Oh yes, it’s that time again when we make our New Year’s fitness resolutions. Unfortunately, those of us who commit in the heat the post-holiday weight gain rarely make it last more then a few weeks.
As a certified personal fitness trainer who has experienced this personally and professionally, I have a few tips that will help take you beyond just resolution and into a long-term commitment.
Commit to a behavior, not just a short-term goal.
I mean really commit. That means get up off your keister and DO IT. Whatever you say you’ll do, follow through and just do it.
Don;t just say, “I want to lose 25 pounds” or “I simply must be a size 8!”
But rather set specific goals: “I will exercise twice weekly for an hour each time.” Or, “I will ride my bicycle for 5 miles twice every week”
And don’t overload yourself with too many. Just like everything else in our lives, it’s easy to get lost in overthinking and negative self-talk when you feel overwhelmed.
I am giving you permission to pick a MAX of 3 resolutions; too many and you either won’t reach any of them and feel lousy about it; or you might make progress and get them done, but not well. Pick only a couple and do them well.
Involve a friend.
With the right support, it’s easier than you think, so seek out support.
Use the buddy system; phone a friend that knows taking that 30 minute urban hike together helps keep you both from blowing it off. You know someone at work, in your neighborhood, or at your kid’s school that is also wanting to improve their fitness in 2017. Buddy up and exercise together. When you have to show up for someone else you’ll follow through more regularly!
Hold yourself accountable.
When you get to that day that you just don’t want to exercise, – and you will get there – do it anyway. Maybe you had a crappy day at work and you’d just rather eat some Ben and Jerry’s and mope. NOPE – not today! That will be the single most important day of reaching your new year’s resolution goal. Text that friend and get them to convince you to workout, take that hike, ride an extra 5 miles – whatever it takes to support yourself and each other.
Give yourself a break.
Everyone is human. Most people skip a workout day, or binge on fast food, or eat a whole _________ (fill in the blank with your favorite food). When you stumble, don’t give up the goal completely. It can take up to 12 weeks (that’s until April Fool’s Day!) to establish a new routine, so keep working at it. If your goal is to walk at least a mile every other day, and you miss your walk day, go walking the next day and every other day from there. If you slip up once, you can get right back on track the next day. You might slip up every week for the first month! Give yourself a break, and pick up your work the very next day. Don’t get far off track, and you won’t have far to go to get back on track.
Still struggling? Is that little Devil sitting on your shoulder telling you to be a couch potato and order delivery pizza instead of working out? What can you do? Hire a trainer to be the angel on your other shoulder, encouraging you to exercise, coaching you and pushing you to be your best, until you’re confident enough to keep yourself on track.
Working out and fitness has become a way of life for me; I have to do it most every day.
It can be that way for you, too – if it isn’t already. My relationship with regular workouts began a dozen years ago: I was overweight, newly single and in no shape to impress anyone, least of all myself. So I joined a gym and hired a trainer. Best. Decision. Ever.
It might be the best decision for you, too.
Jan Cline is a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer based in Norfolk. Visit him online at www.JanClineFitness.com