Eeek! I can’t believe it is almost an entirely new year! This year has been a rollercoaster with many downhills and struggles, yet I’ve always managed to come back up twice as strong and ready for whatever comes next. Sometimes we need a difficult time in order to prepare us for what is next in life. Instead of reflecting on the negativity of 2017, I am going to use it to fuel my passion and determination for 2018! Today, I want to talk about how to maintain your goals and resolutions for the new year. There are countless posts and talk about what people are going to do differently in 2018 and how, and while it is important to focus on getting started, you will never accomplish what you set out to do if you cannot maintain it past that initial start. Just like you cannot run an entire marathon if you only learned how to run the first mile. So, here are my tips and how-to on maintaining your goals and new year’s resolutions!!
This just might be one of the most important tips on this list. If you plan ahead what, when, where, how and you already know you’re why, then that decreases the chance you will skip whatever it is you want to do. If it is working out, planning what your workout will be, at what time, at what place, and how you will get there or get ready, then you have no excuse not to go. In this example, that includes laying out your clothes the night before, getting a water bottle ready, and maybe even finishing your intense playlist for tomorrow. These are all things that you can do NOW to help you when it is time to get it done.
Being realistic does NOT mean being negative or doubting yourself, it means using what you know about yourself to give you the best path to anywhere you want to go. You know yourself better than anyone else, which means you know your strengths and weaknesses more than anyone else. Use this to your advantage! If you know you would never actually get up and do a workout on a Saturday, then incorporate this into your plan and make Saturday your rest day! If you know you cannot YET run on the treadmill for a half an hour straight, then make sure your plan doesn’t have you running on the treadmill for 30 min straight. Just because it is a new year, or even a new goal or a new you, does not mean you can magically do the things you couldn’t before. However, you can always get there, it just takes planning out simple steps, that are realistic, to get there.
Take Simple Steps
Taking small steps goes right along with being realistic. Many of us try to accomplish our goal on day one and we end up feeling defeated and not trying again because we couldn’t accomplish it right then and there. Let’s take the treadmill example for a moment. If your goal is to run for a half an hour straight on the treadmill without stopping but you have never ran for longer than a few minutes, then your workouts should incorporate the treadmill but incrementally. This means maybe the first week you walk for a few minutes, then run, then walk again. Maybe the second week you spend less time walking and more time running. And maybe the third week you increase your overall time spent on the treadmill, while still spending time both walking and running. And so on and so forth. This way, your body adapts to running/moving for a longer amount of time, while you are also accomplishing mini goals within your main goal which helps you stay motivated by noticing your progress.
Learn and Adapt
While planning and taking small steps, you will start to see what works for you and what doesn’t. If you planned your workouts for the morning and found that you are always rushing, then move your workouts to the evening or wake up earlier. If you found you never have the motivation to finish your workout in the first place, then try something new. Instead of running try pilates. Instead of pilates try HIIT. Instead of HIIT try plyometrics. And so on and so forth. You should do this regardless of if you like your workout or not because switching it up every now and then helps to keep you interested and working all parts of your body in different ways. Another example is that maybe you are trying to eat less junk food. After trying for weeks you notice that it is much harder for you to resist eating cookies after school than any other time of day. To combat this, bring a healthier option to school and find a time to eat it or snack on it before you get home so you will be less tempted by the cookies. No plan will ever be perfect from the start. The only way to be successful is to use what you learn along the way to make your plan more realistic and tailored to your situation.
Make it Fun
It is so difficult to stick to something that you always dread or that stresses you out. Therefore, it is so crucial to make sure that whatever goal you are trying to accomplish includes a plan that you enjoy, at least a little. None of us enjoy every single second of our intense sweat session yet we make it through. Why? Because we enjoy the workout we are doing, or the results we will/are getting, or the music we are jamming to, or the gym we are at, or the time of day, or the workout clothes we are wearing, SOME part of what we are doing, we enjoy. Whether we know this or not, it is what keeps us going. And when you know what your motivation is, what makes it FUN for you, then everything becomes just that much easier.
Another point I wanted to address here is that this is YOUR life, and you should spend it doing the things you love and the things that make you happy. So if you are desperately sticking to a plan that brings you down, that sucks all the energy and life out of you, or that there is no part that you enjoy, then why are you doing it? Every aspect of our life will be difficult in some way yet it is the joy we get from it that makes the pain worth going through. So I hope that whatever plan you are sticking to you either incorporate something fun for yourself or create a different plan to reach your goal. Because you deserve to live the life that makes you happiest.
Surround Yourself with Inspiration and Positive Influence
Whether this is listening to motivational speeches or an upbeat playlist, scrolling through countless quotes and ideas on Pinterest, or even being around your friends that support you the most, this is probably also one of the most important tips on today’s list. I believe in the concept that you are the combination of your five closest friends. And through this I have surrounded myself with people who possess the qualities I want to have or have accomplished things I want to accomplish. Without even realizing it we learn and mirror those around us and if we acknowledge this and use it to our advantage then we can create a life for ourselves that we only imagined. And it is not only those around us who have such an impact on who we are, it is also what is around us, especially now that social media plays such a big role in society. Again, using this to our advantage by following social media accounts that positively reflect the goals you are trying to accomplish (not in a way that makes you feel bad or that you will never accomplish these things), also can impact your mood, motivation, and ability to accomplish what you set out to do.
After everything you have put yourself through, or all the effort you have exerted, or all the self-discipline you have shown, or even after skipping a day, you deserve a reward. Restricting yourself of a treat or some type of reward drains way your positivity and energy. If you reward yourself every now and then, then it helps maintain your hope and passion in what you are trying to accomplish. This also goes back to living a life that makes you happy. If splurging on a new outfit or getting a milkshake makes you happy then get one. Just make sure that you don’t go home and eat all kinds of junk food afterwords, or blow all your money on other things after you buy that outfit. It’s a matter of balancing rewarding yourself while also maintaining self-discipline.
All of today’s tips go hand in hand and sometimes you use them in a combination without even trying. That is because they are so crucial and necessary but also natural. Sometimes, we just have to awaken ourselves and pay more attention to these things in order to achieve what we want most!
Let me know in the comments what your new year’s resolutions or goals for 2018 are and what tips you plan on using to achieve them!! See ya soon!