Feb 07, 2018 12:00 AM

What do you hope to accomplish in 2018? Is it mastering the art of juggling? Perhaps you hope to pay off student loans or tour New Zealand? Almost half of us (41 percent) made New Year’s resolutions this year, and out of the top 11 goals we traditionally set for ourselves, four of them center around better health. But with over 40 percent of us failing to realize our goals, how can we reignite the motivation to regain focus toward achieving our New Year’s resolutions?

According to Leslie Podlog, PhD of University of Utah’s Exercise and Sport Science department, it’s never too late to get back on track with goal-setting, especially those that encourage healthy habits. He shared four ways we can get recommit to our healthy New Year’s resolutions. 

Find Support

People tend to stay committed to a goal when there’s an audience or when there are people counting on us to accomplish our goals. But not all support offers a positive influence. “Most people don’t get the support they need,” Podlog says. “And if they do get it, it’s not always the right kind of support.” Be selective with whom you share your personal goals. If your support is overly critical or discourages you from trying, they need to hit the road. “When we are feeling less steady, a word of acknowledgment that we are doing well and moving the needle can go a long way toward keeping our motivation alive,” says Amy Jen Su.

Focus on Value, Not Rewards

When you are trying to fit into a pair of skinny jeans, you might set a goal to work out at every morning at 6 a.m. The fact that you can sleep in and just buy a larger size can easily jeopardize your motivation. Podlog said selecting a goal is just the first step. “People set the goal, but they haven’t personally invested in that goal. They are focusing on external factors rather than making the goal personally valuable.”

Instead of focusing on extrinsic motivators, try working toward a desire for physical fitness and longevity, more time with your family, or energy to do all of the things you want to do.

Make Attainable Goals

Every year, you might declare that this will be the year you complete an IronMan competition. But ask yourself this: Do you normally run more than a mile? Do you own/use a bike? Do you even like swimming in open water? Maybe there’s a reason your goal remains unclaimed year after year. Experts recommend using the SMART model to design goals that are more realistic and achievable: Goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based.

Make Enjoyable Goals

Who says fitness goals have to include running or CrossFit? Nobody. “Identify sources of enjoyment related to exercise,” said Podlog. You may prefer line dancing over CrossFit or walking with friends. Just remember that fitness goals don’t always have to be weight-loss related. “Connect your lifestyle goal to specific exercise goals. For example, choose to exercise because it will help you achieve another goal or activity and enjoy it more.”

Okay, we may be one month late on our fitness goals. So what? It’s never too late to get started. Remember, the ultimate goal is to make lifelong changes that can become a healthy part of our lives for the rest of this year and beyond.

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