By: Alexandra Davies
On January 1 at 12:00 am, you ring in the New Year with your friends and family. The heat of this moment makes you think about what you can do differently this year: “I want to lose 20 pounds,” “I want to be able to run 12 miles,” “I want to go to the gym every day.” Every year, the first few weeks of January see gyms packed with determined individuals decked out in new workout gear, their resolutions at the front of their minds. Yet, fast-forward one month to February and you have a beer belly, flabby arms, and a bag of chips. We’ve all been there.
For those who are tired of ringing in the New Year with a bang and watching it fade into failure, Michelle Corbeil, owner and teacher of Moksha Yoga Danforth (372 Danforth Ave.), provides her tips and tricks to make your resolution last longer than a month.
The most critical aspect of maintaining a resolution is to aim for an achievable target. Having an “I want to lose 30 pounds this month” mentality will only leave you feeling down about your minimal progress and discourage you from continuing on toward your goal. Weight loss takes time, so expecting dramatic results in a short period of time is unhealthy and impossible. Choose an objective that is accessible yet challenging in order to motivate you during your journey.
Michelle’s tip: “Set realistic goals for both the short-term and long-term, and be forgiving when life happens and gets in the way. I am much more able to move towards goals when I am not angry with myself for falling short.”
Do not overwhelm yourself
This is one of the biggest mistakes people make. Juggling several difficult goals at once will not give you the results you want. Choose one goal at a time and dedicate all your focus to it. If you promise yourself one achievement, you are more likely to stick with it. After you tackle one goal, feel free to adopt another (more challenging) goal and work your way up. Ringing in the New Year with an achievable goal will lead you to the finish line and motivate you to make other small changes in your life.
Michelle’s tip: “Try to set a direction or intention rather than a resolution. Then, whatever happens, you set yourself up going the way you would like to. Resolutions tend to be hard to keep and then there is all that guilt when we fall.”
Spread the word
Writing down your goals in a journal or diary will reinforce the idea that you are willing to stick with it. Tweet, Facebook, Instagram, or talk about your goals with your friends and family. You are most likely to fulfill your resolution if you tell people about it. Your friends and family will not only support you, but also hold you accountable for meeting your goal.
Michelle’s tip: “Enlisting a friend or family member as a cheerleader is amazing for support, and also to celebrate milestones.”
Be persistent and patient
The most important tip in order to keep your New Year’s resolution from fading away is persistency. Taking a break for a couple of days will only hold you back from your target. Sticking with the plan that you wrote down will not only keep you on track, it will change your life. Always remember that change does not happen in a few days—it takes time. It’s cliché but true; anything is possible if you put your mind to it. It may be February, and you may have already lost faith in yourself, but all it takes is a little self-motivation and a great plan to get yourself back on track.
Michelle’s tip: “Find an activity that you love and increase the amount you do it. Three to four times a week is a doable amount for most people if they like what they are doing. Forcing yourself to do something to get fit is hard to maintain, so find something that inspires you to keep doing it.”
Reward yourself once in a while
All work and no play is a recipe for disappointment. Rewarding yourself with a treat—maybe a quick shopping trip—will encourage you to keep up the hard work. Reward your short-term goals with simple treats: a new winter coat or that Coach bag you’ve had your eye on. Reward long-term goals with larger treats: a trip to Cuba to show off your new bikini body. Every step you take to accomplish your resolution is a step in the right direction, so give yourself a pat on the back once in a while. With each small step you have already accomplished so much—and that is worth celebrating.
Michelle’s tip: “Squeeze out bad things with better choices. Try not to do an all-or-nothing approach. If you want something sweet or fatty have it—a bit of it—so that you don’t try eating a bunch of things that don’t satisfy you. If you can do something active, it tends to reinforce good eating choices. You don’t want to waste a ton of calories eating when you have just spent some time burning them off.”