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An Expat’s Thoughts On Keeping New Year Resolutions – By Expat Andrea McKenna

I’ve seen a huge increase in the number of joggers, walkers and swimmers in the last week in East Coast Park and at my condo pool.

Of course, it’s due to everyone’s New Year’s resolutions to get fit after the gluttony of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, with lots of champagne buffet brunches, cocktail parties on the balcony and more champagne!

My husband and I also are hitting the pavement more and stocking less champagne in the fridge to make some positive changes in our health.

But the big question in everyone’s mind is how do we stick to our resolutions as the year goes on? In Singapore, we’re immediately hit by another huge holiday—Chinese New Year, which also has parties and food (although isn’t one dish a salad?) that can get in the way of a new health plan.

So we all need tips to keep the momentum going even as holidays come one after the other. Here are some of my best tips.

1. Make changes that are manageable and not too lofty

Losing 20 pounds by Valentine’s Day is not very realistic.

Most health experts say losing one to two pounds per week is better for your long term goals for weight loss and more importantly of keeping it off.

2. Enjoy the workouts

As a yoga teacher here in Singapore, I see people pushing way, way too hard on a regular basis.

Is that fun? Really??? Enjoy what you’re doing and don’t try to kill yourself every workout.

Also, if you push too hard you could get burnout by February or sooner.

3. Track your progress

Write it down. Share your journey with others on social media. I know people who blog about their fitness and nutrition challenges and it really can help with staying on track because you are accountable to your audience, per se.

Also, keeping a journal is a great way to track changes and see your patterns and results on paper. I personally use the food and exercise tracker called My Fitness Pal on my iPhone. It lets me track my food and even make notes on how I feel and how things are going.

4. No excuses!

This is my biggest, most-Draconian tip.

Just because it’s 92 and blazing sun out does not mean you get a day off from walking or heading to the outdoor Zumba class. After all, equatorial living is going to produce lots of hot, sunny days.

Concurrently, rain is not going to kill you either. Yeah, stay out of the thunderstorms but go inside to get the workouts done.

I hope you are enjoying the honeymoon of New Year’s resolution time. It is exciting to think about the end results of the changes you are making. Just stay focused and take one day at a time. You will get wherever you need to go with your goals.

About Andrea McKenna Brankin

Andrea McKenna Brankin is a journalist and author from the United States who lives a full life with bipolar disorder. Her book, Bipolar Phoenix, is awaiting a publishing contract. She is also currently a volunteer at the HCSA Dayspring Residential Treatment Centre for teen girls in Singapore, providing befriending-family support, therapeutic writing and rugby coaching.

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