Making 2012 New Years Resolutions That Fit

By: Brodie Scott
12.27.2011

It’s almost that time of year again: New Year’s Eve.

As 2011 turns into 2012, many of us will be making resolutions, a tradition of staring the year with goals to improve and excel our lives. But by February 2012, most of us will be breaking them.

Why? It’s simple: people get lazy.

"Studies show it typically takes about eight weeks to make a new habit stick," fitness and wellness instructor Shirley Archer told Reuters. "So you have to work hard to change that mindset."

Year after year though, one of the most commonly made and broken New Year’s resolutions is to get (back) in shape. After a season marked by excessive holiday meals and indulgent sweets, there’s a bulging reason so many people resolve to shed some pounds. But the post New Year’s rush to the gym isn’t always a means to a thinner end. According to a 2011 Time magazine article, “research says that 60% of gym memberships go unused and attendance is usually back to normal by mid-February.”

"Coming in January third with guns blazing is not a good strategy. Slow and steady wins in fitness," said Geralyn Coopersmith of Equinox fitness centers’ training and education. "It's not as sexy as 'get into shape in 30 days', but you didn't get out of shape in 30 days."

So how do we win the war on weight and make a New Year’s resolution stick?

While we’re not health experts, we did search high and low for smart ways to make it past the February fall-off and keep your 2012 New Year’s Resolution going strong all year long.

Budget

Budget your time and money to make a realistic commitment. You hear this tip frequently, but too often people over-exert themselves out of the gate, only to abandon their fitness quest all together. Take a realistic look at your time and fund availability to see what you can honestly commit to your fitness.

“Promise yourself  'I will walk 10 minutes Monday through Friday.' And don't make those goals harder until you've achieved the easier ones," advised Archer.

Bloomberg.com projected the cost of keeping in shape, from a gym membership to Weight watcher meetings, for one full year, here.

Remove Roadblocks

Look at what got you out of shape, so you can change those actions to move the scale back in the right direction. But don’t beat yourself up; we can be our own biggest bullies.

"Ask yourself why you did that but be emotionally neutral. Get rid of that self-critic," Archer, author of Fitness 9 to 5 recommends.

Cancel your standing beer night with an old pal and finally take up your friends’ offer to hike, yoga, or bike, instead.

Visualize Positively

It might sound a bit new age, but time and time again, the fitness experts advised seeing yourself at the ideal weight and body type, to achieve it. Instead of focusing on the negative effects of excess weight, spend time focusing on the physical, mental, and even superficial benefits you will gain by getting healthier.

Picture the “perfect” sized you, in your favorite outfit. Notice the flattering fit, the freedom of standing tall without ‘sucking in,’ and the confidence that comes from feeling proud of your body. Let that glowing goal guide you when your commitment to working out starts to waiver.

Take a New Approach

If you’ve yo-yoed before, ask yourself why your weight loss resolutions have failed in the past. If you can’t learn from your past, you’ll be doomed to repeat it. If, for example, you bought a gym membership or fitness class package, but never went, consider an in-home cardio machine instead.

And don’t be afraid to ask an expert. "Fitness is not one-size-fits-all," Equinox’s Coopersmith cautions. "We want people to have an assessment even if they aren't seeing a trainer regularly."

Photos: Pedro Gigante via Eye Candy

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