Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

Cammie Bates, MPhys, LAT, ATC
Former Nutrition & Physical Activity Health Educator

You’ve made a New Year’s resolution to exercise more, but a few weeks in, motivation is lacking. What can you do? It’s a common problem. It is estimated that 80% of resolutions fail by February. Studies also show it can take anywhere between 18-254 days to build a new habit, so don’t be discouraged. It takes time. Writing down your resolutions and re-framing them using positive language are helpful strategies to achieve the desired changes. With that in mind, here are some tips to make positive goals you can work towards.

Create a framework for your goals by setting “SMART” goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. A SMART goal could be “I will work out 3 times this week for 30 minutes.” “I will work out more” is not a SMART goal. See the difference?

Define achievable mini-goals that add up to a larger goal of “being healthy.” Try it! Make January’s goal to walk for 30 minutes 3 days each week. Then February’s goal is to replace a less healthy snack with a fruit or vegetable. Continue this way, and you are more likely to stay motivated and see progress.

It’s also important to keep goals relevant to you. Consider the “why” of your goal. Do you want to exercise more so you can keep up with your kids, run a 5K, or be more independent? Knowing your “why” is important to success.

If you made resolutions to be more active, try these tips:

1.Start small. Injuries happen when one jumps into a workout plan with no prior experience. Start small and build from there. Even 10 minutes is beneficial so try taking the stairs or parking farther away. If you are currently not doing any exercise, you may want to check in with a doctor before you get started.

2. Find a workout buddy. A partner can encourage you and help you show up! Plus, you’ll have someone to think of new exercises and push you during your workout.

3. Find activities you enjoy. Going to the gym is not the only way to stay active. You are more likely to stick with your goals if you genuinely enjoy the activity.

4. Switch it up! Workouts can get stale  so add in a new exercise, switch the order of your exercises, or adjust the time in between your reps.

5. Book a tour of a gym. Learn how to use the machines and weights and find out what classes are offered. Many gyms allow a trial period.

6. Consider group exercise classes. They can be a ton of fun, a great workout, and help build relationships with others.

7. Get creative. If you don’t have access to a gym, fear not! There are lots of workouts you can do from home with a set of cans, stairs, a chair, a laundry basket, or your own body weight.

8. Stay safe. Make sure you are doing an activity that is right for you and using equipment properly. If you are exercising outdoors, especially in the dark of winter, proper reflective gear can save a life.

9. Get some rest. It’s okay to feel too tired and skip a workout when the weather doesn’t cooperate. Listen to your body and rest when you need it. This is a journey to last a lifetime.

10. Follow @PoeCenter’s #PoeFit campaign on Twitter for tips on being active at home.

It’s important to think of exercise as a celebration of your body and what it can do, rather than view it as punishment. So often we workout to change the way we look, and though our bodies naturally change as we move more, consider this journey with your body as a journey of love. As you exercise, forget the final destination and enjoy the process of becoming. It’s okay to try and fail at an activity until you find one you love because our bodies are all different!

Maybe you haven’t found an exercise or workout plan you enjoy yet. Keep trying, keep moving, and keep loving your body. New Years resolution or not, this is a life journey you’re on to feel comfortable in your own skin. Focus on how you feel and what your body can do rather than a number on a scale. You are becoming a healthier, stronger version of yourself with every workout. Happy exercising!

Most People Fail to Achieve Their New Years Resolution (2019).

The First Rule of New Year’s Resolutions.

Featured Poe Program: FITT for Life

Grade Level: 4th – 5th
Program Length: 60 minutes

You’ll feel great after taking this program as we introduce the importance of regular physical activity. Participants will experience the balance between eating and exercise while reinforcing the benefits of an active lifestyle. This program introduces the different levels of exercise as well as the components of a good athlete. We encourage participants to make a lifelong commitment to their health.

The Poe Center offers over a wide variety of nutrition and physical activity programs for all ages. Call 919-231-4006 or go online to plan a program.

Featured Crio Lesson: Nutrition at Your Fingertips

Grade Level: K – 5th grade | Program Length: 15-45 min

The Poe Center has partnered with SAS through Curriculum Pathways to provide online access to health science and health education lessons at no cost to teachers across the State of North Carolina. Designed to complement its health education curriculum, the Poe Center’s programs and online content are aligned with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s Healthful Living and Science Essential Standards.

Learn how to apply tools such as MyPlate to make nutritious food choices, as well as fitness levels to maintain a healthy lifestyle. In this lesson, you will use MyPlate to make healthy choices of foods and beverages and use recommendations in MyPlate to increase physical activity. This lesson explains the benefits of regular physical activity on physical, mental, emotional, and social health. Check it out!