By mid-January, we've finally rescued our routines from the holidays. That also means the changes we committed to only a couple of weeks ago seem daunting. For 2012, my resolution is (surprise, surprise) to nourish myself properly and continue to develop my fitness level. Chances are, this might be one of yours, too. To kick-start the year, I've committed to what I call my "January Challenge" - running 100 miles this month. Here's how I've stuck to it: 1. Set short-term goals. If your goal is weight-loss, start by setting goals for the month and then break it down by weeks. Remember, you don't have to measure in "pounds" - you're trying to be a healthier person and that journey looks different for everyone. Try measuring in trips to the gym or miles of cardio per week. You can also try setting specific maximums on your favorite indulgent food, or minimums on your daily fruit servings, for example. Whatever you decide, make it manageable and know that it might change as you go through the process.
2. Use your support circles in a way that works for you. You're trying to improve your life, so do it your way. I've read countless articles about starting your gym or diet routine with a friend to hold yourself accountable, but honestly, the idea of going to the gym with another person just makes me anxious. Instead, my friends keep me accountable because I've shared the January Challenge with them. When they ask me how it's going, I want to have great news to share. This motivates me to get my running shoes on.
3. Take control. Plan your "wiggle room" so you don't beat yourself up over it. Once in a while you're going to skip the gym to go out to dinner with friends or relax in front of the tube with your family, too cozy to move. These are equally important as your new routine - they make you happy and will help you refocus in the morning. For my January Challenge, I scheduled my treadmill sessions to finish the 100 miles in 4 weeks, giving me 3 extra days (any more would be too much) to make up for the times I stray from the schedule. Cause a girl's gotta have downtime, too!
4. Create a tiered reward system. If I finish the 100 miles in 4 weeks, I'm buying a new laptop or a digital piano - something BIG. If I reach 90 miles, I'll treat myself to a spa day. If I only hit 80 miles, I get a manicure, no more. You get the idea.
5. There's an app for that. In this day of mobile everything, you've got no excuses about keeping track. Try one of these apps. There are hundreds of digital tools to help you keep on top of your diet and exercise.
How do you stick to your goals? Have you learned any healthy recipes along the way? Let's help each other out!
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