New Year’s Resolution Action Plan

Written by Lynn Bode, CFT

Resolutions_290x220Creating a new year’s resolution can be a great idea, especially if you are resolving to get healthier (weight loss and exercise are the top resolutions made). But if you don’t have an action plan it may be doomed before it ever gets started. Unfortunately, the majority of individuals who make a new year’s resolution end up breaking it. By February, nearly half have already failed.

The following shows how many of these resolutions are maintained as time goes on:
1) Past the first week: 75%
2) Past 2 weeks: 71%
3) After one month: 64%
4) After 6 months: 46% (1)

But don’t let those stats convince you to plop down on your couch with a bag of chips. People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions. (1) So, if you want to lose weight or just get more fit this year, then resolving to do so may be beneficial to you. Just make sure you have an action plan that helps ensure your success.

A Department of Labor survey of adults asked them to identify the biggest issue that prevents them from achieving their New Years Resolutions or goals. The top 3 reasons identified were as follows:
1) Procrastinating 33%
2) Lack of discipline 24%
3) No game plan 19%.

Here is a specific action plan for diet and fitness related resolutions that will help eliminate these three top issues.

  • Find a positive support system
    For some, family may be just what they need. But, if your family members are struggling with the same diet or weight loss issues as you and aren’t ready to commit themselves to change, then you might want to look elsewhere. Friends may also be an option, but again if they are struggling with their own issues then you might want to enlist other help. Try finding a local support group of like-minded people, go online for a virtual support group or seek out the help of a professional personal trainer or dietician.
  • Don’t put off tomorrow what you can do today
    One of the biggest obstacles new dieters/exercises face is just getting started. If you continue to say “I’ll start tomorrow”, then you may find that tomorrow never comes. You repeatedly push it off and before you know it another year has passed by while you remain in the same place you were before. If you promise to start tomorrow, then do it! Don’t allow any other “priority” to get in the way. At the risk of sounding cliché, Just Do It!
  • Start a new exercise plan slowly but remain consistentand build up on it. Follow this example:
    • Week 1: Walk for 20- 30 minutes just 2 times per week.
    • Week 2: Increase your walking frequency to 3 times per week. Add in one day of strength training. Try 5-10 exercises to target your entire body.
    • Weeks 3-4: Maintain the three days of walking and increase the strength training to two times per week.
    • Weeks 5-6: Increase the intensity of your walk sessions by increasing the speed and/or increasing the incline. If possible, walk four times per week and strength train 3 times per week.
    • Weeks 7-8: Time to change things up to keep your body challenged and avoid plateaus and burnout. Try adding a different cardio option at least two times per week (swimming, jogging, playing a sport, etc.). For the strength training, try new techniques like pyramids or supersets. You may need to enlist the help of a personal trainer for new ideas.
  • Start a new diet plan slowly but consistently. Avoid labeling any foods as “bad”. Eat a variety but in moderation and include more of the nutritionally dense foods.
    • Week 1: Improve your hydration through your daily water intake. Try to consume approximately 64 ounces per day.
    • Week 2: Add in one extra vegetable a day until you are eating 5 servings of vegetables every day.
    • Week 3: Include one serving of lean protein at every meal.
    • Week 4: Limit starches and sweets (simple carbohydrates).

Find more help with weekly dietary guideline advice.

The above exercise and diet recommendations give you a substantial game plan for your first two months. All you have to do is implement it.   Post this action plan on your refrigerator or somewhere else that will force you to look at it every day. And, mark every action on your daily calendar to ensure it doesn’t get bumped by some other priority.

Also, remember that setbacks are normal and should not spell disaster for your resolution. If you are following your game plan 90% of the time and only 10% of the time falling off the wagon, then pat yourself on the back and cut yourself a little slack! If you find yourself starting to really wane from the plan, then tap back into what helped you initially get motivated. Don’t give up. Just start where you can (even if that’s taking a few steps backward) and head toward your goal.

If you’d like the help of a guide who can personally help you reach your goals this year, help is available, and free! Contact an email mentor today and they will help you. (This is a free and confidential service.)

(1) Source: Auld Lang Syne: Success predictors, change processes, and self-reported outcomes of New Year’s resolvers and nonresolvers, by John C. Norcross, Marci S. Mrykalo, Matthew D. Blagys , University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology, Volume 58, Issue 4 (2002).

8 Responses to “New Year’s Resolution Action Plan”

  • Susan says:

    Dear All,

    This is really a great post. Taking this into action is the main part. I agree with Kathryn like physical health we must focus on our spiritual health. If we discipline ourselves for spiritual health/growth (like set a time to study the word of God, worship Him, pray for others etc..etc..)then we can automatically maintain the same lifestyle/discipline for our physical health also. Am I right my friends?

  • Rashid says:

    Hi all
    This is very good topic which is very deep connected to our most level of life in term of relationship.
    First of a pear ancestors should be desire and wish on personal level to be healthy appearance healthy family and healthy children I think we should not do it because we want to please someone it should be on personal level. That is why woman play important role in family life. That’s why when God created woman from ribs of man and I believe He took out something that make men depend on woman I pray to mighty God to male us understand the complex life and start living positive and happy life in Jesus name Amen

  • Kathryn Kathryn says:

    Not as many comments here as I would have expected but it is good to see sound advice being offered here for physical health. I find that as a Christian I also need to take care of my spiritual health, especially as I believe this to be even more important in view of the promise of eternal life to all who accept Christ as Lord and Saviour. Just like the physical side though, if we don’t take care and pay attention to good health tips, we can also decline rapidly in our spiritual health so one thing I and many others do is to spend time daily learning from the Maker himself who created us then putting into practice the tips I feel He is showing me to live out in my life. There are so many ways we can do this so look for one that will keep you on the right track for eternity. Search the pages here and you will find plenty to interest, encourage and satisfy you as well as put you right for the future.

  • Morgan Dowd says:

    I want to provide volunteering in the community.

  • Morgan Dowd says:

    I want to provide a positive support system.

  • Jesslyn says:

    Hi all,
    would like to touch on your point about finding a positive support system for motivation. Other than family, friends and colleagues support, you can also look out for gyms like Curve. This is one place where women come together to exercise, motivate each other and make friends at the same time :)

  • Harry says:

    Great post! Having a structured plan for weight loss is very critical to lose weight. And this is the reason why most people are unable to lose weight because they simply want to lose weight but never take action.

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