(As seen in Leland Magazine)
Statistics say that many of you reading this article will have already abandoned your New Year’s Fitness Resolution…or you are soon about to. But why? You started the year with all this enthusiasm; this was going to be the year you made it happen. How could all that determination and excitement have disappeared already?
Most likely, it was simply your approach. But, it’s not too late to salvage your resolution. There is still hope. After all, there is a lot of year left ahead of us.
Here are 7 tips to help you achieve success with your New Year’s Fitness Resolution.
1. Have a clear focus on your goal.
Identify your WHY and make sure your goal is SMART (Specific / Measurable / Attainable / Relevant / Time-bound). Without these, you are basically left shooting in the dark. Would you get in your car and expect your GPS to get you to a specific destination without entering an address? Probably not. The same applies to your fitness goal. You need to be as clear as possible about the path that lies ahead. Be aware of how you are going to progress and how far you have to go.
If you want the new plan to actually stick, you must reflect on your actual motivation for making this resolution. Research shows that when you know your actual why, not just the end goal, you’re more likely to stick to it. Ask yourself why you made your specific resolution; why is it important to you.
2. Be patient, disciplined, and consistent.
There is no magic wand that makes a fitness resolution succeed. It takes patience and consistent actions on a daily basis.
You can’t get discouraged at the amount of time it’s taking to reach the goal. Small steps each day will continue to get you closer than you were yesterday. Remind yourself how far you have already come. Stay focused on the daily efforts, knowing that, in the end, they will add up to a significant accomplishment.
No magic pill has yet been invented to lose fat or gain muscle overnight. The magic ingredients are patience, discipline, and consistency.
3. Recognize and remove the auto-pilot self sabotaging habits.
Human beings are creatures of habit. We get comfortable in our ways and routines. As a result, it requires specific self-awareness to get off the auto-pilot mode. Maybe it is a certain not so healthy breakfast or dessert everyday. Or the sit down on the couch to watch TV while eating dinner that turns into a 3 hour TV session. Or the two glasses of wine with dinner. Or that drive thru treat at your local coffee shop…every day.
Track a typical day, write it all down. Take note of the daily habits that are helping you move toward your goal, and the ones keeping you from moving forward. Then begin to eliminate or reduce the unhelpful ones.
4. Start small and anchor the new habit.
Start with a 30-second habit that moves you toward your new habit. For example, if part of your new fitness routine includes a run or walk each day, start with the simple act of putting on your sneakers. Not an insurmountable task. But most likely that lack of desire to go for your 30 minute walk won’t be as strong once your shoes are on.
To make that 30-second habit more likely to happen, you can cement it into your day by connecting it (or anchoring it) to an existing daily activity. Choose one that you already do daily around the time you want to start doing the new habit.
For example, let’s say every morning after breakfast you brush your teeth. And you would like to start taking your daily walk in the morning every day. So to anchor this habit to your 30-second starter habit, you would simply put your sneakers on right after you brush your teeth. Then off you go for a brisk walk with fresh breath.
5. Don’t compare yourself to others.
Your story is different from everyone else. Don’t compare your results to someone on social media, in the latest magazine, or on TV. Your journey includes so many other elements than what you are seeing in someone else’s after picture. You must focus on your path and continue to be patient and consistent as you move toward your goal.
6. Ask for help.
Some perceive asking for help as a sign of weakness. But successful fitness resolutions do not come naturally to everyone. Look at asking for help as a sign of determination to make things better and achieve your goal.
Help can come in many forms: it can be joining a Facebook support group or working one-on-one with a fitness coach. Help normally comes with a better plan, accountability, and support, which will increase your chances of success.
7. Be kind and forgiving to yourself.
It is not easy to start a new healthy habit or routine. Part of the process is failing, so you can identify what doesn’t work for you and then adapt the plan to better fit you and your life. Remember when you have a misstep, or something doesn’t quite work the way you thought it would…you must be forgiving and supportive of yourself. Speak to yourself the same way you would talk to a close friend trying to achieve this same goal. Keep in mind that perfect is unattainable…strive for progress instead. Don’t let a setback cause you to give up. Use it as an opportunity to make a better plan and keep moving forward.
As always, if you have additional questions regarding this month's article or have a topic you would like to see covered in future articles; please don’t hesitate to reach out to me via email.