Year after year people make New Year’s resolutions they cannot keep. We see this at the WK Fitness & Wellness Centers each year. From January to March our Centers are packed with members with good intentions. At the end of March our numbers have dwindled. There is only so much our trainers can do to motivate and encourage. In the end, the real success to adopting a lifestyle of healthy living is up to the individual.

My older sister is a good example of this. She has struggled with her weight throughout the years. Only in the past few years has she been able to lose weight and keep if off and make choices that lead to a healthier lifestyle. She has told me that she feels healthier now at age 70 than she ever did when she was younger. What has made her so successful? Here are some things that worked for her:

  1. No New Year’s resolution. She doesn’t make one because she doesn’t need a special day to decide to incorporate some healthy routines into her daily life. She saw the folly in quick fixes and fads; instead, she has chosen consistent healthy living. Several years ago she set a goal to lose 10 pounds a year. She vowed to be consistent with her health goals not just day to day or month to month but year to year.
  2. Avoiding buffets. I once told her that I thought it was okay to go to a buffet if you just ate salad. She responded, “I don’t go to buffets. That’s like sending an alcoholic into a bar.”
  3. Avoiding diet drinks. I told her that a lot of people lose weight by drinking diet drinks instead of “the real thing.” She responded, “People need to choose water, not diet [drinks].”
  4. Fresh food. My sister plants a big garden every year. She believes in eating fresh fruits and vegetables and would never eat a casserole because of all the added fat and calories. She told me if she opened the refrigerator and saw an apple and an apple pie, she would choose the apple pie. “So don’t have the apple pie in there in the first place,” she said.
  5. Exercise. My sister has worked out consistently for years, three times weekly with a group exercise water class and two to three days walking.

Don’t give yourself a specific date to achieve your resolutions this year. Don’t deprive yourself or set impossible standards. Doing so is just setting yourself up for failure. Revamp your new year’s resolution into a lifestyle resolution.

Extra Fitness Tip: Years ago after a friend of mine had lost weight he made the remark to me that when he had achieved his weight goal of 180 pounds he could never go back to eating like he did at 220 pounds or he would weigh 220 pounds. Maintaining your weight is a lifetime process.