Trainer Tips: Make your New Year's resolution stick

Contributing trainer Becky Conti is back, and this time she's sharing her tips on how to make your fitness resolution last beyond January.

We all make New Year's Resolutions because we think of the New Year as a new beginning or as a chance to make changes to things in our lives we aren’t happy with.  Perhaps the most popular resolutions come in the form of changing our eating and exercise habits with the goal of losing weight.  It’s easy to make a goal and be motivated around the New Year because everyone’s doing it … but what happens a month or two down the road when the motivation wears off?  How do you stick to your weight loss goal long enough to achieve it?  

Research shows that after 6 months, more than half of people have given up on their New Years Resolutions and, after one year, that number is close to 90%! Change is difficult and we often want “quick and easy” results that require little effort. When we don’t see results quickly enough, we get discouraged and lose the motivation to continue. The problem is, diet plans and weight loss products that claim to deliver immediate results are often the most dangerous to your health. Also, those fast-results plans usually require you to follow strict rules and, once you go off those rules, you’ll gain the weight right back! Instead of feeling frustrated if you don’t see instant results, try these tips for keeping yourself patient and motivated to continue:

1. Write down your goal and make it visible to you every day.  When we make a goal in our mind it may seem clear and definite to us in the moment, but our focus tends to fade over time.  Writing down your goal and seeing it in front of you each day will help re-motivate you and keep your aim on the target.  


2. Be realistic with your goal and the time frame in which you want to achieve it.  A weight loss goal of 50 lbs should not be set for 2 months from now. Instead, set a goal to lose 5 lbs in 4 weeks (that’s just over 1 lb. per week), and then when you reach that goal, make another one. Setting a series of small goals and reaching them will keep you motivated for the long haul.


3. Establish a plan containing the steps you will take to achieve your goal. If you are trying to lose weight for the first time, you need a plan that is right for you.  Try hiring a personal trainer or nutritionist for a few sessions so he or she can set up a structured program for you to follow. If you can’t afford to hire anyone, read up on the topic ahead of time, jot down your own plan, and show it to someone you know who is knowledgeable on the subject of fitness.  Just make sure you have the correct knowledge and tools you need for success!


4. Prepare yourself mentally. A goal of weight loss and lifestyle change is not easy and takes hard work, preparation, persistence, and determination.  Make sure you are mentally prepared for such an undertaking before you start!  Prepare yourself for the fact that your journey isn’t going to be perfect, and you will probably have setbacks where you “fall off the wagon” for a day or two.  Instead of calling it quits at the first sign of discouragement, be ready for the hard times and keep moving toward your goal.  Remember that persistence is key!

Becky Conti is an American Council on Exercise (ACE) Certified Personal Trainer and an ACE Certified Weight Management Consultant.  She works as a trainer and nutrition consultant at Merritt Athletic Club Canton and also trains clients through her website www.beckyconti.com.  She has been featured in magazines such as Oxygen, Fitness & Physique, and has appeared on the cover of Performance Press Magazine.  She also writes fitness articles for Fitness & Physique Magazine and Bodybuilding.com.  Becky also competes in national fitness and figure competitions each year.

If you have a question for Becky, or a question you'd like us to ask a trainer on your behalf, leave a comment or send an e-mail to anica.butler@baltsun.com. 

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