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The same thing happens year after year. Millions of people around the world begin to make New Year resolutions such as:
- I want to lose weight
- I want to find and enjoy a lasting relationship
- I want to stop smoking or drinking
- I want to change my habits, etc.
But we’re one month into the New Year, and already a lot of individuals have begun to falter and deviate from their 2019 resolutions.
Why resolutions fail:
Most New Year resolutions fail because people make their goals unrealistic and end up losing the motivation to attain them. In fitness and nutrition resolutions, failure is related to several factors including lack of true desire to change, failure to alter root cause habits and choosing a fad or gimmick instead of a sustainable solution. Another huge issue for most folks is fear of the gym and lack of fitness knowledge.
Also, many people find that fitness and nutrition is much more difficult than they were expecting and did not get the results, no matter how unrealistic, they were hoping for. Taking it one step at a time and setting yourself up for success before the New Year arrives is the key but why wait until the next year when you can start right now?
Here are five tips to consider improving your success a resolution anytime of the year:
1 – Be specific and realistic:
Most people, at the onset of the New Year, look for a quick fix or go all in on the latest fad or gimmick. Sadly, we tend to set our goals outside of reasonable and fail to create a strong plan to manage our food intake, workout on a schedule and eliminate influences in our life contrary to our goals. Instead, pick a few goals – or just one at a time – that are not too difficult to attain.
Try improving your plank hold, increase your ability to do push-ups by 5 or get to the gym at least for 30 minutes every other day. Take some time to educate yourself on reasonable expectation for results and resolve to work hard even when those results are slow to come. Fitness is cumulative and increases in interest, just like a good savings account. You must keep putting in effort to see it grow.
2 – Set a schedule:
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Define a monthly schedule of workout commitments along with the duration, exercise type and frequency. We will be more likely to follow a well-balanced plan instead of just taking random classes or undefined cardio. Achieving a weight loss goal within six months is reasonable; participating in a professionally guided training program for three months is also realistic and so on.
Expecting to lose several pounds of fat within days is nonsensical. Create a schedule that involves taking steps daily or weekly and have some loose benchmarks in place so you can affirm progress. Do not be discouraged by slowing results. This may indicate you have adapted to your workouts and you can get out of that rut with some alterations and changes to intensity. Refer to your schedule and update the plan as you go.
3 – Work toward progress, not perfection:
Exercise takes practice and the development of strength, endurance and ultimately fat loss takes time. Look for little signs of progress each day and do not look for perfection at the expense of progress. Ensure your planned outcomes are not based on external projections as we all have different shapes, genetic gifts and separate body types. Specify goals that are not only related to your aesthetics, but also can be measured in other ways. Increasing your deadlift, doing a pull up or lifting your heavy, aging dog into the car are great functional goals.
4 – Start practicing positive affirmations:
If you think you can’t, you are right. We all need to improve our internal conversations and practice treating ourselves with courtesy and respect. Banish negative thoughts about yourself or “hating” parts of your body. Instead, embrace your situation and work hard to change it. Don’t be a bully and tear yourself down. Build internal trust with yourself by maintaining your commitment and affirming your personal value daily.
Say positive things to yourself such as:
- I will not allow myself or anyone else detour me with word or actions
- I will treat myself with love and caring
- I will and am going to do this
- I will reach X goal
These positive affirmations will help you to stay on track but moreover, alter your perspective from negative to positive.
5 – Change your habits, change your life:
A problem with most resolutions is that they ignore the root cause, which are your bad habits. In order to make long-term change, you must create specific strategies to help yourself overcome food temptation triggers, set realistic goals, establish rewards, identify obstacle and attain the mindset for long-term success. Work hard to replace those negative habits with positive behaviors that are sustainable
By Michael S. Parker
CPT, NASM, NESTA, FMS
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