Resolutions – we always make them and usually break them. What looks good on paper doesn’t always work in real life. If your resolutions for 2018 include getting fit, reducing your weight, or developing healthy habits that will last a lifetime, then the following seven small, evolutionary changes will yield big results over the course of this year.

Small Resolutions That Will Yield Big Results

  1. “I resolve to understand why I want to make these resolutions.” Knowing your motivation will help you stay focused on achieving your goals. Did a friend or family member have a heart attack and now you are worried you might be next? Are you suddenly single and looking to start dating again? Do you want to run a charity 5K with your teenager? Are your clothes getting too tight? Writing your why, goals and progress in a journal is a powerful tool to witness your journey.
  2. “I resolve not to eat snacks directly from the bag or box. I will exercise portion control by adhering to the serving size as defined in the nutritional information section found on the product packaging.” By indulging cravings in a controlled manner, you can save on calories and still enjoy your treat. Impact: Reducing potato chip consumption by four one-ounce servings a week will yield an eight-pound weight loss per year.
  3. “I resolve to walk twenty minutes per day at a brisk 3.5 MPH pace.”  If walking is already a part of your fitness routine, then resolve to increase the duration of your walk by fifteen minutes per day.  The extra calorie expenditure will result in a weight loss of approximately ten additional pounds during the course of 2018.
  4. “I resolve to reduce alcohol consumption to four glasses of beer or wine (or four cocktails) per week.” If your current level of consumption is ten per week (which is less than one and a half drinks per day) the reduction to four per week will result in a thirteen-pound weight loss for the year.
  5. “I resolve to begin a structured program of strength training.” Whether this means using the equipment in your basement that serves as a clothes hanger, or employing the services of a trainer to help you in your home or at the gym, or exercising in a park’s fitness trail with a friend, just start. Take the first step. After a few months of training, if you are a woman, it is reasonable to gain two additional pounds of muscle mass. This will increase your metabolism by burning an additional 60 calories per day. Result: A six-pound weight loss for the year. If you are a guy, it is reasonable to gain four additional pounds of muscle mass, which will yield a yearly weight loss of about 12 pounds. The best news is that you will burn additional calories even when you are sleeping!
  6. “I resolve to engage in a sport or hobby that gets my body moving.” Bicycling, gardening, dancing, golf, hiking, roller-skating, swimming and tennis are good choices that on average burn 123 calories per hour. Plus you’re having fun, and if done in half-hour segments four days per week, you can lose an additional four pounds annually.
  7. “I resolve to develop a network of loved ones, technology and professionals to support my efforts.” It may not take a village, but the ongoing support of a spouse or loved one, your doctor, nutritionist or personal trainer may be what’s needed to help you get back on the wellness wagon when you occasionally fall off. In addition, having feedback from a fitness band like the Apple Watch or FitBit may be the gentle reminder you need to get in those extra steps each day.

The Results

These seven small, evolutionary changes could yield a weight loss of 40 pounds in one year. In addition, a healthier heart and sharper mind are side effects of decreased weight and increased activity.

No one wakes up one day to step on the scale and suddenly find themselves 40 pounds overweight. Deconditioning and weight gain creep up on us with a sloth’s speed and hang on with the persistence of a pit bull. Getting back into shape takes time. 

This is your year! You have the ability to make meaningful changes that will help you live a more fit and healthy life. Just as bank vault doors weighting tons swing on small hinges, these small changes will have big results over time.

What are your New Year’s resolutions? I’d love to hear your plan and how you resolve to keep them. Also, if I can help you in any way, just let me know.