The end of every year revolves around holidays, cold weather, and an amazing plethora of delicious foods, so it’s no wonder that one of the most common New Year’s Resolutions is to increase fitness. It is easy to make that resolution, but a lot harder to keep it for the long haul.
In order to achieve a fitness resolution, you have to change your perspective. Simply saying you want to lose weight, workout more, or gain muscle is too vague and doesn’t give you a path to follow to get to those goals. Laying out some specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely goals will help you achieve success. The SMART model is one way to reach your fitness resolution, but ultimately it can be modified or applied to any life goal.
Make Your Plan
Decide on a specific goal. Instead of a goal to lose weight, decide to lose 10lbs. by a certain timeframe. Instead of a goal to run a race, set your goal to be able run a mile within a certain timeframe. Being specific allows you to decide on a plan that can take you toward that goal.
Be sure that you are mentally and physically ready to make fitness a priority. Once you are, figure out a schedule that works best for you and treat scheduled workout days as appointments. Doing something is better than doing nothing, so even when time is short try to get at least 10 or 15 minutes in.
Set shorter term, measureable goals, then reevaluate and modify when you reach them or if you veer off track. Temporary setbacks will happen and it’s easier to get back on course when your next goal (or its components) isn’t so far from reach. Plan to recognize mistakes and recommit to get past them.
Make goals and their benchmarks attainable and realistic. If you are a fitness newbie or have been away for awhile, start easy with things you know you can accomplish. It will boost confidence and prevent injury. Once you’re feeling capable and stronger, bump up your level and start to challenge yourself.
Patience really is a virtue. A realistic timeline is key to sticking with you resolution. Expectations of tight muscle tone or a 10-minute mile could take a lot longer than you might initially think, and then lead to frustration and quitting. If you know it may take awhile, but if you choose to commit to pushing toward your goals, you will have a higher chance of success.
Find Your Niche
Some people already know their favorite fitness activity, but even then it could get tedious. Try some different sports, gyms, or a new piece of home gym equipment that you haven’t tried before. You might discover something (or several things) that you really love. Enjoying what you do for exercise can give you extra motivation and cross-training helps to keep you from plateauing.
Taking a martial arts class such as various styles of Kung Fu, Chi Kung, Taekwondo, Karate, Judo, etc. can also be a great way to improve not only your physical health but your mental health as well.
You can get some bursts of exercise in non-conventional ways when needed also. Try doing sets of squats, push-ups, planks, or walking in place during commercials while watching tv or waiting for food to cook. Less sitting and more movement will keep you moving steadily toward your goals.
A resolution that lasts is more likely to work with some type of support system. Find friends or family you can rely on to share your goals with. Sharing can keep you accountable and maybe even find you a workout buddy that has the same goals or interests. It’s also harder to back out of a scheduled workout with a friend.
There’s plenty of tech support to back you up if you need extra motivation. Fitness trackers and apps are available to work with all types of platforms now. They can help send you workout reminders, track goals, measure progress, and show you new exercises. Commit is a simple app that features a progress bar that tracks goal progress daily.
And finally, be your own biggest fan. Your mind is a powerful thing- use it to stay positive and praise yourself for even the smallest accomplishments. Reward yourself with something that won’t undo the hard work, like a massage, a new book, or cool workout gear.
This new year’s resolution can really be accomplished with commitment and realistic goals. Every little gain is one step in the right direction towards a fitter lifestyle this year!”