Any time of year is a good time to make changes and set goals, but there’s no denying that January is a time when health and fitness becomes a priority for many.
Almost half of all adults say they make yearly resolutions, but only about 10 per cent of people manage to stick to them. So how can you stick to your health and fitness goals once the gloss of the new year has worn off?
1. Be realistic
Simplicity is key. If you haven’t exercised for a long time, simply committing to walking or moving your body three times per week may be enough for your exercise program. Your goals should be achievable and realistic. As your fitness increases, you can set new goals and try new things.
2. Set clear goals
Lots of people say they’d like to “get fit” or “lose weight”. But that’s not specific enough. Setting clear goals like “swim twice per week and do one weights session” or “make four home-cooked meals every week” gives you something specific to aim for and is directly related to what you want to achieve.
3. Partner up
Find a friend who has similar goals or who likes to exercise in the same way. Having a buddy who you can make plans with is motivating and can help you stick to your training goals.
4. Sign up for a mid-year event
Committing to a mid-year event can help keep your fitness aspirations on track. Whether it’s a fun run or obstacle course like the Spartan Race, having an event to work towards can give you that extra boost of motivation.
5. Understand what it takes to make and break a habit
Habits are hard to make and break. It’s important to have an understanding of what makes you tick and of common barriers that crop up when you’re trying to make a new habit (or break an old one), so you know what to avoid or keep doing. These can be anything from making sure you get a good night’s sleep because you know you’re more likely to get up early the next day to do some morning exercise, to setting an alarm an hour before dinner needs to be ready because you know you can get caught up in other tasks and run out of time to make that home-cooked meal.
6. Find what you enjoy
You’re more likely to stick with something if you enjoy doing it, so if gyms aren’t your thing, don’t force yourself into one. Instead of spending money on a gym membership, perhaps invest in an outdoor personal training session, a new bike, a trial session at the local dance studio, or simply take the time for a walk after work to decompress – just find something that will make you happy to get moving.
7. Be kind to yourself
You’re not alone if you sometimes lose sight of your resolutions. But every day is a new day and an opportunity to start again. Changing your mindset is important. If you see exercise as a chore, then you’ll never enjoy it. Rather than focusing on losing weight, aim to move your body every day and focus on the mental benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Rid yourself of exercise guilt and focus on the positive changes you’ve made.