Starting off the New Year with the right focus on health and fitness takes knowledge and education to make the right choices. There’s a lot of conflicting information and a sea of bad advice out there that can keep you floating in the wrong direction. To keep your fitness-related New Year’s resolution, follow these tips to help you accomplish, master and turn your fitness goals into a lifestyle change.
#1 First, ask yourself why you are choosing a fitness-related New Year’s resolution. If the reason if for anyone other than yourself, you may want to rethink this decision. Exercising should be about becoming stronger, healthier and more fit. It should be something YOU choose to do for YOURSELF, not your mother, boyfriend, work colleagues or anyone else.
#2 Set short-term goals that are easy and achievable. It is important to set small goals over a short period of time to keep you motivated. For example, if you get winded from walking 15 minutes and your goal is to increase your endurance and stamina, your goal today should be to walk for 20 minutes. Gradually increase your walking time in five-minute increments each day. This will help you achieve a longer walking time, build your stamina and increase endurance.
#3 Keep track of your exercise for the week using a log or journal. Note how you are feeling at that time: how does exercise help or affect your mood, quality of sleep and weight? Keeping track of and charting your progress will help you be accountable as you move toward your specific fitness goals.
#4 Join a workout group, walking club or recruit a reliable friend as an exercise partner. Social support is crucial for staying motivated to exercise. Having a partner or a group to exercise with can increase your level of motivation and also help you be accountable to them when you are not feeling so motivated.
#5 Try new things! If you keep doing the same exercise routine, you may get bored and your body won’t be challenged. Incorporating new fitness routines or trying a new style of exercise, such as water aerobics or yoga, can help you reach your goals sooner and keep you interested.
#6 Identify excuses or barriers you might use to avoid working out and have a ready-made response to go with it. For example, if time is an issue, make sure your workout clothes are already packed and ready to go. If you have young children, make sure they can either go with you to the gym or have a babysitter already called so you have no reason to miss a workout.
#7 If you find that you are unable to change your workout routine and find yourself in a plateau, consider hiring a personal trainer. He or she can change and help personalize a workout plan specifically tailored to meet your fitness goals.
#8 It’s perfectly ok to miss a workout routine for a day, just try not to let that day turn into a week! It will only make it that much harder to get back into your routine. Most people tend to miss workouts during the holidays and vacation. Find something fun to do that can also be a form of exercise. If you’re on a cruise, walk around the ship or go swimming. Does your hotel have a gym? Squeeze in just a half hour of simple exercises to stay moving.
#9 Choose exercises appropriate for your age and fitness level. Doing exercises that are too hard for you too soon will leave you exhausted and sore, and make you not want to continue with your goals. The best plan is starting off slow and gradually increasing your workload as your body becomes stronger and fit.
#10 Schedule workout routines on your calendar just as you would with doctor’s appointments or a haircut. If you plan ahead and make time for your workout, it’s more likely that you will continue with it.
By following these tried and true tips, you will be much more successful in keeping your New Year’s fitness resolution. Imagine how accomplished you will feel a year from now when you look back and see all of the exercise goals you have met and, better yet, exceeded!