Resolutions.

I like to think of myself as an expert resolver.  I love resolutions, heck, I make them every month.  I believe strongly in the power of a fresh start, and I believe in taking as many fresh starts as you need to achieve your personal goals.  Some people think that making a resolutions at the beginning of the year is silly, it is, after all, an arbitrary day.  To that I say, so what?

Who cares if it’s an arbitrary day, if it inspires you, do it.

I joined a kickboxing gym a couple of weeks ago.  I really like kickboxing, but my regular gym doesn’t offer regular classes or have a punching bag at my disposal, so I decided to treat myself to an all-kickboxing-all-the-time place to get my aggression out.  On the super silly survey they make you take, there was a question that got me thinking: Have you ever achieved a fitness goal you set out?

Yes, yes I have.

I’ve also failed.

Having failed and succeeded many times over in goals that were and were not fitness related, there are a few things I think I’m qualified to share with the world about making the most of the new start that’s quickly approaching, and all self-improvement goals that come with it.

Without further adieu, here are my tips for succeeding at your New Year’s Resolution.

  1. Be Ambitious, but Be Realistic Goals are not achieved within the confines of our comfort zones. In fact, too much time spent in our comfort zone is what usually lands us on blogs titled “How to Rock Your New Year’s Resolution.” Choose big goals, goals that really need your focus, your research, your commitment.  Big goals take time, and they don’t happen over night, and it is in that time that you learn what works for you, you learn to push your limits.  You will not be perfect, you will have slip ups, and backslide from time to time. That’s where realism comes into place.  It’s okay to not be perfect, no one is; not your personal trainer, not athletes, not professional body builders.  The point is, you brush yourself off and come back swinging, because big goals take time.
  2. Be Prepared I’m not going to tell you how to prepare, you know yourself better than I do, but whatever it takes for you to feel ready to face each day do, invest in, put yourself first.  My favorite fitness resources are  a calendar and an academic planner.  On the calendar I write each workout as I do it, if the boxes start looking a little too sparse, I know it’s time to up my game.  I use the academic planner as my food diary, the spots for homework assignments are perfect for tracking my meals.  I do find my calorie count online (I use Livestrong.com), but writing down what I eat with a pen somehow helps me internalize the information better.
  3. Track Your Success  As I mentioned, achieving big goals means investing big time, which can be frustrating if you’re an instant gratification type.  Celebrate your success as you go—just not by indulging in whatever behavior you’re trying to curb! Now, my New Year’s resolution is to give up the scale, I don’t want to get too wrapped up in that number, but I’ll still be tracking my physical success—taking regular photos and measuring my body’s changes in all those great clothes I put in storage last month. There’s a pair of red skinny jeans I’ve got my eye on!
  4. Love One of the Mommisms I’ve kept with me over the years is her saying,“You don’t do things for people you hate, you have to love yourself before you can change yourself for the better.”  I agree, hating ourselves for not being exactly who we think we should be doesn’t get us very far.  Love yourself, and love the things about you you want to change. Treat yourself like you treat the people you love most, with gentle words, but also with the utmost pride and confidence you dole out on them.
  5. Hate Not Don’t do things you hate because you think you have to.  If your goal involves exercise, and you hate exercise, I’m not saying you should cut all forms of exercise out—but don’t be a runner if you HATE running.  You won’t stick with it.  I love spinning, I spin a lot.  I hate boot camps, I don’t go to them. I think the elliptical machine is boring, so I avoid using it unless I have no other choice.  I don’t like the feel of exercise bands, so I stick with dumbbells.  I’m not saying you have to love everything you do, but you might find things that you like as you go along, and sometimes like can turn into love, but doing things you hate will only lead to procrastination.
  6. Find a Frame While I’ve already said that big goals take time, I also believe in setting a time frame for achieving your goals.  Or at least a phase of your goals.  If your goal is to lose weight or tone up, the initial phase is losing fat or gaining muscle, but after that comes a whole new phase of maintaining that is a long term goal in itself.  Creating a time frame to complete your goal within is incredibly helpful in terms of maintaining focus.  If you give yourself four months to lose 20 lbs, do you think you’re going to stop trying to attain your goals if you’ve only lost 16?  No, you’re going to keep going, but as that goal approaches you’re more likely than not to hone your focus.  I’d even suggest planning a big event around your time frame.  This year is pretty easy for me in that sense, I’ve got a wedding.  If you’re not getting married, I’m not suggesting you renew your vows for start searching for a mail-order spouse.  But, why not schedule a photo shoot (I did a boudior shoot earlier this year, and it was a great motivator) or your yearly vacation?
  7. Be Accountable Some folks don’t like sharing their goals with the world in case they fail.  Well, failure isn’t an option this year, so you’ve got nothing to worry about.  I think one of the reasons people do so well in programs like Weight Watchers, is because they’re accountable to someone, even if it’s just some random woman behind a desk. I tell anyone who will listen what my goals are. Every few years I write out a five year plan and send it to everyone in my life for feedback, putting it out into the world makes it real.  I finished my last 5-year-plan in three years—I guess it’s time to write another.  Being accountable to my goals makes them important.  If you’re not the kind of person to blog about their every meal, just tell a friend, a parent, a sexy bed friend, someone who is interested in your life and your success. Have someone to check in with regularly who can support you and celebrate your success along with you.

That’s about it for my words of wisdom, what are yours?  What are you resolving, and how do you plan to succeed?