It’s that time of year again.. The New Year will be arriving within the hours and the resolutions will be flowing in. Ranging from weight loss to personal hygiene, the resolutions are usually as varied as the people making them. Personally, I’ve never been into making New Year’s Resolutions for myself. I have no issues with those who do make them, I just find that they’re not for me. But for those of you that are planning on making a resolution for yourself this New Year, I want to give you some tips on not only how to stick to your resolution, but some reasons why many of them fail. Hope this helps.
This is, without a doubt, one of the most important aspects of starting and maintaining a successful exercise program. Whatever your goal may be – running a 10k, adding 20 lbs to your bench press, losing 30 lbs for the summer – it HAS to be attainable. To go even further with that, is has to be attainable within a reasonable time period. Your long-term goal may be to drop 40 lbs, which is attainable for most people. BUT, it won’t happen overnight. Long-term goals are very important, but you must break them up into smaller short-term goals. This allows you to see success more frequently, which will motivate you even more to reach that bigger goal down the road. Set those goals, both long- and short-term, and get to work!!
Let me start this section of by being very honest: You CANNOT make long-term lifestyle changes by yourself. Sure, you may like to exercise by yourself. Whether it’s running or lifting weights, you might prefer to be alone when you’re exercising. I get that, because I am often in the same ship. BUT, there will come a time when things become difficult. That initial high that everyone gets when they begin an exercise program will eventually wear off. So what happens then??? You have to find an outside source of motivation and accountability. Find a partner to workout with a few days per week, invest in a personal trainer or group fitness classes, or get your spouse/significant other on board with you. Trust me, I am a HUGE advocate or self-discipline and internal motivation. Without it, you will get nothing accomplished in life. But, even the most driven and determined people need help every now and then. I have been there, and believe me, it makes a world of different. So find some accountability – whatever form it may come in – and take your training to the next level!!
Variety, the spice of life, right?? As most of you know, this applies to almost every aspect of life. Why do so many people get tired of their jobs?? Maybe because they do the same thing over and over again day after day. Well, it should come as no surprise that exercise is no different. Now, there is a lot to be said for developing a routine and sticking to it. But, just as with anything else, if you don’t add a little variety to things, you WILL get tired of it. Get off of the treadmill and hit the pavement for a little while. Add some resistance training along with your cardio training. Try some group fitness classes (I hear kickboxing is a great workout). Adding variety will not only limit the monotony of exercise, but providing new stimuli will keep the body in a constant state of adaptation, which will in turn lead to better results.
When it comes to making (and sticking to) a New Year’s Resolution, consistency IS the name of the game. You will not be successful if you are not consistent. All too often people will go through peaks and valleys when it comes to exercise. When they are on, and they’re peaking, things are great. They are in shape and feeling good. But what happens when they stop? All of that seems to slip away. The troubling part about that is that it is a lot harder to gain it back than it is to lose it. So, why not stick with it in the first place?? I’m not saying it is easy to stay on top of your game, but I am saying it is important. Things are much more effective, and you will get much better results, if you can avoid those extreme highs and lows and stay more consistent.
The New Year provides a great opportunity for individuals to have a clean slate and start all over again. If you are one of those people, then I applaud you. But you must remember this: Nobody said it was going to be easy. It will be difficult at times. But, if you can set reasonable goals, find that external source of motivation, and add some variety to it, your program will be much easier to follow and the results will show. That may sound like a lot, but you know what?? YOU CAN DO IT!!! So, with that said, I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes that I apply to almost all walks of life…
“If it’s easy, it’s not going to be worth it. If it’s worth it, it’s not going to be easy”