We’ve all done it. The first of the year rolls around and we say to ourselves, “I am going to exercise more this year!” We go to the gym that is packed with other ‘resolutioners’, hop on a treadmill, and away we go. Three weeks later we find ourselves not exercising with the same vigor we had and we start to lose motivation. Before we know it we are back into the old routine of not working out. What happened?!
It turns out that around 80% of us fail our new years resolutions by the middle of February according to a study by US News. Fitness related resolutions can be extremely challenging to stick with as the majority of us who fail our resolutions do so because we do not see an immediate impact from our efforts. Today’s society is all about instant gratification (IE Facebook comments, Instagram likes, etc.) so it makes sense that we tend to give up on something if the results aren’t showing right away.
So what can we do to stick with our new years fitness resolutions and start to see the results we want? The best way to stay on track is to set reasonable and attainable goals with tangible milestones, understand that change takes time, and to set a system for accountability and motivation.
Goal setting is the best way to progress in anything you are doing. However, you must set a goal properly in order for it to be achievable so you can stick with it. You will want your goal to be something tangible/ achievable rather than vague and unobtainable. Furthermore, you will want to set a big picture goal that can be achieved by milestones and smaller specific goals. For instance, if my new years resolution this year involves fitness my big picture goal may be to lose 15 pounds this year. This is a tangible, statistical figure I can look at that is also obtainable. In order to get there, I need to set a few smaller milestones. I may say that by April I will have lost 5 pounds, by August another 5 pounds, and I will lose the remaining 5 by the end of the year. Now that we have our milestones, we need the path that gets us there by setting small goals. This may be by making sure to exercise at least 4 times a week, lift weights at least two times a week and do cardio at least 2 times a week, take the stairs at work, walk 10,000 steps every day, etc. On the other end, a bad way to go about goal setting would be to say “my goal is to exercise more this year”. Your goal is too vague, you have no tangible way of evaluating your performance, and there is no path to achieving anything. Setting a goal properly is the best way to achieve your fitness new years resolution.
Change Takes Time
As we discussed earlier we are a society that is obsessed with instant gratification, which has more of an impact on our personal lives than we know. We fail our fitness goals because after a few weeks we look in the mirror and still see the same person we saw when we started our resolution so we begin to lose motivation. It is VERY important to understand that change takes time and that patience is a must if we want to achieve our goals. Our resolutions should be small steps that eventually lead to a lifestyle change where over time we will see the results we want. It can’t be some major life change that happens over night or you are destined to fail. Change is a marathon, not a sprint, and if we are to achieve our goals we need to understand that.
Accountability and Motivation
Another way to make sure we stay on track with our fitness resolutions is to develop a system of accountability and motivation. Accountability can be a huge motivator to continue to push through the difficult and monotonous steady climb of a goal. The best way is to find a partner to join you on your quest and to keep each other accountable. Find a friend who has a similar fitness goal as you and push each other, go to the gym with each other, get mad at each other for failing. A buddy system for accountability is probably the biggest motivating factor. It is important to find other motivating factors as well. You might take a “before” photo of yourself and over time you will be reminded of how your hard work is paying off by taking progression photos. You might write down some motivational quotes on sticky notes and keep them posted at your desk or your fridge. You might keep your family as the background on your phone as a reminder that you need to get healthy for them. There is no blueprint for motivation, just find what works for you!
Setting proper goals, understanding that change takes time, and finding a system for accountability and motivation are all big factors that allow us to stick to our fitness resolutions. Vita4Life wishes you well for this upcoming year.
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