ten best

by Keith Barber

Randomly compiled by Keith T. Barber

TEN BEST! Ways to keep your New Year’s resolutions

Be specific Try to avoid making declarations like, “I’m going to shed 30 pounds this year,” or “I’m going to write a novel.” Instead, focus on concrete changes to your lifestyle that will assist you in writing a couple of pages of your novel a day or lose a couple of inches from your waistline. For example, make a personal vow to eat breakfast every day, lift weights three to four times a week, and set aside three hours a day to work on personal projects. Focus on making small changes and reap the rewards, which will motivate you to take the next step.

Rely on the expertise of others If your goal is to get in better shape and lose weight, remember that one size does not necessarily fit all when it comes to workout routines or diets. There are literally thousands of diet books and hundreds of fitness programs. The best approach is to enlist the help of an expert, either a nutritionist or a personal trainer. Accountability and sustainability are the keys to success when it comes to reaching your nutrition and fitness goals.

Avoid absolutes Be careful of the words “always” and “never.”

For example, rather than swearing off sweets for the rest of your life, create a weekly plan to allow yourself some wiggle room while continuing to work toward your goals. Commit to your nutrition goals 100 percent during the week, and establish one night a week to enjoy a decadent dessert.

The buddy system Find a friend or loved one with whom you can share the adventure of your new diet or workout regimen. Simply knowing that you’re not going through it alone is a tremendous source of strength when you’re tempted to backslide. If you have someone to encourage you and hold you accountable, you increase your chances of success exponentially.

Be creative If your goal is to get 30 minutes of cardio per day, you can break it up into three 10-minute sessions. And you don’t have to be inside a gym to exercise. You can go for a walk, ride your bike, run or walk/run up flights of stairs at work.

Write it down Putting something down on paper is yet another helpful tool to keep you on track with your resolutions because it serves as a point of reference. If you don’t currently keep a personal journal, now is the perfect time to start one. Enumerate your personal goals for 2012 and track your progress on a daily basis. Celebrate the small victories. Each day you remain on your new diet is a commendable achievement, so pat yourself on the back as often as you can.

Make a vision board Buy a piece of poster board and assemble images or motivational words clipped out of newspapers or magazines. This will be your vision board. By looking at the board each day, you will replenish your inner fuel tank with passion, drive and motivation.

Pay attention to detail “Be prepared” is the Boy Scout motto and when it comes to a new diet or a major personal goal, doing the grunt work is essential to success. For example, if you’ve embarked on a new diet that limits carbohydrate intake, prepare food in advance and make sure to have quick snacks like nuts, fresh fruit and hardboiled eggs at all times.

Don’t let small set backs get you down “To err is human, to forgive divine,” said Alexander Pope. Sometimes the hardest person in the world to forgive is ourselves. If you cheat on your diet, miss a workout or go a whole week without working on your personal project, learn how to bounce back quickly. Resiliency is key to achieving your goals in 2012.

Find ways to stay motivated The January motivation only lasts so long.

It’s easy to be excited about a new challenge but the true test is developing healthy lifelong habits. The key is mixing things up in the gym, in the kitchen or out in the big, beautiful world. Happy New Year, everybody!