I know, I know, it’s another year and the last thing you want to be reminded about are the fitness goals you’ve failed to accomplish last year. Like many of us, it’s a recurrent problem and year after year we all say the same thing “This year I’m really going to change and stick to my goals!” when In fact, we are less likely to be successful. A study conducted by Harris Interactive cites that as many as 73% of people who set fitness goals as New Year’s resolutions actually fail to complete them.
So how do we break this continuous cycle in order to achieve our fitness goals? The answer? If something is not working then change your approach.
1. Understand your motivation.
Defining your motivation and understanding the reason for improving your fitness is the most important step. For every decision or choice that we make, there is always a reason behind everything that we do. By identifying your motivation this allows you to establish concrete goals and have direction in pursuit of accomplishing them. For example: Are you motivated to lose weight this year for an upcoming wedding or class reunion? Trying to get in shape for an annual physical? Have you recently recovered from an injury and trying to prepare for an upcoming marathon? Remember, this can be an ongoing process that may start with a specific objective, but can eventually blossom into multiple goals.
2. Set obtainable fitness goals.
If you blindly attempt to start a fitness routine by going to the gym without setting your goals, you’ve already failed before you’ve begun. Set concrete obtainable fitness goals by setting a goal that has a purpose, is measurable, and has an expected completion date. Doing this, means you’re more likely to stick with your goal, as you realize there is an end in sight.
3. Set goals socially, but don't count on them!
You are more likely to accomplish your fitness goals if you are held responsible for them. A good way to stay committed to your goals is to let others know what you are doing and trying to accomplish them with friends. In fact, 44% of those who make a New Year’s resolution find it easier to make resolutions between friends and family according to a study by FeelUnique.com. Whether sharing your fitness goals with friends, family members, or social media followers, this helps to keep you focused and is also great for accountability. However, if you choose to achieve a fitness goal with someone (e.g. loosing weight) realize that self-motivation plays an important factor here. Understand that there will be times when you may be working alone towards your goals and you must remain motivated and disciplined to stay the course.
4. Time, time, time plays a factor.
We are a busy culture. You’re probably saying to yourself right now “There isn’t enough time in the day”. We’re continuously filling our schedule with so many obligations that we have little time to attend to ourselves. Avoid the pitfall of limited time and achieve your fitness goals this year by carving out a designated time in order to accomplish your resolution. Try this. Sacrifice an hour to get an hour. Add time to your schedule by going to bed an hour early, therefore allowing you to wake up earlier in order to work out at the gym.
5. Have patience it takes 21 days.
In order to form new habits and break old patterns it takes at least 21 solid days of change. Understand that in a culture of instant gratification, nothing is instant as it pertains to fitness. I continuously warn my clients that the first 21 days are going to be the hardest. You will be tested and encouraged to break your newly formed routine, but you must remain disciplined and hang in there. Yes, you will be frustrated because you don’t see results fast enough, but a good rule of thumb for guidance is to remember that an ideal goal weight loss is two pounds per week and 6 weeks for noticeable physical change.
6. Keep it fresh avoid boredom.
Change it up and try something new every week. Keep it fun and interesting by trying a new fitness class, rotating between cardio, interval and strength training or try the rock-climbing wall at your gym. Keep it fresh by utilizing the technology you already have to help guide you through the process. Social fitness apps such as Fitocracy or gadgets like the Fitbit help to track your performance, tailor workouts, and track your progress. Changing your routine often and keeping things interesting means you’re more likely to stick to your fitness goals and avoid boredom.
7. Dedicate yourself to learning.
You can complete 100 squats 500 burpies and 10,000 clamshells, but if you’re not practicing the correct technique you’re not going to get the result you are looking for. Take time to learn the correct technique, reps, sets, and proper form for various exercises. Understand the importance of flexibility, strength training and improving cardio toward accomplishing your goals.
8. If there is one thing to take from this post, think about nutrition.
If there is one thing you need to change, it’s your nutrition. I can’t emphasize enough how nutrition plays and important role in transforming your body. And no, you don’t have to only eat salads. Who wants to do that? That’s boring anyway. Change it up a bit by supplementing your hard work with good healthy eating habits. I follow fitmencook.com, which offers a variety of interesting, innovative menu choices such as superhero sweet potato sliders, and Mediterranean chicken wraps. All the recipes are carb friendly, protein boosters, and break down the macronutrients to help you reach your fitness goals while improving your eating habits.
9. The most important phase of changing your approach: The Maintenance phase.
You’ve accomplished your personal fitness goals. It took you 3 months 5 days and 23 hours and now you’re the proudest person on the face of the earth. What do you do now? Beware; it’s very easy to fall back into your old habits without good structure. The maintenance phase is one of the most important phases in fulfilling your new years resolution. Remember, this is an ongoing process. Keep up with your new habits. Never let your hard work go to waste. Even though you’ve accomplished your current fitness goals continue your progress and challenge yourself by setting new ones. This helps you to maintain your current gains while striving for new goals.
I'm taking my own advice. I truly believe in order to be successful you have to lead by example. It wouldn’t be right for me to give advice and not take it myself. So I would like to lead by example and share my fitness goals socially. This year I’m motivated to compete in the 2015 Tough Mudder on June 13th in Dowswell Virginia, and in the process I would like to improve my lean body mass by losing 30 pounds. With proper nutrition, keeping it fun and my readers keeping me accountable I believe I will be successful in fulfilling my fitness goals. Follow me through my journey as I bring in the New Year with a bang.
Refuse to be another statistic. Fulfill your New Year's Fitness goals by identifying your motivation, remaining disciplined and staying the course. I would love to hear about one of your fitness goals for 2015. Feel free to share it in the comment section below. Happy New Year!