Updated: Mar 20, 2020
Diet change, weight loss, healthier lifestyle, no fast-food, less sugar, etc, are amongst the most common New Year’s resolutions every year. According to a survey by Inc Magazine, those items are present in 71% of new year’s resolutions lists across the U.S. According to the same survey, “about 60 percent of us admit that we make New Year's resolutions but only about 8 percent of us are successful in achieving them.”
I must admit I can’t relate much to those that actually write down new goals and new aspirations every time the calendar switches from December to January, but I 100% sympathize with the idea of actually taking action and committing to a new goal. But what are the secrets to keeping up with the goals we put on paper? How can we make sure we stay on track throughout the whole year without falling for the day-to-day excuses and traps we might get ourselves caught up on during the year?
In this article I will give you some tips and some of my favorite methods to make sure I don’t fall and fail on my goals during the entire year. Whether you’ve signed up to a new sports team, half marathon, weight loss program or other fitness challenge, here’s my top tips on how to make sure you succeed and stay on track for a successful year!
1 - Be Honest
It’s important to be honest with yourself and not set extremely impossible goals. Have in mind your schedule, work and how everything is going to be running while you are planning on making dietary changes. It’s easy to write down goals on paper but very tough to keep up with them if your specific schedule doesn’t allow you to.
2 - Short-Term vs. Long-Term
One of the most important pieces of advice I can give you is to set a short-term and a long-term goal. The short-term would be something you can follow up on a daily basis making sure you are working towards a bigger long-term goal. For example: “I’m currently able to finish a 1000 yards swimming workout. By the end of the year I want to be able to finish a 5000 yards swim workout. I can only swim 3x/week and I only have 2hr/day.” - Now, according to that specific schedule, how can you adjust and start small on a daily basis so that by the end of the year you are able to complete the entire 5000 yards all at once in a 2hr swimming session?
3 - Track Your Progress and Celebrate Small Wins
Make sure you’re aware of your small daily wins that will help you stay on track for your long-term goal. Rewarding yourself every other week or month will also help you still keep this process enjoyable. It’s all about enjoying the process and not beating yourself up to follow “rules”. I personally can track my progress by checking in with my personal doctor and my nutritionist every 2 weeks, but I suggest you have a journal or an app on your phone to help you with tracking a list of daily goals. Being aware of your progress is key.
4 - Control What You Can Control
Like I said, making sure you set honest goals is a great part of it. In case something happens along the way, don’t panic nor lose control of the situation. One of the major things swimming has taught me is to control what I can control and not dwell on what I have zero power. If your flight is delayed and you need to break the diet by eating at the airport, or if you have an important lunch with a client at work and absolutely needs to break the diet for that, DON’T WORRY. Going on dates with your friends and family and eating at your favorite restaurant every once in a while won't kill you either. Control what you can control. Find the balance and try to stay on track as much as possible.
5 - Tell Those Around You
Let your family and friends know. It might make it a lot easier if they are all on the same track and supporting you through your new fitness journey. Or even better, get them involved! Even if they don’t want to take part in the fitness challenge itself, they could join you on a few training sessions, or cooking fitness meals with you every once in a while, helping to keep you motivated!
6 - Be Patient and Remember WHY You Started
Nothing will be achieved overnight. Specially a new diet plan or new fitness challenge. Being patient is the last item on this list but perhaps the most important one. Remembering WHY you started is also crucial in terms of your long-term goal. Maybe it won’t look like you're progressing from one week to another but when you look at things from a different perspective, from months to months for example, you will notice a massive difference.
Persistence is key. By following the steps about I guarantee you will be able to achieve any goal you set yourself to do throughout the year. I’d go a little further and suggest you have someone else, like a friend, sibling, parents, family members, anyone who has the same goal as you and willing to go through the same changes, to help each other by holding each other accountable. One of my favorite things about swimming is that even though it is an individual sport in terms of results, we train as a group, where everyone helps each other to get better everyday.
If you are making switches on your diet, look for products that will help you achieve your goals too. Like I mentioned in this article, luckily there are already healthier options of foods and drinks on the market that can help people get their essential vitamins and minerals without the extra calories. Products like whole grain rice or pasta, oats, fat-free or low-fat dairy, zero-sugar yogurt are already available on any market and can drastically help with the switch to a healthier lifestyle and stay consistent.
In case you are like me and like to practice sports or physical activities on a daily basis, there are also electrolyte replacement products available that are low-sugar and low-calories. Hydra-Guard Sports Drink for example is a great way of replenishing your essential electrolytes after a workout but keeping the calorie count low and consuming only 5g of natural sugars per bottle. You could use the code PM10 for a special 10% discount on their website, and I also recommend you to subscribe to their newsletter because they are always releasing special codes for even higher discounts on their products.