When the New Year approaches, many people want to make a fresh start and set new goals for themselves. Two of the most common ones are to lose weight and get into better shape. Unfortunately, despite good intentions, most people don’t end up achieving these goals. Instead, they return to their old eating habits and their comfy place on the couch next to the television set while reassuring themselves that there’s always next year. Why do so many people fail to achieve their fitness New Year resolution and how can you avoid this problem?
Set Realistic Fitness Goals
Having expectations that are too lofty is a recipe for failure. You may ultimately want to run a marathon, but aspiring to do so in three months when you’ve never run before is unrealistic and likely to lead to frustration and failure. Instead, set a more achievable goal of training for a 5K instead. Once you’ve reached that goal, you can always set a loftier one. It feels good to achieve small goals, and small goals ultimately add up to larger ones.
Make Them Specific
You’re more likely to reach your fitness goals if you make them specific and measurable. It’s not good enough to say you want to lose weight. Set a more concrete, measurable goal of losing 6 pounds a month instead. Having a specific goal keeps you on course and gives you something measurable to strive for. It’s too easy to lose your motivation when you set vague goals that don’t have a defined endpoint. Give yourself a timeline for achieving a specific goal to stay motivated, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t reach it. Simply refocus and redefine your goal rather than quitting in frustration. And make sure to record your results in our free online Workout Manager. Studies show that people who record their progress in an online journal double their weight loss!
Make Sure Your Goals Are Consistent with Your Lifestyle
Look at the bigger picture, but make it something you can execute on a day-to-day basis. If you’re working a full-time job and caring for a family, trying to work out 2 hours a day isn’t realistic. Instead, set aside 30- 50 minutes each day to exercise. If you kick your workout up a notch you can get a kick-butt workout in 30 – 50 minutes doing high-intensity interval training one day and strength-training the next. My new Low Impact series has plenty of timesaver premixes to fit your busy schedule and workouts like AfterBurn, Cardio Supersets and Athletic Training will blast away your recently added holiday calories without the impact! If time is an issue, you can also set your alarm 30 minutes earlier, and exercise first thing in the morning. Take your lifestyle into account when planning your fitness goals.
Don’t Make Perfection Your Goal
Some people approach their New Year’s fitness resolutions with gusto, at least at first. They get up every morning before dawn and work up a sweat. Then something happens that keeps them from working out for a few days. In frustration they give up because they got off track. Setbacks are a part of life, and it’s important to plan for them. If you have to miss a few days of exercise, don’t beat yourself up and then give up entirely. Pick up where you left off. Expect setbacks such as family issues, illness or injuries and have a plan for getting back on course when they happen. This is why in my STS strength training program you get a week off every month!
Make Your Fitness Goals Flexible
One reason people don’t stick with their New Year’s fitness resolutions long term is because they aren’t flexible enough to adapt. If you accept a job assignment that takes up time you would normally spend at the gym, find a different workout time or modify your routine so you’re getting more done in less time. Flexibility is key to long-term fitness success. Find a way to adapt your workout when life throws you a few curves. Approach your goals with some flexibility. If circumstances make it so you can’t meet you a goal, change it to one you can achieve. Be flexible enough to adjust your goals so you won’t give up if you can’t achieve them during the time period you’ve set.
The Bottom Line?
Choose realistic, specific, measurable fitness goals for the New Year, and you’re more likely be successful. Add in a dose of flexibility so you won’t give up entirely when life throws you a curve ball, and think positively. You can do it one goal at a time.