Use these 5 expert tips to stay on track and stay motivated in 2019 with your New Year's resolutions.
New Year’s Day 2019 has arrived and with it millions and millions of resolutions have been made to surrender past vices and adopt a newer, better way of life. Resolutions most frequently involve giving up “bad” foods, eating right, and exercising more, but your new habit for the new year could also be committing to rekindling old friendships, donating your time and efforts to charity, or even something as simple as actively taking time to unplug from social media and just relax in the company of friends and family.
Whatever your New Year’s resolution for 2019 may be, we’ve got five tips to help you stay on track so that this year, your resolution isn’t still unfulfilled come 2019.
With that said, let’s get to our list of the top five things you can do to make your New Years resolution a reality!
5 Ways to Stay on Track and Stay Motivated
Out of the gate, you’re excited, you’re motivated, and (most importantly), you’re seeing results from your new healthy habits. But, after several weeks or perhaps even a couple of months, momentum and excitement start to dwindle and it’s at these times it becomes exceedingly easy to go off-track and spiral out of control.
NOT THIS YEAR!
Use these five expert tips to make that resolution stick, and it all begins with...
Write Down Your Goals (Be Specific!)
It’s said that “failing to plan is planning to fail.”
And nowhere does thing ring more true than with New Year’s resolutions. When the ball drops, you’re eager and chomping at the bit to get rolling on the changes you’ve set out to make.
Then, the excitement of New Year’s Eve fades and that brightly burning fire inside of you is nothing more than a smoldering.
Success begins with laying out a plan for how you are going to make your New Year’s Resolution come true.
This means you have to write down what goals you want to achieve over the course of the next 12 months. But, it’s also important how you write down your goals.
For example, a great many people make their New Year’s resolution to lose weight, but:
How much weight do you want to lose?
How long do you want to give yourself to accomplish this goal?
When you set goals, be specific.
Instead of saying “I want to lose weight”, what you should say is, “I want to lose 3 pounds this week” or “I want to lose 12 pounds by June.”
These specific goals can help to keep you focused on your goal, and once you have your specific goal set, you can then reverse engineer a plan to ensure you achieve your goal by the deadline.
Set Realistic Goals and Expectations
Building off the previous point, part of accomplishing your New Year’s resolution involves not only setting a specific goal, but also one that is realistic.
By that, you need to set a goal that you can actually accomplish in a given amount of time.
For example, if your resolution is to build muscle, you need to understand that building muscle takes considerably more time than losing fat, a great deal more time in fact. You also need to establish a realistic expectation of how much muscle you can build in a certain period of time.
In other words, don’t make the goal one that has you putting on 25 pounds of muscle in 12 weeks, it’s just not going to happen...even if you are a gym newb.
One of the main reason people get off track with their goals is that they don’t set realistic goals or have realistic expectations of how long it takes to achieve certain goals.
A huge part of achieving success and accomplishing your New Year’s resolution (or any goal for that matter) is having some common sense and setting achievable and attainable goals.
Now, this doesn’t mean you should avoid setting big goals, but you need to establish “mini milestones” along the way that set you on the path to accomplishing your big end goal. Accomplishing these mini-goals imbues you with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction as well as a hit of dopamine which motivates you to keep chasing after your big goal.
Remember, aiming high is admirable, but only if it’s something you’re truly passionate about and motivated to accomplish.
Don’t Let Perfect Be the Enemy of Good
So often when chasing a goal, we tend to let the slightest slip-up completely de-motivate us and derail us from our quest for success.
Yet, if we were to just step back and assess things from the “30,000-foot view”, we’d probably realize that that little mistake isn’t really all that big of a deal at all.
Nowhere is this more evident than when individuals try to adopt a new diet. Three weeks into the New Year and they’re right on track, avoiding those “bad” foods and eating all the micronutrient-dense ones.
But, a birthday party, anniversary, or some other special occasion comes along, and then you have one too many Swedish meatballs or a few extra drinks or some combination thereof.
We’ve been there too...trust us.
In the aftermath of your modest indulgence, you’ve probably given yourself a good bit of grief and negative talk. And, in the process of doing so, you’ve completely de-motivated yourself from the quest for health.
However, if you’d just stepped back for a second and realize that one little slip-up at one meal of the day isn’t the end of the world, you probably could have just shrugged it off, eaten less at your next meal, and been right back on track with your diet.
In times of these nutritional goofs, it’s important to understand that a little overeating here and there shouldn’t completely sabotage your goals.
Don’t believe us?
Then, consider this 2018 study investigating the real “damage” involved with short-term overfeeding, such as the kind you would do the week between Christmas and New Year’s.
For the study, researchers had 24 men adopt a 1,000 calorie surplus (high-fat diet consisting of 48% calories from fat (mostly saturated fat), 34% carbohydrate, and 18% protein. In addition to the calorie surplus, the test subjects were also instructed to perform minimal physical activity.
And, in case you were wondering, the 1,000 calorie surplus came from pure whipping cream, 341mL/day to be exact.
After all of this, you might expect this group of sedentary, overfed men to gain gobs of fat. But, here’s the thing, even after a week of skipping workouts and eating a 1,000 kcal surplus along with a less-than-ideal macronutrient split, they only gained an average of 0.5kg of fat.
In other words, even if you go completely off the rails and eat 1,000 calories per day above maintenance for an entire week (consisting mostly of fat), you’re really not that worse for wear.
Shake it off, get back on track with your healthy habits, and keep kicking ass the rest of the year.
Get Enough Sleep
Nothing is more critical to health, optimal daily function, and achieving your goals than getting a proper night’s sleep.
Today, we’re bombarded on all fronts by big screen TVs, laptop computers, smartphones, tablets, and every other kind of gadget and gizmo, all causing us to spend more time awake, and less time sleeping.
We understand that you have a specific number of things that “must” be accomplished each day, but being in a state of constant stimulation from alerts, texts, updates, and games makes getting to sleep that much more difficult. This is mostly due to the fact that the blue light emitted from all of those electronic devices suppresses melatonin production, which disrupts your circadian rhythm and impairs sleep quality and your ability to even go to sleep.
You should aim to get a minimum of 7-8 hours of high-quality sleep each night. The way to do that is by reducing your exposure to blue light (e.g. limiting your electronics usage 2 hours prior to bed).
The benefits of better sleep?
First and foremost, you’ll perform better mentally, physically, and emotionally. In other words, by getting adequate sleep, you’ll be able to lift more weight for more reps in the gym. You’ll be more productive at work. And, you’ll also have better insulin sensitivity coupled with fewer cravings throughout the day -- both of which aid fat loss and muscle growth.
Plus, when you get more sleep, you avoid the brain fog, irritability, lethargy, and fatigue that accompanies sleep deprivation.
Aside from avoiding blue light, here are a few other quick tips to help you get to sleep at night:
Establish a bedtime routine (go to bed the same time every night)
Make your room as dark as possible
Remove the TV and all other electronics from your room
Drink a cup of caffeine-free herbal tea before bed
Listen to relaxing music or do some light stretching
Buy comfortable sheets
Make your room chilly (66-69℉)
Have a scoop of EAA Sleep
When you start prioritizing sleep you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel and function each day!
Visualization is key to success.
Simply put, if you do not believe that you can achieve something, you will not.
To achieve your goals, it’s going to take a lot of hard work, commitment, and effort. The amount of effort and time it will take to accomplish your goals will also take longer if you first have to break a lot of old habits.
But, don’t let that deter you.
This is where the power of visualization comes in.
When you envision yourself having met your goal, you are training your mind for success.
For example, let’s say your goal was to lose 5 pounds in 5 weeks, but you’re struggling with motivation in your second week.
Instead of thinking of yourself as five pounds lighter, picture yourself stepping on the scale in the morning and seeing the number you want to on the scale. Imagine the sense of satisfaction and accomplishment you’ll feel at having achieved your goal. Think of how great you’ll look and feel when you see your reflection in the mirror.
Visualization helps motivate you when you’re not feeling like sticking to your eating plan or going to the gym.
Now remember, simply visualizing your accomplishments isn’t enough to actually complete them. You will have to put in actual work to make your dreams a reality, but visualization can be a powerful tool to help get you through those rough patches along your journey.
The Bottom Line on Staying Motivating with New Year’s Resolutions
A lot of New Year’s resolutions get made, and a very small fraction of them actually come true. Take time to seriously think about what is most important to you, what you want to accomplish, and what specific things you need to do to get there.
Use these five tips to stay on track with your new year’s resolutions so that 2019 is your most successful year ever!
Ott B , et al. "Short-Term Overfeeding with Dairy Cream Does Not Modify Gut Permeability, the Fecal Microbiota, or Glucose Metabolism in Young Healthy Men. - PubMed - NCBI." National Center for Biotechnology Information, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29378051.