I know a few friends in the fitness industry and every year, they lament to me about a phenomenon that only gyms encounter.
From the week before New Year’s Eve, all the way till the end of January, they experience a surge of membership sign ups and heavy traffic. There are queues at the machines and the free weights section is suddenly full of people lifting (lighter) weights. Post-January frenzy, however, traffic drops off and they end up with the same old regulars, give or take a few new faces.
Dashing your dreams
What’s the reason? Well, all the new sign ups seem to have this “new year, new body” approach, but lack the drive or levity to follow through that resolution. It’s more common than you think, and if you’ve ever made a resolution to “lose 10kg this year” or “drop a dress size or two” (admit it, you have), then I have some news for you: It won’t work!
I have to say, these new year’s fitness resolutions are the worst. You go about setting some goal that is unattainable, then embark on a workout and diet regime that becomes all too painful, all too soon.
Before you know it, you’ve started on the cheesy pasta you swore you’d never touch again and you’ve missed that last MMA class. Within six to eight weeks, you’ve effectively dashed your dreams of fitting into that dress you bought last year.
I hear you asking me with that raised eyebrow. Luckily, I have a solution that will make your life easier. Here’s exactly how you can set New Year’s fitness resolutions that you will keep:
- Cardinal rule: Be realistic!
- It is a promise to yourself: Hold yourself accountable to the goals you set. Just remember that if you let things go or fall off the bandwagon, you’re responsible. It helps you to ask more from yourself, especially in your weakest moments. This is truly all up to you.
- No general goals, only specific actions: Do not resolve to “lose weight” or “drop a dress size”. Instead, focus on calling out very specific actions that you can realistically achieve. For example, you could say “I resolve to work out three times a week”. It’s a clear enough statement, but not too strict because it does not define how long you have to work out.
- No cold turkey treatment: Please do not say “I will go on a vegetarian diet” immediately. You’re putting your body into shock and the reaction may be too strong for you. The same goes for smoking, drinking or any other habit you may want to kick. Instead of completely cutting out something, aim for an incremental reduction. “I will consume meatless meals three times a week” or “I will smoke one less stick a day” is a much more achievable goal, isn’t it?
- Keep your lifestyle in focus: More often than not, it is our lifestyles that derail our fitness goals. When you remember that your lifestyle is as important as your resolutions, you tend to make resolutions that counter negative habits. For example, if you know you snack a lot, then you could say “I resolve to limit snacking to only once a day”. It’s realistic, because you acknowledge your weakness but work towards countering it incrementally.
- Make resolutions visible, everyday: You will forget your resolutions if you don’t write them down and stick them somewhere visible. Some people create entire cork boards dedicated towards their fitness resolutions, but I suggest something quick and easy: Tap out your resolutions on your phone’s Note app, take a screen shot of it and set it as your lock screen. Now, every single time you switch your phone on, you’re reminded of the promise you’ve made to yourself.
Resolutions require Resolve!
I can absolutely make life easier for you. In fact, I just did with all those tips.
What I can’t help you with is keeping your momentum up. Most people fall off the wagon and never get back on because they don’t have sufficient resolve. “It’s too difficult!” or “I’m tired” will ring in you head.
When that happens, I want you to ask just one question: “Who am I doing it for?”
Do it for yourself, for your present and future, and for a more productive, fulfilling life.
Now, let’s go make 2016 the year you made your body better!