How to stick to your Fitness Goals
January is always the busiest time of the year for the gym. You might even call it the fitness version of Black Friday. After a holiday season of eating, drinking and being merry (often in excess), you’ll find the gym rammed with members getting back to or just starting their fitness journey.
However, regardless of all that enthusiasm, the gym attendance is usually back to its normal, pre-New Year level by mid-February.
Perhaps that’s because, for many of us, New Year’s resolutions are a bit of a joke: People break them before the year is out and a third won’t even make it to the end of January.
But you don’t need superpowers or an iron will to commit to being healthier this year. Whether your goal is to do 10 push-ups, run a marathon, or be able to comfortably complete 18 holes on the golf course you can get there! Here are a few tips to help you have your fittest year yet:
Write it and Measure it
Resolutions should be both specific and measurable. In fact, a recent study found that setting broad, vague, goals can make people depressed. Writing down your goals is not only a great way to accomplish them, but your list can also help you figure out the exact steps needed to get there.
“I want to lose weight” is a pretty common New Year’s resolution, but how exactly do you go from point A to point B? Instead, try setting a more specific goal. For instance: “I want to lose 4kg over the next six weeks by eliminating fast food meals and going to the gym three to four times per week. I’ll then maintain my goal weight for six months before setting any other new goals.”
Breaking down the goal’s components (with numeric benchmarks), and keeping a regular check list will help solidify the task and keep you on track. Make your resolutions follow the SMART model: specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound
Make your goals Manageable
A resolution shouldn’t be a fantasy. If you’ve never lifted weights before, attempting to hit the weight bench seven days per week is probably setting yourself up for disappointment. For most people, upending a lifetime of habits can’t happen overnight—even if that night is December 31. The reason is partly physiological; the brain just likes comfortable old habits over new, different ones.
The key to sustainable resolutions is to make small changes gradually. So if your goal is to go from never running to finishing a half-marathon, start training gradually. Begin by walking a few miles twice a week, and steadily increase the workload to jogging, and then running over several months.
Break Up Your Goal
Resolving to do 10,000 push-ups in a year is pretty intimidating. But 192 push-ups every week… OK, that’s still pretty scary. But breaking it down to 28 per day looks a lot more manageable, right? A goal that’s either far in the future or far out of your comfort zone can be tough to start, so break the resolution down into achievable steps.
Better yet, give yourself several small resolutions throughout the year. For instance, instead of aiming to add 30kg to your bench press in a year, aim to add just over 2.5kg per month. Easier, right?
Ask for Help
Not knowing how to do a certain exercise is no excuse to write it off completely. If you’re curious about new techniques, or find some exercises that are too intimidating book a review with one of our Wellness Advisors to clear up confusion, help prevent injury, and learn to love new moves. Our Wellness Advisors are here to help, so don’t be self-conscious about asking for advice.
Another idea: If you already have a class you love, don’t be afraid to stick around for a few minutes and ask the instructor about some of the moves you did.