Resolve to succeed in fitness this year
Many of us ring in the new year with vows to get fit, banish junk food and lose weight. But after weeks of holiday indulgence and trying to bolster willpower during the colder, darker winter days, those resolutions often fall flat.
Research from 2015 found that roughly 80 per cent of resolutions fail by the second week of February. Kelly Musovic, Personal Training Divisional Manager with GoodLife Fitness, says when it comes to resolutions, certain patterns emerge that keep people from succeeding.
• We try to do too much at once
• We set goals that are vague
• We try to do it alone
• We’re often too hard on ourselves if we have a lapse of willpower or we don’t succeed right away
By applying sports psychology principles, it’s possible to set realistic, achievable resolutions and train your mind to stick with them into the new year, even when the going gets tough. Here are some principles to help set – and keep – fitness and healthy resolutions for 2018.
Start small: It’s important to focus on gradual improvements and aim to change one behaviour at a time. Start with what you can manage and increase exercise levels slowly. Small successes help build confidence and soon your intentions will become habits.
Talk about it: Tell your friends and family about your plans to build in more physical activity or change your eating habits. By putting it out there you’re more likely to follow through, plus you’ll receive lots of encouragement and support.
Be kind to yourself: When it comes to fitness and healthier eating, it’s important to celebrate your successes and not dwell on the negatives. If you miss a workout one week, make it a point to follow through on your gym routine the week after. Don’t worry about tiny slip-ups, focus on the big picture.
Get an exercise partner: Being accountable to someone else is a huge part of showing up for your workout. Working out with someone else can be more enjoyable and make the time go faster, plus you get extra motivation from the positive feedback.
Be specific: Instead of saying “I’ll get into better shape,” or “I’ll only eat healthy foods from now on,” be more specific. Resolutions with timelines and specifics are easier to measure. For example, “I will lose 10 lbs to feel more confident on my beach vacation in March,” or “I will eat vegetables instead of potato chips at lunchtime to improve my energy levels in the afternoon at work.” Having a specific goal helps you know what to do when temptation arises and it’s easier to measure success and adapt to reach your goals.
Do it for ‘future you’: People are more successful at attaining their resolutions when they keep their future self in mind. Sign up for a 5K run in the spring, plan to look great on your beach vacation or aim to be active with your grandkids. You’re more likely to withstand pitfalls if you’re focused on future success.
Musovic and personal trainers in your area are available to talk more about the elements of resolution success. They can share nutrition strategies and demonstrate some exercises that will amp up the fun and results of your 2018 workouts and keep you motivated well past February.