Flex Your Willpower- 10 Tips to Help you Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions!

Willpower is a muscle - Use it and it gets stronger.

The more you use it the better you’ll get. So don’t stop trying to resist those bad habits. Because willpower is not a finite resource that you are born with, it can get out of shape and weak over time if you are not using it. Start small and try having the willpower to resist one bad habit or poor food choice and as your willpower increases add on another change. Before you know it you are on your way to keeping your New Year’s Resolution.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

Changing behaviors is hard-so take it one change at a time. If you are overzealous you are likely to crash and burn. Since healthy habits are multi-faceted many resolutions like losing weight or regaining flexibility require several types of lifestyle changes, you may have to change your entire daily and weekly routine. So start with one thing. Get a rhythm down and then add in the next piece of the puzzle.

One step at a time.

You may have a magic number in mind, whether it is your cholesterol, blood sugar, or weight, but setting a goal like “I want to lose 15 pounds” may still be too vague. You will be much more successful if your goals are tied to the actions you need to take like “I will eat healthy 5 days a week” or “I will attend yoga 2 times a week” Track your successes and remember to give yourself a pat on the back. This will help you reinforce why you are making a change.

Have fun!

When you are feeling weak try doing something that puts you in a good mood. Go for a walk outside, listen to a favorite playlist or watch a comedy show. Studies show that a positive outlook can really help get you through those tempting moments.

Get some cheerleaders

Whether it is telling your friends & family, or creating a dream board, get your goals out of your head and into your environment. The more outward help you have the harder it will be to let your inner voice talk you out of achieving your New Year’s resolutions. Many other people are going through the same thing you are so you may even be able to help your friends and family stick to their resolutions in the process. At the Y you can always talk to any of our staff or personal trainers, they will cheer you on every time you walk in the door! While most gyms don’t care if you show up the Y is different, you are part of our community and family. We understand that if we help create a better you, it will create a better community and a better us! So whether you need 1 on 1 help getting there or just a friendly word of encouragement we want to know!

All or Nothing?

Absolute resolutions don’t always work. Remember that you are human and not a machine and plan for some gray area. Try making resolutions that limit bad habits to a safe, moderate range. Instead of “I’m never eating chocolate again” try something like ‘I’ll only eat chocolate on special occasions.” This way you are on track most of the time but allowing yourself some room for those days when your willpower is lower.

You are already awesome.

If you get overwhelmed by how far you need to come to reach you goals remember how great you’ve done in the past. You can write down some of your most recent accomplishments (even if they are unrelated) or recall a time when you got through a really difficult situation. This will reaffirm your strength and diligence. You CAN do it!

Do the math

Having goals that are attainable and realistic are key to success. If you have a resolution that seems daunting break it up into mini goals and as you add them all together they will equal a successful resolution. Make sure to record your success as you go. This will give you benchmarks to make sure you are on track to get to your bigger goals and give you small wins to help keep you happy and motivated.

Avoid temptation

Sometimes the best way to set yourself up for success is to avoid your temptations or “demotivators” completely. Don’t torture yourself watching other people do things you are trying to quit doing. Plan to schedule time to get away from those situations that tempt you the most.

Don’t overthink it

When you are getting ready to go to the gym or cook a healthy meal it is really easy to come up with all of the reasons you don’t want to do it or why cheating on your resolution would be easier or more convenient. If you find yourself in a mental loop where you are just thinking of how time consuming it is or how hard it is just commit yourself to 5 minutes. You can do anything for 5 minutes. Whether it’s looking up healthy recipes, doing jumping jacks, or researching ways to help rehabilitate an injury 5 minutes will be enough to break through your mental blocks. Often after you have done 5 minutes of something you start to feel like you can do more and it leads to you increasing your motivation to succeed.

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