Following through with your healthy resolutions for the New Year can be tough.
It takes discipline, passion, and a persistent willpower to keep you going through the months, especially when motivation falters and the novelty’s finally worn off. In fact, sticking with a healthy New Year’s resolution can be so difficult that only about 9% of Americans actually feel like they’ve successfully achieved their goals each year.
But when it comes to meeting your fitness goals next year, there are a few things you can do to make sure you achieve (if not surpass) your New Year’s fitness resolutions in 2018.
1. Set REALISTIC New Year Fitness Goals
Whether you’re looking to pack on muscle and boost your gains in the coming year or you want to melt the pounds away with an incredibly effective meal regimen (we recommend the ketogenic diet), the foundation for successfully changing your life habits is to set goals that are actually realistic.
We all tend to see the future through rose-colored glasses, often attributing to ourselves a level of persistent enthusiasm we rarely exhibit, even on our best days. And it’s true, these optimistic ideals may seem like they’ll simply push us to be ever more diligent, dedicated, and disciplined.
After all, what’s so bad about wanting to become the best versions of ourselves?
Well, the truth is that lofty goals may do more harm than good, especially when they’re not met. When you set the bar too high, you’re setting yourself up for failure which can be a severe blow to motivation.
Instead, the best tactic here is to craft your goals using incremental progress. Rather than setting one enormous goal, focus on several smaller ones along the way. Use numerous benchmarks to track your progress and don’t be afraid to tweak your end goals a bit accordingly. Remember, a respectable goal achieved is worth twenty unfulfilled spectacular ones.
2. Put the Planning Effort into Your Healthy Resolutions
Planning is the name of the game when it comes to switching up your status quo.
What kind of benchmarks do you have for your goals? How exactly do you plan to achieve them? What kinds of things do you need to take out of your daily routine and what types of activities do you need to start incorporating?
Each of these questions are ones that you should consider when building up your health resolutions for next year.
One important aspect that actually ends up thwarting many people’s success is the time factor. How will your new exercises and healthy habits cut into existing activities? What kind of contingency plan do you have for when unexpected events pop up? What about when you’re away from home and the same equipment isn’t available?
While it may sound overly nitpicky at first, having a plan in place will both give you the outline you need to stick to your goals as well as help you really start considering just how different your day-to-day will be.
3. Track Your Progress Diligently
Like any other substantial endeavor, achieving an impressive goal requires persistent dedication. And one of the best ways to ensure you’re on the right track for meeting your New Year’s healthy resolutions is to track your progress with steadfast consistency.
Whether you’re counting calories in breakfasts, lunches, and dinners or tracking your weight and reps in the gym, keeping a detailed record will give you the data to spot trends, alter techniques, and revel in your impressive progress along the way.
And with the numerous fitness trackers on the market today (some of which are better than others), doing so has never been easier.
4. Tell People About Your Health Resolutions… or Don’t?
Humans are social beings and when we’ve decided to take a step to improve ourselves, it’s only natural to want to spread the word to the people you’re close with. There’s a certain feeling of reward and satisfaction that comes from it.
But, there’s a bit of debate going on right now about which approach is actually better: to tell your friends and family about your New Year’s fitness goals or to keep it under wraps?
There are undoubtedly benefits and detriments to each.
When you tell others about your plans to shave off those extra pounds or to add another plate to your bench press, you’re actually extending your net of accountability. Each new person is one more voice that may just keep you motivated by checking up on your progress. And one more person to let down if you don’t follow through.
It only seems natural, then, that the more open you are about your goals, the more likely you’ll be to stick to them. Right?
Well, the science is actually a bit split on the subject. Some studies, have actually shown that the simple act of telling someone about your goals may lead to a sense of gratification that may in fact remove the motivation required to actually complete them.
As Derek Sivers put it in a TED Talk on the subject, “The mind is kind of tricked into feeling that it’s already done. And then because you’ve felt that satisfaction, you’re less motivated to do the actual hard work necessary.”
The takeaway here is to be aware of the fact that simply talking about your goals won’t mean a thing – unless you actually act on them.
5. Commit to Your Healthy New Year’s Resolutions
If you’re like most people, you’re probably under the impression that creating a habit that you’ll actually stick to requires just 21 days of diligence, and then presto – your new endeavor will feel like second nature.
And while this is certainly a good starting point for your New Year fitness goals, you shouldn’t expect a miraculous change of heart on the morning of day 22. In fact, studies have shown that many times, steadfast habits can take on average 66 days to build – sometimes even up to 254 days.
Beyond that, it isn’t as if once your healthy habit is ingrained that temptations disappear entirely. There will always be days where the warm appeal of an extra hour in bed may seem overwhelming. There will always be dinner outings with irresistible dessert options. And they’ll all keep popping up long after the 21-day mark.
In the end, turning a habit into second nature will often take longer than you think. And even then, you’ll always be tempted to slip up every now and then. As a result, you need to find ways to solidify your success (like working with a personal trainer) and stay motivated throughout.
6. Invest the Funds…
Money can be an incredibly powerful motivator for influencing almost any life choice – salary for deciding on a career, property taxes for where to live, and sales for where to shop. And when it comes to setting exercise goals for the new year, the draw of the almighty dollar is no different.
In order to help ensure your exercise goals get met this year, try to add a bit of a financial incentive to the game. It could be shelling out the cash on effective and easy-to-use equipment or investing in a membership to a gym (which comes with the added benefit of countless amenities and invaluable expertise from trainers).
But no matter where you decide to put your money, the pull to actually make use of and capitalize on your investment could be the motivation you need to achieve your healthy New Year’s resolutions. Heck, you can even take advantage of certain fitness apps that actually pay you to reach your exercise goals.
But similar to informing your friends and loved ones about your goals beforehand, be careful not to let the purchase of equipment substitute for actually working towards achieving those goals.
7. More Importantly, Invest the TIME
This is where many over-ambitious resolution-makers tend to set themselves up for failure from the start. If you expect to reach your fitness goals for next year, you simply must accommodate for them in your routine.
And finding ways to juggle both gym-time and your personal life is absolutely essential to maintaining motivation and even giving yourself enough time to get to the gym in the first place.
As such, don’t expect to pick up a few extra miles in the morning or an extra strength training session after work without sacrificing sleep or your free time. What’s more, the deficiencies in these areas may start adding up too, leading to over-exhaustion, neglected family time, or a less fulfilling social life.
If you want your health goals for next year to really come to fruition then, you need to plan out your time. If a more intense exercise regime is going to cut into another area of your life, compensate it with time unnecessarily spent somewhere else.
Hit the hay an hour earlier instead of binge watching mediocre TV. Skip the video games after work and get together with a few friends for some valuable face-to-face time.
Essentially, the more you learn to prioritize your life, the less likely you’ll be to fall short of the fitness goals you’ve worked so hard for.
8. Don’t Forget to Reward Your Efforts
And finally, be sure take the time to reward yourself when you do actually accomplish a goal. The key to sticking with any program, whether it be a workout routine, diet, or even a change of attitude, is motivation. And without supplementing your exercise goals with little pick-me-ups every now and then, your motivation is bound to suffer.
This is where strategically-crafted goals and benchmarks come into play. Rather than focusing on only one overarching goal that takes significant time to accomplish, break it down into smaller components you can achieve in far less time.
And while it’s undoubtedly important to stick to your strategy and dietary goals, giving yourself a break every now and then can be key to cutting down on mental fatigue, monotony, and boredom.
Sticking with Your Exercise Goals in 2018
In the past, you may have entered the new year excited to get serious about our physical fitness only to lose motivation and fall back into old, unhealthy habits only a few months later. We’ve all been there before.
But this year, maybe it’s time to take a different approach and really put in the work (and planning) necessary to get the results you want.
And at The Mecca Gym, we’re here to help. Contact us today to start.