If your New Year's resolution is to lose weight, you're in good company: in a 2015 Nielsen survey, 32 percent of people listed shedding pounds as their top goal. But what if losing weight isn't on your to-do list this year because you're finally right where you want to be, fitness-wise? Even if you already look and feel your best, there's always room for improvement. Below are five alternative resolutions you may want to consider tackling this year.|
Resolution #1: Inspire others to improve.
While you may not want to flat-out tell a friend that she should eat better or start working out, there are subtle ways to encourage others to adopt a healthier lifestyle. For instance, if your sister has been self-conscious about the baby weight she's been trying to lose, invite her to come along to your next Pilates class or meet you for a walk in the park. Or when dining out with your diabetic father, steer him away from the double-fudge cake and toward the healthier strawberry shortcake. It's not about preaching; it's about leading by example.
Resolution #2: Mix it up.
If you've already reached your goal weight or target fitness level, you're obviously doing a lot of things right—but over time, if you don't switch up your routines, they may start to feel repetitive. That can lead to boredom, which can lead to making excuses for skipping workouts. To stay motivated over time, try doing your thing a little differently or adding a brand-new activity. If you've been running alone, try joining a local running group. Always wanted to be a stronger swimmer? Enroll in an aquatic class at the Y. In addition to banishing the blahs, mixing up your workouts through cross-training improves physical fitness by strengthening different parts of your body.
Resolution #3: Beat your personal best.
Whatever your activity of choice, look for new ways to do it better. That could mean beating your personal record for a 5K race, increasing your bench-press weight, adding more repetitions or boosting the length or intensity of your cardio training. For every workout, look for ways to perform better than you did last time—because, after all, the only person you're competing against is yourself.
Resolution #4: Make time for relationships.
When you're focused on fitness, it can be easy to neglect those who aren't directly involved in your exercise and nutrition plans. Studies show that connecting with loved ones can actually improve your health. According to research published in the journal PLoS Medicine, a lack of social relationships can be just as detrimental to your well-being as smoking and obesity. Just as you schedule your boot camps and gym sessions, set aside some time to catch up with old friends or visit with family.
Resolution #5: Say so-long to (most of your) stress.
You may have imagined that losing weight and getting in shape would eliminate virtually all stressors from your life, but fit people still experience anxiety. Whatever the source of your stress—work pressures, a sickness in the family, lack of sleep, marriage troubles or another challenge—take the time to relax and recharge. That may mean investing in a monthly massage, starting a meditation practice or just scheduling a regular dinner with close friends.
If you're already in shape, what are some of your New Year's resolutions?