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I can’t lie, I am a New Year’s resolutions junkie. Every year I make between 25 and 50 resolutions. Three years ago I met my resolution of losing 45 pounds and getting back in shape. I maintained it right up until I got pregnant again. Here I am two years later with a 10-month-old daughter and ready to tackle my resolution of getting back into shape. Here are the the tips I used to be successful the first time around and that I am using this time.
- Do your kind of exercise. Hate running? Get off the treadmill. You will never stick with something you dread. Instead find an activity you love. Try Zumba, try exercising on the Wii Fit, walk with friends or do cardio ballet. There are so many options out there. Find one that works for you. My husband really struggled to work out until he found Tae Bo four years ago. Now he works out every day no problem. Personally, I like to challenge myself with a high step count every day.
- Find an accountability partner. When you are just accountable to yourself it is easy to let your goal slip. When you have a friend waiting at the gym for you it is much harder to hit your alarm one more time. Having an accountability partner will not only make you more likely to hit your goals, but can make trying new exercises less scary.
- Pick a schedule that works for you. I am not a morning person. At all. There is nothing I hate more than an alarm clock going off before my kids are up. It sets me up to be grumpy all day. Instead I work out at night. Work out when you are most likely to do it. If hitting the gym in the morning works for you, do it. If you would rather work out after the kids are in bed, that works too!
- Invest in your goal. Buy the running shoes you need. Having the right workout clothes does matter. One of the things that works really well for me is to challenge myself with a high step count every day. In order to do that I invested in a pedometer. Now I use a phone that has a built in pedometer which I love. Good headphones, audiobooks or music playlists and a exercise arm band for your phone are all great investments that will help keep you motivated.
- Set deadlines. A year is a long time. Saying you want to lose 15 pounds this year gives you a lot of time to procrastinate. Instead, set mini deadlines. Commit to losing a couple pounds a month until you hit your goal. It will keep you on track and not leave you cramming around the holidays. Also, set goals within your goals. So you want to lose 15 pounds this year? Good for you! How are you going to do that? Are you going to walk 20,000 steps a day? Are you going to only have one cheat day a week? Make smaller goals that will help you achieve your big goals.
- Record your progress. Write down how many steps you walk each day, or your weight each day. Anything that will help you see progress will make you want to continue. My husband recently lost 20 pounds and he says his biggest motivator was writing down his weight each day in a spreadsheet. He turned this data into a graph which helped him notice trends and make necessary adjustments to break through plateaus.
- Reset your routine. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator actually saves you time every day, and remember that every step counts. Instead of sitting on the bench the next time you take your kids to the park, play with them. Run the steps on the playground and push them on the swing. Your kids will be thrilled and you will be burning calories.
- Be realistic. Losing 10 pounds a month or running five miles every day when you have never run before is not realistic and can set you up for failure. Be honest with yourself with what you can do today. And do it. As you achieve realistic goals you will be closer to the large goals. Are you realizing that some of your goals might have been unrealistic? Don’t be afraid to scale them back. Don’t go easy on yourself, but don’t be afraid to admit you need to scale back. Don’t be afraid to start again. Did you completely fall off the wagon this week? Don’t wait until January 1st again, start again today. You will be happy you didn’t wait.
- Get enough sleep. Did you know when you are sleep deprived you eat about 500 more calories a day. Think about how much easier it would be to reach your goals if you simply got the sleep you needed. Many people struggle to fall asleep because of all the distractions in their bedroom. So simplify! Don’t have a TV in your bedroom, use your room only for sleeping, and don’t look at digital screens an hour before bed to give your brain time to turn off.
- Stay hydrated. Water is one of the single most important details to your fitness goals, but we so often neglect it. Giving yourself water deadlines by writing times on your water bottle is a great way to make sure you are on track throughout the day. I also loving adding frozen fruit to my water. It keeps it cold and gives it a great taste that I can’t help but drinking. Another great way to keep your body hydrated is to add a hydration powder like DripDrop. This can be found in the baby aisle at CVS and is a great cost-effective solution that helps treat mild to moderate dehydration such as after a workout, or when you are feeling sick. It is a safe medical grade solution that can be used in children as young as 1.
- Take up a sports hobby. Not only is exercising great for your body but taking up a sport or hobby will help keep you motivated and engaged in what you are doing. Taking up a sport will give you something to look forward to, it will help keep you active, and it could even help form lasting friendships. If you don’t know what sport to choose, why not research the different possibilities until you find one that speaks to you? Invest in batting cages to practice your home run, join a basketball league to hone your 3-pointer, or take up a martial art like Karate. Whatever it is that you choose, make sure that you have fun while doing it! This could be the motivator you need to stay consistent and reach your fitness goals. Getting back into shape takes time, but it doesn’t have to be excruciating. Two months into the year and I am down 10 pounds and feeling really good. I think making hydration my number one goal has improved things immensely for me. What are your favorite fitness hacks?