How to Stay Motivated to Stick with Your New Years Resolutions

New-Years-ResolutionsIt’s often hard to persevere with New Year’s Resolutions because it involves giving up certain habits you’ve cherished. No more fried food, no more sodas, no sweets, no more buffets. The withdrawal pangs are akin to going cold turkey on a nicotine habit: you may find yourself down and feeling yucky even if you’re trying to be healthy. On top of that, you’ll have to exercise on a daily basis. Unless you’ve become super passionate about your health, you might see the treadmill or the race track as a mundane waste of time.

Here are a few tips to help you stay committed and motivated to stick with your New Years Resolutions:

Make a solid and tangible plan. If the New Years resolutions are something like “lose weight by running every day and skipping out on dessert,” you will be easily distracted by temptations and make yourself believe that you can adjust come the next time around. A vague plan is as effective as a dream: you cannot effectively pursue it since you haven’t broken it down into tangible parts. Determine how much weight you want to lose in a given week, set a workout routine and monitor your daily progress and setbacks. You can also keep a diary so you can reflect on the whole process while being more self-aware.

Create a support system. If you have the courage to declare your New Years resolutions to your family, friends, and significant other (which is recommended), they can help keep you on the right track by leading you back when you stray and congratulating you for both small and big victories as you progress. It’s hard to stay motivated if you try to do it alone and keep it to yourself.

Find tasty alternatives for your appetite. You do not have to go vegan to stick to your New Years resolutions (though it would probably help). Squeeze oranges for juice instead of buying it in cartons (or better yet, eat the whole orange instead!). Grow your own mint and herbs for tea instead of buying it at the store. Grill your chicken and meat instead of frying it. The hardest thing to give up  is the food you were always used to eating and you can imagine yourself not going to restaurants or enjoying buffets anymore. You might be surprised to learn that the alternatives can not only be more healthy, but also tastier.

Keep yourself mentally strong. Depression and anxiety can result from losing some of things you love in pursuit of those New Years resolutions. Unless you’ve been exercising for a while, you might find yourself lazy on some days and willfully refuse to pursue the more physical parts of your new regimen. If you feel like giving up, post motivational quotes in front of your desk which keep you motivated. You may also want to keep a list of the deepest reasons why you started on this journey that you can look back to. It is easy to lose the inspiration if the process gets tough, but you can always hold on to why you got into it in the first place.

Visualize how you want to look. Do you want toned biceps or six-pack abs? Are you looking forward to looking good on the beach this summer? Is the extra weight you gained over the last few months bothering you? Just like in the commercials, keeping a “before and after” picture of yourself may help you determine how you want to look after all the months of sweat have been poured out. Taking actual pictures of yourself is also inspiring, and you know very well that you’ll never want to go back to being out of shape again.

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