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Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

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Many people make New Year’s resolutions but a large number of them don’t keep them. According to Shape Magazine, “about 40 percent of Americans make a life-enhancing vow on January 1st and half of this percentage relapse within the first 21 days.”

One of the most popular resolutions is to lose weight. Ever notice how just after the first of the year, it is a struggle to find a parking spot at the gym? Ever feel frustrated that there is suddenly a shortage of fitness equipment or lack of room in your favorite class?

My friend likes to call this, the case of the New-Vals. These are the new gym members that join at New Years but drop off by Valentine’s Day.

It is sad but true. I know that if I plan ahead and go to the gym a little early at the beginning of the year, I will still get a parking spot in addition to working out where I want to, without waiting. But this is usually not necessary much past March.

After that, things around the gym pretty much go back to normal. Normal for me but what about the new members? What about the broken resolutions?

Of course, over the years I have made resolutions that I have not kept. I have made plenty of my own fitness goals, some I accomplished and some I did not.

What was the difference? How can I keep my New Year’s resolutions? For me, the answer was simple. Small steps produced the best results.

If you want a new job, commit to spending 15 minutes a day researching job opportunities and potential networking events. Make the plans to attend the events once a month (or whatever goal that seems feasible).

If fitness or weight loss is your goal, be specific with what you want to accomplish and what steps you will take to do so. Instead of making an initial resolution to lose 20 pounds, set the goal of losing two to three pounds a month by exercising five times a week and keeping a food journal to manage your diet. Seeing results will keep you motivated.

You may want to keep a log of your efforts to keep from feeling discouraged. I like to write down my goals and my progress. It helps.

What happens if you feel like you are failing? Revise your goal.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.