For 45% of us, it is the great ritual we do once a year – set our New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, only 8% of us will actually attain our goal for the New Year. Historically, gyms experience about a 25% increase in membership in January. However, by mid-February attendance is back to normal. For most, it was a “flash-in-the-pan” idea they soon tired of.
However, there are some simple things you can do to keep to your resolution. Here are 5 of the more popular habits people use for success:
Make your fitness goal realistic
One sure way to abandon a resolution is if your fitness goal is too ambitious. Those 20 pounds you want to take off did not come on overnight, but many people have the expectation to take it off that fast. When it doesn’t happen according to their unrealistic schedule, they give up (and usually end up gaining more weight.) Make sure you set SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
Exercise with a buddy
Being accountable to another person is one of the best motivators there is. Once into your New Year fitness, your excitement may begin to wane. However, because you don’t want to let down your exercise buddy, you go to the gym and work out together. If the truth be known, your buddy may not have felt like working out either but did so to keep from letting you down.
Keep a journal
Writing down your starting weight, BMI and other pertinent facts, and then keeping track of your progress, is a great motivator. It is a visual record of the headway you are making. Also write down anything that could or did affect your workout, such as mood or emotions. Writing these things down usually makes everything more clear and does a great job of keeping you on track.
Keep it fresh
If you keep doing the same routine, you eventually tire of it. And your body will adapt and become more efficient meaning it won’t burn as many calories during that routine now as it did when you first started. Periodically change things up – try a routine that exercises different muscles. Keep your body guessing. You’ll see the difference on the scale.
Because your one big goal is so far away, your enthusiasm may falter. One way to prevent this is to establish intermediate goals called milestones in your journal. Once you reach a milestone, reward yourself and start working toward the next one. Just make sure your reward doesn’t sabotage your efforts. In other words if you are losing weight, your reward should not be a high-calorie, high fat meal. Instead, try buying that new workout outfit you have been eyeing.
Stay the course with these 5 tips. You’ll find this year will be easier to keep to your New Year resolution than in the past.
Andrea Stewart Roa, M.S.
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