sacrifice some things.
#3 Schedule an average week
Healthy habits are more than just the diet and exercise, it’s a lifestyle. If you aren’t as fit or the size you want to be right now, you can partially thank every practice and choice of yours leading up to this moment. In order for your fitness level and health to change, you have to chance your lifestyle and that starts with the choices you make. You’ll feel more prepared which will make you feel more confident going into each day. You’ll be less likely to make impulse or boredom decisions.
Try to make your sleep:wake cycle as consistent as possible. Determine what your bed time and wake time will be each day. Jot down what time you’ll eat your meals and snacks and be sure to pencil in the workout times. Kids’ practices, church, and date night should all be accounted for on your schedule. Your weekly schedule is to your lifestyle as your budget is to your financial health.
#4 Prepare for things to get messy
Consider your plan only as good as your ability to change it because life won’t stop throwing those curve balls. You drafted up a typical schedule so now think about things that are likely to happen that don’t care about your pretty little schedule. The kids might get sick or you’ll have to work overtime. Snow days may allow for virtual learning but maybe you can’t leave your kids to go to the gym. Create little back up plans for the larger components of this process.
Know some good go-to snacks to buy on the road if you’re going to miss a meal. Create an at-home workout index so you can get a 20-minute workout done in the bedroom or laundry room if need be. What will change in your workout sessions if you can only get to the gym 3 times this week and not 4 or 5? Minor setbacks like small injuries, schedule flops, and weather won’t completely derail you, if you’re prepared to modify.
#5 Journal the process
Journaling is a fantastic way to flesh out ideas, document experiences and to learn about yourself. If you’ve never journaled before, try my method to help you recap your successes and plan for tomorrow. Each night I’ll write down what I did for my workout and how close I followed my nutrition structure. I note what went “according to plan” that day and what required me to adjust. This gives me more confidence in handling future disruptions. Next, I write out how I’m feeling at the end of that day. “I feel tired and ready for sleep but was energized all day”, or “I feel proud of myself for adapting my day but still getting my workout in.”
Not every day will be an A+ day, and that’s okay! It’s part of the process and you need to trust the process. Don’t beat yourself up if you slipped up on your nutrition or skipped the workout but do be accountable. Acknowledging areas in which you can improve tomorrow should motivate you with hope and anticipation, not through guilt. I also like to write out what I am excited for tomorrow and express something I’m grateful for.