The secret to keeping your New Year's resolution

Guest post by Andrea Shirey

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that I'm not the only one that gets a little crazy around New Year's resolutions. I'll confess to thinking that I need to buy a brand-new notebook to write down my goals (when there are clearly 18 good ones around my house), to downloading ALL the apps, making the grocery lists that do not include wine, and on and on. 

There's something so refreshing and exciting about a new year. A clean slate. It's no wonder that nearly half of all Americans make new year's resolutions. We get determined. We spend money on equipment, convinced if we just had the perfect exercise gadget in our home we'd actually get it done. I've been there. Trust me. 

I wondered for years why I couldn't keep my resolutions. I have the personality type that is extremely goal-oriented. I'm a sucker for a competition and come hell or high water, I'm going to give it my best college try. But when it came to managing my weight or saying no to that cookie, or cupcake or (insert your favorite treat here), I just couldn't do it. My shiny new notebook filled with goals and sub-goals and timelines and motivating quotes would slowly get left in the drawer somewhere around February, and I would decide I had other priorities. 

The reality is this. While almost half of all Americans make new year's resolutions and about 75% of those resolutions are self-improvement or weight-related, only about 8% actually keep them. 

80% of all resolutions are failed by the end of February. 

But...I'm convinced there's a secret to being in that 8% at the end of the year. It worked for me and I know several others that have succeeded as well. Want in on the secret? 

Start right now. Today. December 1st. I know, I know. It doesn't have the same allure as January 1st. You might not even have your notebook yet :) But, just do it. Decide that today is the day. You don't need equipment. You don't need new shoes or new clothes. You really don't need anything other than the sheer determination that you are tired of fighting this battle and letting your number on the scale control you. 

On December 1, 2015, I decided I would start. I weighed 165 lbs and for me, that was very much overweight. Like so many, I had tried every fad, every shake plan, and some methods I'm embarrassed to even admit. But on that day, I drug my butt down into my basement, looked up a few exercises online and I did them. I could barely do 3 full sit-ups. I tried to plank and well, that didn't go well. I did a few push-ups on my knees and then ran up and down the stairs a few times. That was it. I went to bed feeling like, well, this probably isn't going to cut it but at least I tried. 

And then the next day, I did it again. 

I wrote down a few simple goals - do a few more sit-ups than the day before, go for a walk around the neighborhood, and good grief, at least try to plank for 10 seconds. Slowly, day after day, I made little shifts. I started paying attention to portion size of my food. I never made a list of what I couldn't have. I just started paying a little more attention. 

By the end of December, I had done some sort of exercise every day. 31 days. I had lost 6 lbs before most people even started their New Year's resolutions. And I was so motivated. I bought that notebook (I couldn't help it) and kept going. I spent the next five months doing this alone. Even though it worked, I wish I had made the decision earlier to start Temple Challenge. I let the fear and anxiety of the unknown keep me from starting so I know first-hand what that feels like. I was barely doing the exercises in sets of 10 and using 2-pound weights. Surely someone would laugh at that...or worse, I'd be the only one in the class not capable of hanging in for the full 60 minutes. I could not have been more wrong. (You can read about my TC Day 1 experience on this blog post).

I think there are two secrets to keeping your resolution. One is what I just described - start early. Start December 1st. Or whatever day you are reading this post. Do not wait until January 1st. 

The second? Call me biased but I'm convinced it was TC that kept me making forward progress throughout that first year. Why? 

  • Accountability. I made friends and they asked me when I was coming back for the next class. And when I left class, Stacy or the other trainers would ask me when I was coming back. All of a sudden, someone else was counting on me to show up. 
  • Variety. Every class was different and I was actually excited to see what exercises would show up on the list. Honestly, most were things I'd never heard of (and now we know that Stacy can make up some crazy stuff) but it felt good to try it and see what I could do.
  • Baby steps. I had early wins. And because I had exercised for 31 days prior, I had a benchmark. I turned 5 push-ups into 10 in just a few weeks. It was so easy to see progress in what I could do, not just in my weight loss. (Advice: write down how many reps you can do of most things. You'll be amazed when you re-visit that list halfway through TC and then again at the end. Progress is about way more than the number on the scale).
  • Encouragement. It was so much easier to go to a class and have someone telling me what to do versus motivating myself in my basement. Stacy's style of keeping you focused while also encouraging you and teaching you the correct form was exactly what I needed.

There are two weeks of Temple Challenge left in TC8 so it's a great time to jump in and get a head start. The first class is free. I hope you'll join me and discover that 2018 can be your year to achieve your goals!