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We Asked the Experts How to Crush Your New Year’s Resolutions

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The champagne is all popped. The New Year has been rung.

Now what?

This is a strange time of year, isn’t it? We’ve all spent the past month (and maybe longer depending on when you started your holiday revelry) indulging, celebrating, laughing and enjoying life to the full. And this is how it should be. Ringing in the end of the year with friends and family is a joyous time, meant to be savored. Most of us don’t calorie count at a party and this isn’t a time of year when we crank out new goals to be attained and to work toward.

But the New Year? That’s when we get busy. We make plans. We start regimes. We join accountability groups. We diet. We work out. We do it all.

Why? One word—resolutions.

Yes, this is the time of year for New Year’s resolutions. Whether yours is to lose weight, get healthy, find love, find peace or get that promotion, this is the time of year where we lay our plans out and set some big goals.

But how do we do when it comes to achieving them? Sadly, not so great. It is reported that some 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. Yes, you read that right. FEBRUARY. And furthermore, while an awful lot of us make resolutions (some 40 percent), only a teeny tiny fraction achieve them (just 8 percent). It appears as if most of us are in a cycle of making resolutions and then breaking them and we want to help you figure out how to stop it.

So we did some digging here at The Grit and Grace Project to find out how to keep our resolutions on track and stay the course to become one of that coveted 8%. We turned to our resident health professionals and some experts in the field and gathered their advice on how to achieve our New Years Resolutions:

The New Year — this is when we get busy. We make plans. We start regimes. We join accountability groups. We diet. We work out. We do it all.

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Dr. Zoe Shaw

Image result for dr zoe shawDr. Zoe Shaw is our resident psychotherapist, relationship expert, and contributing writer. In order to find our New Year’s resolutions, she thinks we need to find our why and keep it close:

“The very most important thing that many people don’t incorporate into their New Year’s resolutions (and why they often fail) is their WHY. Your why should drive your resolution more than the act of changing your behavior itself. Without the why, your motivation goes down very quickly when the tough job of doing the thing sets in. My biggest tip is to get crystal clear about the reason you have the desire to create the resolution to begin with. Ask yourself why? Take a moment, then ask yourself why again. It’s the deeper why that motivates change. Not the superficial why. Write it down. Post it in visible places. Recite it daily. Then, as you are making changes, you must start small with a detailed plan to build up to your eventual goal. The race goes to the persistent, not the one who blasts out of the starting line! And yes, it is totally possible to keep your New Year’s resolution. You just have to be super intentional about it.”

Kristin Hillman

The FASTer Way to WeightLoss Coach and fitness expert agrees with Dr. Zoe Shaw. Finding your why is the way to go:

“Most people will be trying to figure out how to get back on track with their own health and fitness goals after the many fun and festive events over Christmas. We should always allow ourselves the freedom and grace to enjoy food, drinks, and activities during special celebrations. The key to jumping right back into working towards your own health and fitness goals is to know WHY. Why you started on your journey and keep a way to measure your progress (or a constant reminder on what you want change).

For example, if it’s about having more energy, then keep a log of what days you have and do not have the afternoon crash. If your goal is to sleep better, track how many hours you sleep every night (or even better, use an app!).

If you are wanting your skin to look better, keep weekly pictures of the progress. If you are wanting to get rid of daily bloating, keep abdomen measurements in your notes on your phone. If you are looking for body composition changes… DON’T STEP on the scale, but rather use pictures and measurements to track your progress. You need to focus on your PROGRESS. And without a measurement, you might not know you are actually making progress and get frustrated – with no cause! Your mindset will determine how long you stick with a program. If you know you are seeking long-term changes, be prepared for slow and steady progress. Just make sure you have a way to track your progress to stay positive and motivated.”

Dr. Christina Hansen-Cohen

Christina Hansen Cohen contributor headshot

Dr. Christina Hansen-Cohen is also a Grit and Grace contributing writer and licensed psychologist. She tells us to keep it small:

“The key to sticking to a New Year’s Resolution is to make the commitment is to keep it small. The research says it takes 21 days to change a habit- that is three weeks. So give yourself three weeks. Take small steps… meaning don’t plan to work out seven days a week when you haven’t worked out in two years. Rather, tell yourself that you will work out two times per week for 30 minutes each and build up to more. The final and most important key is to praise yourself for each step of success rather than tearing yourself down for days you didn’t meet your expectations. This means to praise yourself for saying no to the ice cream yesterday rather than being upset with yourself for eating a piece of chocolate today. If you are able to do these three things- give yourself three weeks, small steps and self-praise— you are on the road to success for conquering that New Year’s resolution.”

Katie Tagliaferri

Fitness Expert and Beachbody Coach Katie Tagliaferri gives some great tangible advice for us beginners—get your pen ready. She wants us to get to writing:

“My advice for keeping your New Years resolutions has two parts: First, write them down. It makes them a little more permanent than just saying them in your head. The second part is to tell someone what your resolutions are! Accountability can be huge when it comes to accomplishing your goals.

Here’s a bonus tip: Phrase your resolutions as if they’ve already happened (i.e. “I work out six days a week” instead of “I will work out six days a week”). This plays a little trick on your mind and it helps your resolutions seem all the more achievable.”

I am sure we can all take some good things away from these amazing tips. For me, I know I’ve got to get serious about my WHY. I need to write it down. I need to get started. The good news is that I feel much more prepared this year. I feel ready and confident to become one of the 8 percent.

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Meaghan is the most extroverted introvert you’ll ever meet. An East Coast transplant living in Texas, she spends most of her time wrangling 3 kids, her husband, and a giant dog. When she finally gets a free minute you can either find her tucked in on the couch with a good book or in the kitchen, attempting to create magical meals (and sometimes succeeding).

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