How to Make Your New Year Fitness Resolution Stick

Hi everyone,

The new year is here and I bet a lot of us are keeping a short list of New Year resolutions. The thing is, by January 15th, a whole bunch of us are dropping out of the race. By March 31st, those who wrote down their New Year resolutions already forget what they are all about.

I know. I've done it so many times that I finally come to realize why my resolutions did not work in the past. The main reason is they are not specific enough. Another reason is the lack of rewards. And last but not least, resolutions need to be reminded and evaluated once in a while, too.

So, in 2012, I am determined to make one of my resolutions work. Yes, it is my fitness resolution. I know a lot of us want to lose those extra pounds and feel more energized. This method I am going to show you came from my 100-day fitness trial that I did last year. It worked for me well and I hope it will work for you as well.

For your fitness resolution, you need 3 things: specific goal, a set of rewards, and accountability. Here is how you do it:

1. Specific goal:

Most people would put their fitness resolution this way: I want to lose weight.

I know, so do I. But the main thing about that one is: it is not specific enough. You want to lose weight but how much do you want to get off your body? How long will it take? And last but not least: How would you do it?

Instead, your specific goal should be like this: I want to lose x (lbs/kg) by doing (insert type of exercise) y days a week for z days.

For example, my fitness resolution would be: I want to lose 30 lbs by doing a blend of exercises including cardio, Pilates, yoga, and weight training 4-5 days a week for most days in 2012.

Then, I would further break down my main goal. For example, I would dedicate January to do Hip-hop abs and as I get stronger, I would go on to P90X and such.

2. Rewards:

I used to put a smiling face on my calendar the day I worked out. At the end of the month, I would marvel at the calendar and be amazed at how many smilies I had. I knew for a month, I was being diligent and I had something to show.

However, as time goes by, things become harder. Sometimes, you need to bribe yourself in order to bring it. It is good to set some goals as you go. For example, after I finish my month-long of Hip-hop abs, I would probably get me a pedicure or a foot massage to celebrate. Then, to motivate myself to finish P90X, I would get something big, maybe a new pair of shoes from Adidas that I always want or a new pair of yoga pants.

Most importantly, your rewards should be in non-food/alcoholic/calorie-filled form. It is not a good advice to celebrate your 90 days of busting your booties with cake. No, not at all. Having a pedicure, massage, facial, or treating yourself to a mini session of retail therapy is more rewarding.

3. Accountability:

In the past, every time I did the new year fitness resolution, I failed simply because I did not acknowledge it. Now, with my blog, Twitter, Facebook, and even Google+, I have so many ways to let people know that I am exercising. Always, I am surprised at the amount of support I receive. Your replies to my exercise updates and tweets always make me feel energized.

I hope the new year is treating you kind and let's work on our fitness, shall we?

Dao xoxo