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How many years have you made your New Year’s resolutions only to forget them all by about this time of year?

The parking lot at the gym, so full last week, might look like abandoned dessert right about now.

About half you made some kind of fitness and health resolution in 2018. And if you are like most people, almost all of you (about 90%) will give up on those resolutions by this weekend.

January is full of hope and opportunity to make change, set goals and improve our lives. Yet, if we are so full of focus in January 1, why are we back to our old routines come February?

We might be going about our resolutions in the wrong way. Too vague, too strict, too big. Consider these four different ways to look at resolutions:

Take small steps instead of giant leaps. The holidays are in the past but you now have a winter trip to take, and exposing ourselves in a bathing suit seems unheard of. You need to lose 15 pounds. Now. Before you jump on a juice cleanse, or other intense course of action to kickstart your weight loss (where you will be miserable and  gain all the weight back), take a breath and pick a few, small things, you can do right now. Add an extra day at the gym. Promise to cook at least one more dinner at home this week with recipes that have greens in them. Small, doable steps add up in the long run.

Make a promise, not a goal. Goals or resolutions can feel and sound very punishing, especially when it comes to our bodies. A promise, on the other hand, is a pact that is attached to a “why”. With yourself and with others. Rather than saying you need to lose weight, you can make a promise to start eating better because you know that losing weight will reduce your risk of diabetes and you want to make sure you around for your kids.

Consider the timing. I used to be one of those resolution makers too. I would get through the holidays with the inevitable five extra pounds and then do the drill sergeant talk with myself – part shaming, part scolding. That was it, the time had to be now. But even now, if I am to set a health goal with myself, my head, and my time, have to really be in the game. I want this to be a success, not a frustration. Is this the best time of the year to commit to making changes? Be realistic with yourself and start when you feel you can really focus.

Get rid of the female “should” syndrome. We women are natural givers. We want to please our kids, please our partners, make sure that our homes are running like a well oiled machine (or at least look that way). This sometimes occurs all at the expense of our own happiness. We jump into a  resolution, such as “I am going to start going to the gym three days a week”. Sounds good, but as we are walking out the door, that pile of laundry stares at you.  You stay home to fold laundry first and before you know it, the opportunity to get to the gym is gone. Let me let you in on a secret. Your kids really don’t care if the laundry is perfectly pressed on a Monday. They care that you are happy. Happy you makes everyone else happy.  Let’s start to lose the “I should” voice in our heads and start focusing more on us first. In the long run everyone will benefit.

Now, I would love to hear from you. How have your resolutions been going? What has gotten in your way? Share below!