Rethinking New Year’s Resolutions

Doomed to fail.

I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions because they generally don’t work. Each January, people promise themselves to do something really positive in the new year, like losing twenty pounds in 2017. That seems simple, but it encompasses lots of potential challenges that can become unmanageable. The motivation behind New Year’s resolutions is fantastic, but the resolutions themselves need to be more focused.

Resolutions like trimming body fat, adding lean muscle, improving cholesterol levels or controlling blood sugar require consistent exercise, good nutrition and adequate sleep and recovery. If you’ve tried to stick to an exercise program, eat more vegetables or change your routine to consistently get enough sleep, you know improving just one of those things takes considerable planning and effort. Trying to nail them all down at the same time is practically impossible.

What to do instead.

I certainly don’t want to discourage people from endeavoring to improve their health. But I do suggest taking a concentrated approach. Focus on one change you are confident you can make, and then stick to it with tenacious determination. Whether it’s exercising 4-5 days a week, getting eight hours of sleep every night, or simply drinking an extra glass of water every day, make it a habit before moving on to the next change. You’ll gradually build a series of successful changes over time and steadily become a fitter, healthier you.

Some changes are more difficult to make than others. Drinking an extra glass of water every day is easier than fitting 5 days of exercise into a busy schedule. No matter what you choose to do, make a manageable plan and give it time. To quote Harvey Mackay, “Be like a postage stamp; stick with it until you get there!”

Three Ideas for Making Healthy Changes:

  1. For beginners – Start an exercise habit by setting 10 minutes aside for a walk 5 days each week. Walking is a great way to start getting active and doesn’t require any special equipment. Add a minute or two to each walk every week, working up to a 30 minute walk 5 days per week.
  2. For regular exercisers – To keep your progress from stalling, cross train with a different type of exercise, like stair climbing instead of walking. Or mix in one day of high intensity interval training.
  3. If you struggle with motivation, try recruiting someone to exercise with you. A workout partner will help support your exercise efforts, and you can do the same for your partner.

Remember that creating lasting change is a gradual process. Identify your first goal and get started. You’ll see immediate benefits and can look forward to lots more as a result of your new habits.

Learn something new!


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Michael Bento is an Advanced Trainer at the Clubs at Charles River Park. He holds a Masters degree in Human Movement and is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a Corrective Exercise Specialist and Performance Enhancement Specialist.

One Response to “Rethinking New Year’s Resolutions”

  1. Rose visco says:

    yoga!! more classes at 4:30 or 4;45 to accommodate after work