How to actually keep your winter/New Year’s resolutions and get healthier!

You can absolutely keep your fitness resolutions (New Year’s or anytime), but keeping your resolutions takes some planning and creativity. Most people know walking is great for their health, but most give up on their health or fitness resolution after a few weeks. Instead of relying on motivation, come up with a walking plan to get your steps in winter cold or on a busy day. Depending on your situation, this could mean a series of short walks, walking in the morning or after dinner, or finding a creative walking location. Here are 8 great tips to stick with your resolutions and crush your fitness goals for 2018!

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Stay Motivated

Man walking or jogging in the snow in winter
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Remember your reasons for coming up with your fitness resolution in the first place. If your resolution is to lose weight and get healthier, are you keeping track of your progress and reminding yourself how much better . you feel? If your goal is a goal that’s important to you, you’ll be motivated and more likely to stick to it. A University of Pennsylvania study found that healthy competition online leads to motivated people. When we find workout partners that give us a fun, positive challenge, we enjoy working towards our health and wellness goal more.1 Try Pacer’s Explore page to join distance and group challenges. You’ll get amazing positive motivation to achieve your goals!

Be Realistic

SMART goal setting concept graphic
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Setting lofty goals to overhaul your entire lifestyle sounds fantastic, but you’re much less likely to keep going if you’re overwhelmed by the resolution. Pick one or two achievable and manageable goals, and work on those. The Mayo Clinic suggests using “SMART” goal setting to help. Goals should be: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Trackable. Make sure to track your results as you progress on your daily walk to fitness. Pacer also helps you create measurable goals by recording steps, distance, and other statistics you can use to set specific goals.

Be Specific

Be specific with goals concept graphic
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“Losing weight” and “getting fit” are great results from a walking routine, but you’re more likely to achieve your goals if they are more specific. It would be great to “lose weight,” but “lose 15 pounds by June 1st” is a better resolution and one you are more likely to adhere to. “Eat more vegetables” would also be a great result, but “eat at least 5 servings of vegetables per day” is measurable and gives you something specific to work with. Your goals will help you decide whether you need to walk an hour a day, eat better, or do some other specific tasks to achieve them. You’ll also be able to track your progress as you move towards your specific, measurable goal and you’ll feel great when you know you achieved it!

Have a Strategy

Workout plan in diary fitness planning concept
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You may have heard the saying that a goal without a plan is just a dream. It’s not just a saying – it’s actually true! If your goals is to eat at least five servings of vegetables per day, create a strategy like going to the grocery store every Sunday evening and stocking up on vegetables to take to work each day of the week. You won’t have to feel stressed or have to scramble every day to try to find vegetables because you already know what you need to do. In addition to reducing stress, a solid strategy keeps you on target because it’s much easier to simply follow the steps you’ve already decided.

Stay Positive!

Jogger sitting on ground taking a rest
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One of the best ways to ensure you keep at your goals is to not let setbacks derail your progress! All is never lost – if you slip up, just get back on track as soon as you are able. Life happens, and if your goals are so rigid that they don’t allow for setbacks, then the chances of you sticking with them are pretty slim. Prepare yourself ahead of time for the inevitable slip-up, because it’s what you do AFTER the slip-up that determines whether or not you’re successful. For instance, if you get busy or catch a cold and miss your step goals for a week, just get back to walking more as soon as you’re able! Don’t get discouraged, because fitness is a marathon, not a sprint!

Commit to Walking

Woman jogging at sunrise up stairs
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Look at your goals as commitments rather than resolutions. When you commit to something, you treat it as if it’s a non-negotiable agreement with yourself. Just like your job is a commitment, you should think of your goals as commitments as well. We don’t usually succeed by only going to work “when we feel like it,” so think the same way about your goals.

Walk Together

3 people walking in winter for fitness
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A University of Aberdeen study “found that finding a new exercise companion increased the amount of exercise people took. This was increased even more when the new partner was emotionally supportive.” Not everyone has a workout buddy in their neighborhood or even on their social media friend list. Pacer Groups are a great way to find amazing exercise companions that will give you support and motivation no matter where you are! Just knowing that other people are doing the same workouts that you’re doing can give you a push to succeed. The Aberdeen study found that you don’t actually have to work out together to see the benefits, because “it is more important to encourage each other than doing the actual activity together.”

Track your progress

Woman walking on the roadside in the evening
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Tracking your progress is an amazing motivator because you can see how much better you’re doing and how close to your goal you’re getting. It can also help you make adjustments and improvements if you start getting off course. If your goal is to become more active (10,000 steps per day, anyone?), lose weight, or just get healthier, track your progress and keep track of you’re doing! Reach out to members of the Pacer community for motivation and encouragement too. This helps keep you motivated to keep walking and hit your step goals.

Get Pacer

If you haven’t downloaded the Pacer app yet, download Pacer for free (on mobile)! You can also check out our website (mobile or desktop) or follow our blog for more great walking and healthy lifestyle tips.

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