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5 ways to make (and keep) your New Year’s resolutions

By Josh Sato
For BG Magazine, a publication of The Lane Report

Each year, millions of Americans choose to start the new year with lofty goals and high expectations for themselves. The beginning of a new year gives us the feeling that we have a clean slate, that this is the year we can start anew and kick those bad habits that have plagued us in years past.

As a personal trainer, I work with many of these people each January! The practice of making a new year’s resolution is pleasantly optimistic. Unfortunately, most resolutions end in failure and frustration. Many times, we set the bar too high, or have no plan to go along with our ambitions. About 65 percent of resolutions are a bust.

Here’s the good news. There are five simple steps you can take to ensure that 2013 will be the year you kick the nasty habit that has been eating at you for so long. Whether it’s trying to quit smoking, lose weight, or simply to start an exercise regimen, do it now! Don’t let another minute pass; start changing your life for the better.

Step 1: Be realistic in your goal setting.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your problems aren’t going to disappear in the blink of an eye. Step back and look at your problem objectively. Ask yourself: How long has this been an issue for me? When did it start? Why did it start? Honest answers to these questions will give the insight you need to effectively address the issue.

If you’re trying to break a habit or change a behavior that has been going on for several years, it is unrealistic to think you’ll break it in two weeks.

Step 2: Break down your long-term goals into several smaller, more attainable goals.

I have met several people who want to lose 60, 80 or even 100 pounds in a year. Far too often, I have watched these people become consumed with the large number in front of them. They get so caught up in the number on the scale that small victories, like losing a pound or two, are looked over. These people inevitably fail.

A more successful approach is breaking down that big number into smaller ones. For example, if you want to lose 80 pounds, set a goal of 20 pounds every quarter. This gives you the ability to work toward reachable goals instead of chasing that big number.

Step 3: Have a detailed plan of action.

Goals, dreams, and ambitions are wonderful things, but without a plan, that’s all they are. So if you want to quit smoking, research methods that have been successful for other people and find something that fits your lifestyle. For you it may be a patch, for someone else it may be cold turkey. Others may wean themselves off one at a time. Regardless of the logistics of your plan, the important thing is that you have one and you stick to it!

Step 4: Build a support system.

This may come in several different forms. It could be a workout buddy, someone with the same goal, or maybe someone who has already achieved what you’re trying to. No matter what, don’t take this journey alone. All of us go through rough times and need someone to pick us up and remind us that we can do it. When choosing your support system, look for people who know your situation and can encourage you along the way.

Step 5: Believe in yourself!

You will ultimately decide whether this is the year you change your life. Be confident that you have done your homework, prepared yourself, and that you can do it. Look in the mirror every day and tell yourself, “I can! I will make a change!”

You deserve to be happy and have success. Stay focused in the new year, work hard and you will reap what you sow!

Personal trainer Josh Sato is president and owner of Fitness Plus II in Bellerive Plaza, just across the Fayette County line in Nicholasville, Ky. Click here to visit his website.