This weeks blog first appeared here: New Year’s Fitness Resolutions To Set And To Actually Achieve (itswellplanned.com)
After years and years of statistics showing that less than 10% of people actually keep to their New Year’s resolutions, there’s a running joke these days to say that New Year’s resolutions are meant to be broken! If you’re planning on making this the year you finally get fit, here are some New Year’s fitness resolutions that won’t make you cringe. These resolutions aren’t about taking on new and stressful habits – instead, think about creating small changes that will result in big benefits!
Identify Why Your Fitness Resolutions Matter To You
You know the drill – at this time of year, everyone resolves to get fitter, healthier and happier. But for how long does that last? Sadly, for most, it doesn’t. We’ve all seen that news story about fat New Year resolutions again – and how quickly people abandon them by February. Having a clear “why” will help you sift through resolutions that actually matter to you and help you stick to the in the long run.
Fitness is a broad term that encompasses many different activities and practices. You can exercise almost anywhere and at any time of day or night. There are also a variety of reasons why fitness is important to each of us. Identifying your “why” before you set out to become a better version of yourself, will help you keep your motivation going.
Some of the most common reasons for setting fitness-focused new year’s resolutions are:
- Weight loss.
- An event, be it your first marathon or a wedding.
- Intention to lead a more healthy lifestyle.
But when considering your “why”, we ask you to dig just a little deeper. Ask yourself what impact your fitness journey will actually have on your life.
- Will it help you keep up with your small children, enabling you to go on more adventures and find new activities?
- Is your fitness plan for the next day going to set a good example for your family members?
- Will regular physical activity help you reach your real goal of feeling more confident?
Yet fitness has many benefits beyond looking better in your new swimsuit or topping up your summer holiday selfies with a snap of you on some Alpine peak or tropical waterfall. Fitness can lead to better sleep, higher energy levels, a stronger heart and lungs, a better immune system and even increased happiness by releasing endorphins. What is more, having a consistent fitness program and workout routine will help you build new healthy habits, that will last longer than the one-year mark, keeping the benefits coming for years to come!
Set Realistic Fitness Resolutions
Setting realistic fitness resolutions is the most important part of making sure that you succeed. But how do you know if you’ve set yourself attainable goals? An effective way to asses how realistic and achievable goals are, is to pause and think:
- Have you set this goal for yourself 3 years in a row and never achieved it? If so, maybe you need to concentrate on smaller goals this year.
- Do you know anyone who has successfully achieved what you’re setting out to do? Has anyone gone from not exercising at all for 20 years to breaking world records in running?
- Do your New Year’s Fitness resolutions align with your schedule? Don’t commit to exercising for 2 hours a day if you won’t be able to find the time. Start small – if you keep to your resolutions for a couple of months, you can always adjust them to make them more challenging.
- Are you setting SMART goals? Saying that you want to “exercise more” has good intentions, but has no indication of what steps you need to take, what makes you successful or the frequency of your workout schedule.
- Specific: set goals that are clear and to the point, e.g. “I will exercise 5 times a week for no less than 30 minutes each time.”
- Measurable: you can clearly measure how many times and for how long you’ve exercised following the example above.
- Attainable: if you haven’t exercised in years, set yourself smaller goals that you know you can stick to. Maybe start by doing a short workout 3 times a week, and adjust to make it more challenging when it becomes easier. Your ultimate goal is not to quit!
- Relevant: Does your fitness resolution align with your long-term dreams and other resolutions you’re setting for yourself? If your financial resolutions include saving a large amount of money next year, maybe hiring a personal trainer should not be one of your fitness resolutions this year.
- Time-Bound: New Year’s resolutions are time-bound by design. You will measure your success at the same time next year, assessing whether you’ve been able to stick to your goals and built new habits last year. But don’t shy away to divide your yearly goals into smaller chunks. For example, if your yearly goal is to run a half marathon, you can set yourself monthly distance- or time-related goals.
Remember that you have a long way to go, so it is always better to pace yourself. We get it, you are full of energy and new-found motivation to go all in, but we can assure you that this motivation will fade at least a little bit after the first week, maybe even more after a month! Set your fitness-focused new year’s resolutions to last! Start small to give yourself an excellent head start in achieving your final goal!
Look Past The One Year Mark and Concentrate on Habit Building
New Year’s fitness resolutions are short-term goals! Yes, one year is a significant amount of time that doesn’t apply too much pressure or cause stress. But here’s a problem! If you only start exercising towards the end of the year and call it a success, because you have, in fact, “exercised more”, you are missing the point! The biggest reasons for setting New Year’s resolutions at the start of the year is to keep changing little things in our life on a regular basis in order to arrive at our bigger goal.
By starting small and building up these small changes into habits, you’ll be able to sustain your efforts for longer than a year. By focusing on the long-term, you’ll be better able to sustain any lifestyle changes that you make.
Examples of Worthwhile Fitness Resolutions
If you do not consider yourself an athlete, nor do you aim to run a marathon, there are still a bunch of reasons you should see fitness as a priority. Not only can consistent exercise improve your overall health, but the impact on your mood and mental health is immeasurable.
Here are some ideas for your New Year’s Fitness resolutions that will help you work on your fitness levels and self-esteem and confidence building:
- Go for a 30-minute walk 5 days a week.
- Stretch for 10 minutes after every other dog walk.
- Block time off in your schedule to be active, be it a 30-minute walk in point 1, or another fitness class at your gym. The goal is to keep a slot in your calendar for it!
- Set out to try at least 3 new fitness classes at your gym (and give each at least 5 attempts to see if you like it!). Try aqua aerobics, barre, yoga, or maybe something hardcore, like meta fit?
- Use a fitness app or fitness tracker all year round to track your activity, identity when and why you do best and what activities make you feel good!
- Do not use an elevator or escalators all year long (unless there’s no other option, of course).
- Ride your bike, if the car journey would take less than 10 minutes!
Tips and Tricks To Help You Achieve Your Fitness Resolutions
- Support and Accountability System. It can mean a lot of different things to many people. Some find an accountability system in paying for 1-year gym membership upfront – this way the thought of money going down the drain forces them to go to the gym regularly. Others support and accountability by attending group fitness classes, where they can work out with other new members. Yet other people like having a workout buddy, or even just a friend that keeps track of their progress for them. Another example is publicizing your fitness goals (sometimes even on social media) so that you have to answer to the whole wide world on the internet (and if such pressure works well for you, go for it!).
- Track Your Progress and Reward Yourself For Small Success. Waiting a whole year to establish if you’ve been successful may be a little to far into the future to keep your motivation levels up. Track your progress daily/ weekly/monthly and make sure to reward yourself with a small treat every time you hit a milestone. You’ll be able to celebrate your successes and track your progress much more easily if you keep a fitness journal or have a habit-tracking app. Body composition statements, measuring speed or the number of push-ups you can do as the months go by are some other examples of keeping track of your progress.
- Start smaller than you think you should. Our motivation on the 1st of January is at its peak, and will more than likely diminish as the weeks go on. Start small with realistic goals that fit into your daily routine after the festive period in order to keep it up in the long run.
- Focus on changing your habits, and not on your willpower.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. Compare yourself today with your last month’s self to gauge your progress.
- Accept that mistakes will happen and prepare to pick yourself up! Don’t let yourself get discouraged by setbacks. Instead, view them as learning opportunities, and try to improve from your mistakes.
- Forced Motivation. One of the best ways to trick yourself into building a habit is to force yourself into motion. For example, as soon as you get up, put your workout clothes on. Leave your trainers at the bottom of the stairs the night before. Fill up a water bottle and leave it by the door for your next run. Set out your weights ready for that Body Pump class in advance. Make a conscious effort to leave yourself no way out!
New Year’s fitness resolutions can be a great way to improve your health and well-being, but you have to be realistic about what you’re trying to achieve. Instead of trying to take on too much at once, try making smaller changes that you can build up over time. If you follow these tips, you’ll be able to set fitness resolutions that are specific to your needs. Once you’ve set them, it’s up to you to put in the work to make them happen.