Every January 1, millions of people make New Year's resolutions. Chances are, they won't stick around for too long. Why?
Because most resolutions are unrealistic, or even unreasonable. Here are seven outdated fitness and nutrition resolutions that are destined — and deserve — to fail, along with smarter options to make sure you follow through and succeed.
1. Join a low-cost gym.
Ten bucks a month, row after row of shiny equipment — what's not to love about bargain-basement gyms? Nothing, actually, which frequently becomes a convenient excuse to blow off your workout.
Smarter strategy: "We commit with our wallets," my mentor JJ Virgin says, and that goes double for fitness plans. If you're determined 2015 will be your most transformative fitness year, hire a trainer and find a top-notch gym to support your goal. Go big or go free. If you're gym-phobic, try an at-home workout you know you can stick to.
2. Load up on low-fat diet entrees.
Frozen entrees make weight loss convenient: fast, affordable, available and supposedly help you lose weight. Of course they do. Microscopic portions and low-quality, often-tasteless ingredients create an unsatisfying, semi-starvation ticket to nose-diving into a pizza. Regardless, I frequently spot well-intended folks stocking their grocery carts with these Frankenfood monstrosities.
Smarter strategy: Think ahead and prep fast, delicious, healthy foods: precooked chicken and wild salmon, veggies, salad greens. All of these nutrient-packed foods take about as much time to heat up as those soggy, nutrient-empty microwave entrees.
3. Promise yourself no chocolate or alcohol.
You drank or ate too much since, oh, mid-October, so come New Year's Day you plan to completely abstain from your favorites.
Smarter strategy: Set realistic, attainable resolutions like, "I will eat cleanly all week but allow myself a small, healthy indulgence." A little red wine or dark chocolate every day can be healthy if you keep them in check and can actually help you stick with your plan.
4. Completely eliminate stress from your life.
Occasionally, I read about how to forever banish anxiety, worry and stress from your life. Impossible. In the real world, stress will become a frequent part of your day. That doesn't mean you need to succumb.
Smarter strategy: Like building muscle, stress resiliency is a trait you can develop and strengthen. You can always control how you respond to stressful events. Yoga, meditation, deep breathing or the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) provide smart, science-based strategies to reduce your stress load.
5. Buy a juicer or other expensive kitchen gadget.
If you're absolutely certain you'll use that VitaMix, buy it. If your green juice phase will dissipate faster than that spring break fling you once had, splurge on something else and skip the mixer.
Smarter strategy: Start with a smaller, less expensive gadget like a Magic Bullet. If that gets major action and you're willing to dole out big bucks, consider upgrading.
6. Buy the latest fat burner supplement.
A few fat loss supplements do work, but only when you combine them with a clean diet, the right exercise, sleep and stress control. There is no magic pill that immediately melts fat without any other efforts.
Smarter strategy: If you're convinced supplements will be that impressive needle mover to burn fat, do your research and buy science-supported nutrients. Most commercial, celebrity-endorsed supplements don't pass the smell test.
7. Do a juice cleanse.
"I got lasting fat loss and a lean, healthy body on the latest commercial juice cleanse," said no one ever. What you will incur are hunger, blood sugar crashes, cravings, frequent bathroom runs and uncontrollable urges to dive into a pint of ice cream.
Smarter strategy: If you want to detoxify without sugar overload or starvation, consider a professionally designed, science-based detoxification plan that include optimal nutrients and protein.
You've surely got one to add: That refuse-to-die resolution you still see your otherwise level-headed friends undertake. Share yours in the comments below.