5 Ways to Keep Your Resolutions on Track

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Editor's note: The ladies behind Fit Bottomed Girls, one of our favorite health and fitness websites, have generously shared some great tips to help you stick to your New Year's resolutions.

By Jenn Walters, co-founder of Fit Bottomed Girls

Remember back on January 1 when you were ready to take over the world, conquering one bad habit and replacing it with a healthy one? When this was the year you were going to change? When you were going to get healthy the right way? Does it seem like that was a long time ago? Like maybe somehow life has gotten in the way, and you've lost some of that energy that you were so full of on New Year's Day?

Don't worry. It's normal. This is about the time of year when people start falling off the New Year's Resolutions wagon and gradually climb back up on their unhealthy habits wagon. But, don't be one of those people! The hardest thing about losing weight and getting healthy is that you have to be consistent. Even through the times when it's not fun, when the motivation waxes and wanes.

So instead of beating yourself up for straying from your workouts or healthy eating plan, stay on the weight-loss wagon and follow these five tips to stay motivated after the initial elation of healthy living has worn off!

1. Remember it's a journey. Healthy weight-loss is a slow process that can be frustrating at times. It's not a diet (four-letter word!), and it's not a quick-fix. It's a lifestyle change. And a good one at that! So enjoy the long ride and stick with it. When it comes to being healthy, there is no finish line--just a life to enjoy every step of the way!

2. Avoid the scale for a few days. While you may have dropped a bunch of weight at the beginning of the month, the needle on the scale may not be moving as much now. And that's normal, so don't get discouraged. Stay on track and give the scale a rest for a day or two if it's driving you nutters. If you're eating better and moving your body regularly, your body is changing, no matter what number that thing reads!

3. Create a success and gratitude journal. If your motivation is waning, it's always good to remember to look back on how far you've come. Begin a journal where you keep track of your success--no matter how large or small (like walking your first mile, losing 5 pounds or swapping an afternoon candy bar for pita and hummus). Then every day, in the same journal, write down five things that you are grateful for. It can be the sun shining, a loved one or even a hot bath after a tough workout! When you're feeling low, go back and read through previous entries for an instant pick-me-up!

4. Focus on how you feel. The best part of getting healthy isn't about what you look like (although that's a perk). It's how you feel that really matters. When you feel yourself getting discouraged, think about how you feel now versus how you felt before you started your journey. Now which one feels better?

5. Recommit. This is one area of your life where you definitely don't want to be a commitment-phobe. And if you find yourself forgetting why you set a New Year's resolution to begin with, revisit it. Why did you? Why is it important to you? If you give up, how will it make you feel? Think about these things, and then give yourself a pep talk. Resolve to resolve again and again. You can do it. You will do it!

More about Fit Bottomed Girls: Launched in May 2008, the Fit Bottomed Girls website features multiple weekday posts with fresh fitness content for real women and girls (and even the guys) interested in increasing their health through physical activity and sensible eating. The FBGs pride themselves on their honest reviews and aren’t afraid to tell it like it is.

Jenn (above, left) and Erin met while they were both working for a magazine publishing company in the Kansas City area. They quickly noticed the big similarities in their lives: Both lived in Lawrence, Kansas, while their boyfriends were attending graduate school, and both endured a lengthy 50-minute commute. Once they became carpooling buddies, they realized that not only were they saving the planet one tank of gas at time, but they were also forming a fast and lasting friendship. Among dissecting all aspects of life, from reality TV to their existential crises, fitness was always a topic of conversation on those commutes. Health nut Jenn would keep Erin motivated when workout motivation was lacking, and the two would enjoy noon walks and Zumba classes together. It wasn’t until Erin sadly moved states away that the pair came up with the idea of a fitness blog—effectively marrying their love of fitness with their love of writing.

How do you stay on track when the new year's enthusiasm starts to wane?

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I depend upon the Success/Gratitude idea. My weight hasn't gone down in months, but I continue to look back at how far I've come over the past 2 years. I'm down 40 lbs, 2 clothes sizes, and this size is getting looser. Best of all, and the biggest surprise to me is how I've shaped up, tightened up and toned up. I didn't expect to feel so good about my figure and that I see it again. I also eat healthy foods, exercise regulary, and I feel great. I have put the scale away for the most part and check in occasionaly. I also don't sweat it if I skip a day or 2 of exercise! Report
I really like the "Focus on How You Feel" idea. I lost 45 lbs last year and gained back 23. I noticed how much more my body ached with arthritis with the extra weight. I had forgotten how much better it felt with the weight off. Now, in one month with Sparkpeople, I have lost 13 of the 23 I regained. I am hoping to start feeling better again soon. Report
This is a keeper! Great motivation ideas... and I love the reminder that this is all a JOURNEY! Report
I have felt myself beginning to wane but have renewed hope in reading this blog. Thanks for the well informed advice.
Gayle Report
Its not about the scale...its about getting rid of the fat in my belly! :) Report
I lo.ve the journaling suggesstion. I'm going to try it. Thanks Report
Just beginning my journey - thanks for the advice! Report
that is really good advice .. i love it.. thanks Report
Don't quit. Report
Great advice. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of how far we've come and how much better we feel. Report
This is really great advice, all of us need reminders of the great things that we are doing daily in our lives! Keep up the good work, it will only make us better! Report
I post a blog on spark people everytime I have a craving, passed off something unhealthy or have to express my emotions. The blog really helps me stay motivated when someone reads it and in return gives me a encouragement. Report
I feel so much better physically and look younger (or so I am told) those are the motivation I need to continue. Report
Looking at my son & wanting to be more active for him helps motivate me & is why I started. but now that I'm almost 50 pounds down, looking at myself & buying smaller clothes is a big motivator too! Report
i love the idea of keeping a successes and gratitudes journal. i try to "pat myself on the back" when i pass on the super sugary or fatty food, but i think i will try and write those moments down so i can show myself on those days when i'm feeling unmotivated. also, in the midst of feeling down, it is nice to reflect on the things we are thankful for - especially the "small" things. great article! Report
I like the gratitude journal. It makes you feel like things are going in the right direction... Report
Thanks for the good reminder and some concrete ways to keep the plan going. It's really hard when every thing you see tells you this magic formula will lose 14 pounds a week.

A;los, people expect quick weight loss when you mention you are trying to lose weight. Report
Great advice. I will start a journal about my weight-loss journey too. Report
I have recently started to write in a journal. This helps me acknowledge my emotions as well as encourage me to see & show my gratitude for all the wonders that life has given me...This helps me stay on track.... Report
I am thinking of weight loss as healthy living for life. It is not something that I start and stop, but my life is changing forever. I get it finally! Report
I believe once you're fully committed a date on the calendar makes no difference. Report
My wee partial answer is to slow waaaaay down, take a walk and use my eyes. The old clothes are gone from the closet, new wall color and dressing table, clutter almost....almost gone. Fresh arrangement of furniture in the house, new blender in the kitchen, some new workout equip. in family room, ahhh, better....... Report
I love these ideas and plan to incorporate them in my plan when my motivation waxes and wanes. Thank you for posting this - just in the nick of time! Report
Thanks for the lift and reminders! Here is somethingI saw on someones spark page...fits well with this topic!

This was a great and need article. I read it just in the nick of time. I was starting to get a little discouraged about the amount of weight I have to lose. However, when I went to doctor on Thursday my blood pressure was 110/70 so I know that this working... Report
All very good pointers. It's helpful to read, & remind myself to stay commited. I've been sick for a few days now, & it's easy to get discouraged. I keep reminding myself that spring is around the corner, & I wanna look great in all my less forgiving spring clothes. Thanks for sharing! Report
Great tips. One way to stay motivated is to look at your progress so far and that gets the urge to continue. Keep looking forward. Report
I focus on my goal - I feel better when I weigh less. And to get the weight off, I need to keep exercising and record what I eat. And when I have an off day, I let it go, and get back on track the following day. Report
I think I needed to read this right now. I'm at the point where I usually just quit and go back to whatever I was doing before, so thanks for the input! Report
I started gung-ho with bootcamp, but ended up at my son's house with no ball or weights. After trying to exercise using a rolling computer chair instead of a ball (my comment? DON'T try it!), plus having internet problems, I gave up. But I've given myself a good talking-to, and this blog helps, so off I go to Curves! (I'd add in a walk, but the wind chill is well below zero, even if the thermometer says 12 degrees!) Report
I just commented in this on my blog at SparkPeople . . . I noticed I was starting to fall back into those old habits. I've recommitted by reviewing my goals everyday and building some rewards into my plan. Report
I think I was meant to read this blog this morning. I have been having a few minutes of feeling like do I really want to keep at this, and your blog reassures me that, yes, I really do want to keep at this!! Thank you. Report
I remember reading a book of Richard Simmons, published in the early '80's (for a cookbook, I think). He doesn't like the word diet. If you think about it, what are the first 3 letters? That was part of the reason why he didn't like it, also, it's not about dieting, its about a lifestyle change. Seems like he's a bit ahead on some things. Report
Great points Report
It feels like this blog was written for me..... I have been feeling less motivated and just plain BLAH since tuesday. My conversations that I am having with myself are not working, so I appreciate all the advice and will try them. Report
When I made my New Years Resolution, that was it. I was going to change. There would be no turning back. I have no intention of going back on my resolution. The motivation isn't there daily, but I do it ANYWAY! Report
I love the idea of a gratitude journal! I'm going to include that in my daily blog from now on, thanks! Report
what a great inspiring story about friendship and positive aspects of a long commute! Report
Very inspiring...I have heard it before, but it is helpful to hear it again ... and realize that if I fall off the wagon (which I will eventually), it won't be the end of this journey...but a bump in the road towards a healthier me. Thanks! Report
I never thought of this journey as a New Year's resolution. It's my new way of living. I have been keeping my own reward journal since I read about giving yourself rewards for small steps. In it I remind myself each day how proud I am of myself for every little success, for keeping my sodium under control that day; for going for a walk when I was tired and sore; for trying a new exercise etc. It has really helped keeping me going. Report
Very informative article! I am never to make "resolutions", rather a committment to myself to better my health in hopes of coming off of some of my meds. You're right.... this is a journey, incredible I might add - I just remember that it's one pound at a time & one day at a time!!!

Thx for sharing an incredible story!!

Keep up the good work! Report
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It's been a long week and I'm tired. I need to keep at this instead of looking for an excuse not to exercise. Report
I did not make any resolutions this year. I made a commitment to myself to improve my lifestyle, not just to loose weight. I told my husband to take the scale away and to be firm with me when I ask for it back. It only depresses me when the # doesn't go down the way I think it should. Your health is about your over all feeling and what your body tells you, not some numbers on a scale. To stay on track, I visit spark everyday. I look for my partners in crime and look to them for inspiration. My friends here have helped a lot by keeping me focused. And if I fall they are always there to encourage me and lift me back up on the wagon. Report
Thank you - i try avoiding the scale ... I appreciate the insight! Report
Liked the article a lot. In order to achieve my New year's Resolution this year, I plan to implement forgiveness for myself and allow myself a reasonable amount of time to achieve my goal. Report
I revisit my resolutions (I wrote them down in my date book). I put the goal and the why with it. For example, " Get in better shape - so I can feel healthier, be healthier, do more things, regain my strength and endurance, and ride my horses well & without pain." I also track in my datebook what I do to accomplish my goals. I know sounds anal but it gives me a sense of accomplishment. Report
This is such a timely article - thank you so much! I am not a big proponent of New Year's Resolutions and have followed the same idea as KATIEHENEGHAN and continue to follow the steps I put in place in 2009. Loving the journey - definitely loving the life I have. Report
I'd always done the new years resolution thing before, but in 2009 and 2010 I decided that I was just going to work on setting realistic, specific goals instead of setting resolutions. I know that they are basically the same, but even just changing the word has made a HUGE difference for me. Report
This is my third full week of exercise, I'm not falling off no wagon! Going to hold on with all my might. Report
I like the success and gratitude idea...I'm still doing pretty well with healthier eating decisions, but I'm waning on my commitment to exercise. This might help me get back on track. Thanks! Report
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