Last year, nearly one in five Americans were expected to make New Year's resolutions -- 67 percent said they stuck to it for at least part of the year while 33 percent didn't commit at all, according to Marist Poll. Making New Year's resolutions that you can't commit to are a waste of time. And if you fail to put together a proper plan or set goals that are too high, disaster is inevitable. Deciding to lose a few pounds or eat more fruits and veggies is easier said than done. The best way to achieve your health and fitness goals of 2013 is to be realistic, prepared and motivated -- and you don't have do it alone. ConsumerSearch consulted seven fitness and health experts who offer tips to help guide you through successfully achieving a healthier, happier new year.
1. For the big dreamer: Start small
"Make your resolutions smaller commitments to start with so that you can actually keep them," says celebrity personal trainer Ramona Braganza. "For example, if you know you can get to the gym at least three times a week then schedule the days you plan to go in a daily planner and stick to them by checking off your achievements once you have completed each day."
2. For the novice: Get support
"Find a friend or co worker with the same resolution and support one another," says registered dietician Lisa DeFazio, MS. "For example, you can walk together and eat lunch together if exercise and healthy eating is a goal. Also, see a dietician and hire a trainer to help support you with your weight loss goal."
3. For the avid dieter: Eat more, not less!
"Double your portions and still lose weight by eating foods that add more volume on fewer calories," says Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD, author of The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories & Fat Disappear - with Fiber! "A great way to do this is to adopt a fiber-rich diet because fiber has zero calories and it adds bulk to foods that digest slowly. Feeling satisfied instead of hungry is the way to stick to a diet in the long run."
4. For the discouraged gym-goer: Buy new workout gear
"Get some new exercise shoes, perhaps even new workout clothes, to start the year off with a new attitude. Buy tools that help to motivate you, things like pedometers or activity trackers and heart rate monitors; get a scale that also measures body fat rather than just weight," Braganza says.
5. For the chain food fanatic: Eat out less
"Think about how often you eat out...then try to trim down that number if it's in excess of two to three meals per week," says Hope Warshaw, RD, CDE, author of Guide to Healthy Restaurant Eating. "Most people eat too many calories, too much fat and insufficient fruits and vegetables in restaurant meals. It's easier to eat healthier at home."
6. For the gym junkie: Get off the treadmill and lift weights
"Adding weight training builds muscle mass, which boosts metabolism so the body keeps burning calories even when at rest," says Zuckerbrot. "Research has shown that for every pound of muscle added, you burn an extra 45 calories per day. Add an extra 10 pounds of lean muscle mass and you can burn approximately 400- 500 calories a day. That adds up to one pound of fat loss every week."
7. For the busy bee: Learn to relax
"It's imperative that you learn to handle stress. Take long walks, baths, meditate, listen to relaxing music, play with your dog, dance, do whatever you can to lower those stress levels," says Jini Cicero, certified strength and conditioning coach.
8. For the strict dieter: Indulge!
Zuckerbrot says to relax a little: "Decide that you will eat well 90 percent of the time and use the remaining 10 percent as open to indulgences. Not so bad if you look at it like this: There are 365 days a year, so 10 percent wiggle room amount to 36.5 days -- more than a month when you can relax and live it up."
9. For the scatterbrain: Track your progress
"Even small steps accrue over time and when you can see what you've accomplished you feel proud and motivated to stay on the healthy track," says Lyssie Lakatos, RD, CDN, CFT, co- author of The Secret to Skinny. So if you want to start exercising, record your time and your speed on your very first day. Set a goal and gradually monitor as your speed improves. "This is motivating as you see how far you have come and you are able to realize and celebrate improvements."
10. For the disenchanted: Keep moving
11. For the overachiever: Be patient
"We all are hard on ourselves and expect perfection. When we're not perfect -- and no one ever is! -- we often give up too soon on our resolutions," says Lakatos. "If you wander off track and stray away from your goal, take a deep breath, acknowledge what happened and get right back on track."