Now that the food frenzy is over and the New Year's Resolutions have been in play, I would like to ask you, how are you doing so far? Did you know that approximately 97% of people who make New Year's resolutions abandon them within 30 days? As a fitness instructor at various gyms I can vouch for that statistic. Can you believe that over $60 billion dollars a year is spent on diet, exercise and weight loss products? With all of this money being spent, why are more people now more obese in this country than ever before? What is happening? The promise of a quick fix, the fast food epidemic, and lack of knowledge are top on the long list. May I suggest a different approach and offer some tips that might just make keeping those resolutions easier?

1) SET A CLEAR AND CONCISE GOAL. Be specific. Don't set general goals and don't set more than one or two goals. Set your goal, picture it, and thirst for it! Make a plan. The MOST IMPORTANT point here is to know what goal you are working towards and
to know what the payoff will be. Not many of us would take on a job without payment. Treat this as "a job" and set up a payment plan to yourself. Lastly, know WHY you are working towards this goal and actually stir up the emotions of how it will feel when you reach this goal. THOUGHTS BECOME THINGS, so keep your "thought" or your "goal" dangling in front of your face like the proverbial carrot. Keep the payoff of this goal in the forefront of your mind, and don't take your eye off of the ball.

2) START WITH SMALL STEPS. Whatever your goal may be, start small. Small changes DO make a BIG difference. Don't resolve to lose 30 pounds. Instead, take it one day, or for that matter one week at a time. For example, you could simply cut a menial 100 calories off of each day. Or even easier to start, resolve to skip dessert once a week, and add 30 minutes of exercise once a week. Then the second week, try skipping dessert twice a week, and exercise twice a week, and so on, until you have "tricked" your mind into new and better habits. These small behavior modifications let you build on changing bad habits into good ones, rather than just going cold turkey, which boasts of about a 99% failure rate. After all, lifestyle changes of any nature are almost all mental, almost all of the time. After these small changes become habits, implement bigger changes and increase your exercise time. Small successess will inspire you to move forward. If your goals are too lofty, you're doomed to failure.

3) HAVE SOME ACCOUNTABILITY. We all need someone who will check up on us. Knowing that you are accountable to someone will help motivate you to work towards your goal. For example, I have a terrible time with late night snacking. So I make myself accountable to my children, those money hugry little angels. I tell them that if they see me putting any food into my mouth after 8:00pm, then I will pay them $1.00. That keeps me in line. Be accountable to a friend, personal trainer, or do I dare say to your spouse? Have this person actually watch you weigh in......very powerful incentive, trust me. There's a much greater chance that you'll put forth some effort when you're accountable to someone.

4) EXERCISE. Even if your goal isn't weight loss, you MUST exercise. Exercise is not a choice, but a MUST. It ensures your strenght, balance and flexibility, which in turn prevents injuries and provides a much happier sense of self. Exercise releases endorphins, increasing your energy levels and metabolism, and it keeps your blood and oxygen flow healthy and strong. Prevent rather than pay the price later on in life, is the key behind exercise. Determine to do something that you'll enjoy so much that you'll want to continue doing it. Take time to figure out what will work for you and make sure you are having fun. Walk, run, bike, skate, swim, play, or take classes at the gym or at your local college that inspire you and motivate you to "want" to come back. If you don't enjoy what you are doing, you will surely fail. Thirty minutes a day most days of the week, will be what you will work towards in regard to your exercise program.

5) NEVER GIVE UP. It's always too early to quit! Making a change is a long hard process, with inevitable slip-ups along the way. Sure you are going to trip up here and there, so what! DO NOT label yourself a looser or quit, instead realize that missteps are going to occur and tomorrow is a new day. Use positive dialogue towards yourself, and think of even failed attempts as steps towards eventual success. On average just 20% of people succeed in weight loss on their first try. Anther 40% reached their goals after more than a few attempts. This is hard work, so keep your eye on your goal, and never give up! Not matter what your resolution, persistence pays off!

Your Friend In Health,

Victoria Schmitz

Author's Bio: 

Victoria Schmitz of Fitness By Victoria is an independent Health, Wellness, and Fitness Professional. Victoria Schmitz has been serving the fitness industry for over 25 years. She holds her Certifications through The Aerobics and Fitness Association of America as a personal trainer, fitness instructor and motivational coach.