How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolution to Get Fit
If you’re like most people, you see the new year as an opportunity to start fresh; to hit the reset button on your habits, and get back into shape. It only makes sense to want to get back on track. Celebrations and sweets during the holidays have a way of adding up, and with the hectic schedule that often accompanies the season, it can feel almost impossible to stay true to your training routine. Only the most die-hard amongst us seem to come out unscathed.
For the rest of us, here are the three keys to winning the resolution game:
1) Start gradually, and ease into a routine
One of the best ways to disappoint yourself with a new year’s resolution, is to make one that’s overly ambitious and unrealistic resolution. We’ve all done it. “This year, I’m really going to do it. I’m going to watch everything I eat, cut out junk food, run, and hit the gym 5 days a week!” While setting big goals can be fine for some, many of us need to stay grounded in order to succeed. Our natural tendency is to lean toward an “all-or-nothing” mentality. Even though we start with the best intentions, as soon as we slip up even a little it feels like we’ve failed, and next thing you know all of our goals go out the window.
What’s the solution? Always ease into training gradually. Even if you used to be a serious athlete, take an honest look at what you have been doing over the last couple months. Try adding just 1-2 training days a week to your current schedule. This change is manageable, and not at all overwhelming. As you become comfortable with the routine, try adding one more day. Eventually, exercise will become a natural habit, and your progress will multiply over time. The key here is to be patient and enjoy the process.
2) Make SMART goals
SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. An example of a SMART goal looks like this: “I’m going to drop from a size 36, to size 32 by April 1st.” Notice that this meets all of the criteria for a SMART goal listed above. Once you have made your goal, lay out an action plan to guide your success: “To reach my goal, I’m going to walk 30 minutes a day on my lunch breaks, and do full body circuit training for 30 minutes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.” Making clear, actionable plans will help you stay on track. Remember to write down your goal, and look at it often as you’re training. This is helpful when you start to lose motivation. It is especially helpful to set a completion date that has emotional significance to you. You might try a birthday, an anniversary, a vacation, or any occasion that you want to look or feel your best for.
3) Don’t be afraid to seek help
Sometimes it can feel overwhelming to get after a new years resolution, especially if working out is something you haven’t done in a while. Going it alone is especially challenging, so one of the best ways to ensure success is to find a support network. Talk to your friends, family, or co-workers about joining a gym or starting a walking group. If you are looking for something a bit more structured, find a weekly group exercise class or seek the help of a certified personal trainer. When you know somebody is there to back you up, training feels like less of a chore, and becomes something you really look forward to.
A New Year’s Resolution doesn’t have to be hard. Remember that big change is the accumulation of small change over time. Adding even a little exercise to what you’re doing now is a step in the right direction. Keep to your resolve, and we know you’ll see amazing results.