Last week, we introduced you to the history of New Year’s Resolutions. As promised, we will give you some tips on how to keep those New Year’s Resolutions and make 2015 the year you succeed!

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” ~ Aristotle

Aristotle was certainly onto something. The things we do on a daily basis, our habits and our lifestyle, determine our success. Making New Year’s Resolutions is just the start of your change, now you need to make a plan and put it into action. That’s why most people have given up on their goals by February – lack of proper planning.

First of all, be realistic with your time frame. All of this nonsense about “21 days to a new you” is simply that- nonsense. How long it takes you depends upon all kinds of factors, such as the goal you have set, your personal circumstances, and external components. Thinking it will only take you 30 days or it should only take you 30 days to achieve a goal is diminishing the real benefit of forming this new habit and making a lifestyle change.

When choosing a goal, certainly think big. People are often intimidated by their own goals, so break that one big goal into small, daily steps.  For instance, your goal is to run a marathon, but the longest distance you’ve ever logged was a 5K and that was six months ago. Each week, set a goal for the number of miles you will run or the number of days you will run.  Gradually adding running into your routine and slowly increasing the distance will allow you to adjust and 26.2 miles won’t seem so overwhelming.

Small, daily steps means small, daily steps. The saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day” is a reminder that it takes time. Setting small goals sets you up for success. Each day you’re working towards something, building the necessary skills and confidence.

“But I didn’t get to run yesterday.” Expect setbacks and plan accordingly. Minor setbacks are habit killers and we often use them as excuses to abandon our goals.  Don’t. Set yourself up for success by getting your running gear ready the night before and scheduling your run on your calendar just as you would a doctor’s appointment.  Even if this fails, don’t focus on what you didn’t do that day, focus instead on all the work you’ve already put in and get back on track. Beating yourself up is counterproductive. Forgive yourself and move forward.

Keep it simple and don’t try to do too much at once.  If you’ve ever renovated a home, you rarely gut everything all in one day.  You pick projects – first you remodel the kitchen, then the bathrooms, and then you start expanding the closet.  The same is true for your life. Trying to run a marathon, start a new career, and begin a family is asking a lot of yourself at one time.

Pick a goal for yourself. We are intrinsically motivated, which means we are best motivated to do things internally and not based on punishments or rewards. When people are motivated based on personal satisfaction, they are more likely to achieve a goal and make it habit. Certainly rewards such as a higher salary can motivate someone to change jobs, but their driving force and what will keep them at that new career is the challenge of the job and personal satisfaction they gain from the career.  How many times have you seen or heard of someone leaving a high paying job or what many consider a successful career for a completely different line of work? Determine what YOU want and go after it, not what someone else wants for you.

Metro Fitness Club hopes these tips will help you keep your New Year’s Resolutions or any goals you set for yourself throughout the year.  Make 2015 your best year yet!