So it’s coming up on one month into the New Year, and so far maybe you’ve stuck with your exercise resolution, except that one time. And you managed to adhere to that diet resolution, so you’ve lost a couple pounds. But you thought you would have lost more by now. And that “de-clutter your life” resolution looks even further away, considering the mess you have in front of you. For national clean your desk day last week, did you even clean, bro??
But – don’t give up on yourself or these resolutions too quickly, it’s still early in the year. Believe in yourself and find the best supportive environment for you to succeed. With the right support, it’s easier than you think to get and stay fit. Here’s an ideal list of how to lessen the pain of sticking to your resolutions. Good luck!!
1. Set a reasonable expectation for yourself
If your waist is 40 inches and your resolution is to get it to 32 inches by St. Patrick’s Day, you’re going to be working really hard; or, you’ve set yourself up for failure from the beginning. What happens if you don’t make that goal? How motivated will you feel to continue? Well, my advice is not to set that colossal goal in the first place. Change is incremental, so you’ve got to first develop a habit of exercise, then just keep showing up and DOING IT. I could sell athletic shoes with that slogan…
Too often, the people who jump in full force from the beginning, lose momentum by March. Many even stop after a first day of dieting or first workout because they are “starving” or sore from the different body movements. Or just the opposite which can be worse, as a novice they hurt themselves trying to do too much too soon.
I say start small. Google some info and ask an expert how to set the best resolution for you. Set an attainable goal within a reasonable time frame. If your goal is fitness or running a marathon, consult a trainer. If your goal is losing weight, also consult a nutritionist to help you develop a meal plan.
2. Pick a supportive pal
Who’s your buddy, who’s your pal? A friend can keep tabs on you and help to motivate you. They can also be some friendly competition to see who can get to their goal first. The best part is that you are less likely to skip your work out if you know someone else is there waiting for you. You’re more likely to follow your meal plan if you share common goals with your dining companion. That could mean at work eating lunch with your work pal most every day, and also includes support at home by making a space for a household evening meal together. Every night.
3. Hire a trainer
You might expect me to write that because I am a personal trainer. Maybe. But beyond that, I can tell you that hiring my first fitness trainer was the single best thing I ever did for myself. Until I stopped smoking; that was the best. But, my decision to stop smoking and the willpower I needed came from my personal strength, internal and external, that came directly from working with a trainer. From him I learned how to care for myself and remain strong throughout my lifetime. Exercise will lead to other great things in your life. You’ve got to do it to believe in it, and once you believe in it, you’ll do it on your own.
4. Acknowledge your accomplishment when you are staring at what seems like a failure
(Formerly known as, “Turn that frown, upside down!”) Let’s say you gave up French fries as your resolution. You swear you won’t eat any, too. And then you had a French fry today, or a whole order of French fries today, whatever.
YOU MADE IT MORE THAN 15 DAYS WITHOUT FRENCH FRIES!!! WOO-HOO!!!
Now set your next goal to not eat fries for at least the next 16 days, or 20 days, whatever feels like the next rung you can reach on the ladder, as you climb your way out of the French fryer. Then at that 20 day mark, decide to have a fry or continue to extend your accomplishment even further. Good for you!! That may seem funny, but I am serious. Celebrate yourself!
5. Challenge yourself, reward yourself, and check yourself
Set your resolution goals so that they are attainable, but yet out of reach at your current level. When you do your best and attain even the most modest of goals, celebrate and reward yourself; then immediately consider a next step toward your lifestyle change, then update your goals. Pick new ones that will challenge you again. Do this again and again, and so on… Repetition builds habit; habit begets behavior change. Behavior change is where it’s at. (Health Note: Don’t reward yourself with food. Never with food. Stop that right now.)
Sounds easy, right? Take it one step at a time and keep showing up. The best thing you can do is try. Without trying, you will never succeed. Get up now and go try. You’ll be happy you did.
Jan Cline is a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer based in Norfolk. To learn more about Jan and his training services, check out his website at www.JanClineFitness.com