It’s that time of year when New Year fitness goals top everyone’s lists of resolutions and priorities. But even with all the bells and whistles (or, more aptly, barbells and whistles) that accompany these well-intentioned workout plans, it seems almost inevitable for many to fail at sticking to them.
In fact, as many as 80 percent of people end up ditching their desires to lose weight, build muscle, or just look and feel better about their bodies before they achieve satisfactory results. It’s a pretty staggering statistic, but the reason why is extremely relatable.1
Life seems to simply get in the way for those who fail to keep resolutions. It’s too hard to stick to the fitness plan they’ve set, they struggle to get back at it once they’ve lagged, or they simply can’t find the time when life gets too hectic.2
Wondering how to start setting fitness goals? Need exercise plans to help achieve those goals? Not sure where or how you’ll find the time and energy to commit to the challenge? Here are some tips to help you beat the odds.
Set A Realistic Fitness Resolution
One good way to stay consistently on course with your resolutions is to set realistic goals that are as concrete as possible. For example, simply putting “Lose Weight” or “Look Five Years Younger” at the top of your to-do list is far too vague. You want to break down what you actually need to achieve these goals. Not doing so might pile on extra pressure you don’t need.
Think about why you’re doing what you’re doing, and start from there. Do you want to feel healthier? Are you trying to bounce back from physical injuries? Are you aiming to avoid age-related cardiovascular and joint issues? These bigger themes can help inform your concrete goals.
Rephrase your goals into actionable habits you can slowly adopt. For example, if you’re trying to get a handle on your health, start with to-do list items like “Cut Out Refined Sugar” or “Walk Outdoors for 30 Minutes Three Times Weekly.” These are more motivating than simply saying “Take Care of My Heart.”
Start slow, and give yourself time. Setting the bar too high can cause you to quit in frustration. Plan your fitness goals around what you can feasibly give in terms of time, money, and effort. Have flexible short-term and long-term goals.3
Don’t be afraid to adapt as you evolve. You may find your priorities shifting as you start seeing results from exercise and getting a better grasp on how your body moves and behaves. You may find you aren’t that keen on dropping weight because you’d rather focus on regaining your flexibility. Or, you may realize you like the mind-body effects that yoga or walking outdoors may have on you more than sticking to a solid gym routine.4
Should You Look To The Internet For Inspiration?
While getting inspiration and motivation from fitness influencers and celebrities can be effective, it’s also easy to feel pressured. Make your goals more about you. How do you want to look and feel?
Now, you can use your own online presence to help you look and feel great in real life. If you use it well, you can use your Facebook and Instagram to access good information on local fitness events you can join, communities of like-minded people on the same journey as you, or the right kind of motivation.
You can also use your phone for fitness tracking apps and messaging groups dedicated to your fitness journey.5
Consider A Personal Trainer
Get an expert’s opinion. Consider getting a personal trainer or signing up for online coaching to help you stay focused and accountable. These pros may also help you set the right goals and keep you on your toes, literally and figuratively.
Certified personal trainers will know how to measure progress and chart your goals in a way that keeps you engaged but safe. You can ask them about crafting a fitness routine that works best for your current fitness level, and you can keep an ongoing dialogue that can help you stay on track.6
Get Social: Try Fitness Classes And Group Workouts
More and more studies are showing that working out in a group helps keep you on point. Having others by your side in a group workout can help you see results faster while also helping to reduce your stress levels. These added benefits might help you stay engaged and help you stick it out for longer.7
Don’t be shy. Inquire at your local gym or studio about fitness classes you can join. Or, why not join a walking or running group in your neighborhood or at work? If you want to start small, you can also consider recruiting a couple of friends to start a fitness challenge with you.
Don’t Forget To Have Fun
If you like what you’re doing, you’re more likely to stick with it. Why not use this new year as motivation to try something new? Maybe you’ve always wanted to try yoga, or you’d like to spend more time in the outdoors. If you were more active in dance or sports when you were younger, maybe you can pick up your old hobbies and interests again.
These are just some ideas you can try in the hopes of helping you commit to your New Year’s fitness goals. Consult your doctor before starting any new exercise routine, go easy on yourself, and have fun with it – you’re well on your way to a healthier and happier you this year.
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