How to Keep Those New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year 2013

The New Year is right around the corner (wow, is it really 2013?) and it’s time for New Year’s Resolutions!

Right at the top of many people’s list is Lose Weight or Get In Shape.  Gyms will be packed out the first week of the new year, and the second… most of January… but then the numbers will start to fall.  According to the folks at Franklin Covey, who conduct a survey on New Year’s Resolutions, only 25% of people making resolutions to themselves kept them and over 35% of those resolutions didn’t survive to the end of January.  Two of the biggest reasons people have for not keeping with their commitments were that they had too many other things going on already and they just simply weren’t committed to their resolution in the first place.

But you don’t have to fall into the ranks with those that couldn’t keep it going.  There are a few tips to make keeping your resolutions easier.

  1. Be Specific.  A resolution like Get In Shape is so broad that it’s hard to keep it.  So many things can fall under getting in shape that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.  Instead, try setting a goal like, “I will walk for 30 minutes a day 3 days per week”.  30 minutes X 3 days is a measurable goal.  When you can see progress being made towards your goal it’s a lot easier to keep at it.
  2. Make a plan.  Write it down or type it up but this goes hand in hand with being specific about your goal.  Give yourself steps to take to get to your goal and make sure to check each step off as you completed.  Hey, even adults feel better seeing a gold star on their homework.
  3. Be committed to your goal.  If you kinda, sorta want to quit smoking but you really enjoy cigarettes and you’re only doing it because your SO keeps nagging you then you probably shouldn’t make quitting smoking one of your resolutions.  However, if you’ve been smoking for 15 years and you know it’s killing you and you’ve had enough and are ready to kick the habit then rock on, you can do it.  But remember #1 and be specific in how you’re going to do it, it will make keeping at it much easier.
  4. Tell a friend and ask them for support.  Many people underestimate how powerful this can be.  Having a friend or group of friends that can help support you makes a world of difference.  With today’s technology there are even sites where you can have 100’s of friends there to help support you for various things.  Find a forum, an app, a support group or whatever works for you where you don’t go it alone.
  5. Don’t expect yourself to work miracles.  If you’ve got a list with 20 resolutions you’re bound to have some that get broken.  Even worse, the stress of such an overwhelming task could cause you to give up on goals you would have otherwise kept.  Make a short list of goals that are important to you and that are attainable, then kick ass on following through on them.

This list is by no means all-inclusive, and a bit of Google searching is likely to give you several great suggestions as well.  I’ve applied these principles to my weight loss goals and can say they definitely work.  I struggled for many years without a clear plan or goal but once I put some definition to things it helped tremendously.

If losing weight is your resolution there are a lot of great tools available online to help you along the way.  I use MyFitnessPal.com, Fitocracy.com and Runkeeper.com to track my calories and exercise.  Not only do they help keep me on track but there’s a strong community on each site that helps to keep you motivated and give you tips and the discussion forums give some great info as well.

I hope everyone had an awesome 2012 and that your 2013 exceeds all your expectations!

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Weight loss progress pics. What a difference a year can make!

Progress!

Progress!

I really thought I posted this here already.  Didn’t I?  I meant to.  Oh well, here we go…

Each week when I weigh in I take a front and side shot of myself.  I was comparing the pics this week and really started to see the weight loss in my face.  Decided to dig back through some pics and found a few that are good representatives of my previous states.  I actually started getting fit in September of 2011, I just couldn’t find a pic around then so I had to dig back to February.  I really started to work at things in January 2012 so these pics show the results of about a year’s worth of effort.

I hit a plateau recently, about 4 weeks at the same weight, and seeing these pics was really encouraging.  It’s easy to stay motivated when you’re seeing progress each week.  Now, now… I know the scale isn’t the only story when you’re losing weight and I can say that even though the scale wasn’t moving my clothes continue to get looser (more loose?) and I keeping punching new holes in my belt to make it smaller – so there was still progress.  But as anyone who’s lost weight or tried to lose weight knows, it’s easier know the scale isn’t the only way to see progress than it is to get your brain to be OK with that.

With the input of some great Fitocrats (check out Fitocracy.com if you have no idea what I’m talking about) I made a few adjustments and got off that plateau, but I’m sure I’ll hit one again.  Being able to look at things like this and see how far I’ve come is a huge help when I’m feeling stuck.  It reminds me that if I made it this far I can go the distance.

I’ve lost over 100 pounds… and got quite a shock at the doctor’s office.

Not my actual feet... or weight.

Not my actual feet… or weight.

Yesterday was a bit crazy.  I went to the doctor for an annual check up, I was actually looking forward to going as I’d lost 78 lbs (or so I thought) and she’d urged me in the past to lose weight.  Since she hadn’t seen me in a year it would be a pretty noticeable change.  Cool.

The last time I saw her was September 2011.  The nurse checked me in and went through the typical stuff – blood pressure, pulse check, any meds, weighing me… uh oh, they want me to step on a scale.  So I step up, wait a second and look at the digital display, it read [ — ].  Over the limit.  Damn.  I didn’t even look at the weight limit on the scale, I just stepped off and moved on, the nurse asked me how much I weighed and I gave her my guesstimate.  She looked at me a bit funny and I figured my guesstimate must have been less than the scale’s limit, however I didn’t ask and she didn’t question my answer.  I didn’t know for sure my starting weight, I didn’t buy a scale until I knew I’d lost a good bit, then I weighed and took a guess at how much I thought I’d loss.  I’ve never been very good at estimating weight, obviously.

Now it’s October 2012 and time for my follow-up visit.  The nurse greets me and we head to the scale.  I step on an it pops up 393, which is 7 lbs more than my scale at home but I’m fully clothed so I’m guessing we’re pretty close.  This time I decided to check the limit on the scale, I was shocked when I saw that it was 500 lbs.  What?!  Did I read that right?  Maximum weight 500 lbs.  I was shocked.  Now I see why she looked at me oddly when I guesstimated my weight at 465 the previous year.  I can’t believe I weighed over 500 lbs at my heaviest.  It’s hard to admit, it’s embarrassing.  I actually think that scale did me a favor last year by not registering my actual weight, not sure I could have handled it at the time.  I go in the exam room and wait on the doctor.  When she walked in the firs thing she said was, “You’ve lost weight.”  Nice.  She commented that she could really see it in my face.    Just to make sure I wasn’t going crazy about the scale I asked her if I read the max weight correctly at 500 lbs, she said I had.  I asked her if they’d replaced the scale since last year, they hadn’t.  My 1/4 ton+ starting weight was confirmed – and I didn’t like it one bit.

However, on the bright side of things I’ve actually lost 107+ lbs and I am damn proud of that.  I will do everything within my power to never see a 4 as the first digit in my weight again and I sure as hell am not going to see a 5… and not just because the scale won’t read that high. ;-)  That visit in 2011 was my first step to getting my life on track, taking control of some things that had gotten out of control.  I’m proud to say a year later I have made major, major changes in my life.  I’ve changed what I eat, how much I eat, my physical activity and my sleep patterns and the sum total of these actions means I’ve lost 107 pounds in the last year and on my way to even more.  As shocked as I was to find out my true starting weight it will also be a huge motivator to never go back there again.  I’ve made permanent changes in my life, I can’t wait to see where I am a year from now.