Can you see my 6-pack yet?: Tips for keeping your “resolve” toward your resolution

For many of us, losing weight or getting back in shape is on the list of New Year resolutions.  Even if you don’t buy-in to resolutions, you have to admit that there is something about a new year that sparks renewed passion for living a healthy lifestlye. Don’t let that passion slip away! Read below for some tips to help you transform that renewed passion into effective action.

Set specific measurable goals.  “Getting a 6-pack” is not an appropriate resolution ladies- unless you’re talking about buying beer. Neither is “getting back in shape.” You need objective goals that can be measured, tracked and rewarded. You can focus on specific exercises like push-ups and sit-ups or specific outcomes like pounds or inches lost. Notice the key word is SPECIFIC. Try to keep your timeframe a month or less (it’s ok to have longer-term goals in addition, but baby steps are best). Below are some examples of good resolutions:

  • Get 30 minutes (or more) of exercise each day
  • Go to the gym 3x per week
  • Run 5 miles per week
  • Lose 3 pounds per month (up to a specified max goal)
  • Lose 1 inch on hips per month (up to a specified max goal)
  • Increase sit-ups by 5 per minute each month (based on a 1-min test, up to a specified max goal)

Track Goals

Track your progress. Research shows that simply keeping track of your behavior can lead to improvements. So wait Luanne, writing down how many times I go to the gym could make me go more? Yes!  It’s true. Seeing your efforts in black and white can be very rewarding (or punishing if you had a bad week). You can up the ante by sharing with others. So post it on the fridge for your husband to see or better yet on Facebook for the world to see! Ok, I admit that might be taking it too far.

Trap yourself. Let’s face it, even with the best intentions it’s often hard to make the right choices when push comes to shove. So give your “future self” a little help by doing something NOW that will help you make the right choice LATER. Behavioral scientists refer to this technique as a commitment response. If you always seem to blow off your morning workout, then agree to join a friend for a morning run (you wouldn’t want to stand them up, right?). Even more extreme would be giving your car key to a friend who lives nearby and picking it up during your morning run. Bet you will think twice about hitting snooze!

Reward yourself. Yes, getting a 6-pack might be all the reward you need. But how long is that going to take? It may feel like watching grass grow. It’s important to find a way to reward the baby steps along the way. That’s where those goals come into play. Come up with ways to reward yourself for meeting weekly and monthly goals. I once set up a “spa fund” and put $20 in every week if I met my goals. Get creative! Also check out Earndit.com where you can earn points for your the miles you log and exchange them for gift cards!

Good luck and Happy New Year!

 

Luanne is a Florida native and Gator girl who moved to Jacksonville for her first job and never left. She has a Masters degree in Behavior Analysis from the University of Florida and has provided parent training and behavioral services for children of all ages. Luanne’s “hands-on” parent training began in 2010 when she became a mother herself. She now has two daughters, ages 2 and 4. With a newfound respect for what parenting around the clock actually feels like, she now spends her time trying to practice what she’s been preaching about for so many years. When not busy being mom, she takes a “break” to help parents experiencing behavioral challenges. Her company Blueprints for Change , offers behavior management trainings and comprehensive behavioral services.

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