A brand new year is a time when we reflect on the past year and think about what we want for the year ahead. Some of you may set New Year’s resolutions while others might have given up on that a long time ago. Perhaps you are one of those people that every January vow to join a fitness class, start exercising and eating healthy. See our tips on a simplified approach to achieving your fitness goals!
Most people will fall off the wagon before the snow has melted! So why did you fail? Have you ever asked yourself that question? Or just beaten yourself up and eventually accepted the failure? Some may say: “I’m too busy” or “It was too hard” or “I don’t know what to do”. Sorry to say but those are actually excuses, not reasons.
Why You Might Fail Your Fitness Goals
The reason you may have failed is because you tried to change too much at once and got overwhelmed. Let’s face it, every day we see articles that say ‘do this, do that, eat this, eat that, drink this, swallow this pill and you’ll lose 10 pounds in 5 minutes”. It’s no wonder people get confused! Bottom line, there is no magic pill, powder or potion. The human body is meant to move so to stay healthy you need to exercise and eat healthy, clean food. And the only way to get there is to hold yourself accountable and this year try a different approach; instead, try changing your current bad habits to good behaviours one step at a time.
Are You Ready For Change?
To get started first ask yourself if you are ready for change. If you aren’t sure, then you’re not ready. If however you are motivated, determined and ready for change then start by exercising 3 to 4 days each week and leave your eating habits just the way they are. Just put all of your focus in your goals to exercise 3 to 4 days each week. Block out time in your calendar, get a workout buddy, hire a personal trainer, whatever it takes. Be sure to include cardiovascular exercises like jogging, biking or aerobics and strength training exercises like lifting weights. For maximum calorie burn trying combining the two with high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Be sure to take some time to stretch after each workout as well! After a month of successfully exercising 3 to 4 days per week continue with that and now begin to make some changes to your food intake. Again, change one thing at a time.
Drink Lots of Water
Don’t drink enough water? Focus on drinking 6-8 cups per day. Once you’ve done that successfully for a couple of weeks stick with that and try changing something else such as eating protein with each meal, then two weeks later eat some veggies with each meal and so on. By slowly replacing bad habits with good ones you’ll be easily reaching and achieving those small goals and be well on your way to living a long-term healthy lifestyle!
This step by step approach to making changes is definitely achievable! And don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends, family or even a certified fitness professional.
Happy New Year everyone!
Great advice. I have to admit reading it that I felt pretty good about myself because I’m sort of doing this already. I spent the fall getting back into exercising (3-4 times a week) – and once that stopped being enough to keeping ditching the baby weight (and – if I’m being honest – the “before baby weight”) I joined Weight Watchers to start focussing on the diet aspect of the equation. So far so good!
In passing – I also think I met you at the Running Scared event this fall where you led the warm up? If that was you – it was a lot of fun.
Thank you for this practical post. It’s so true – changes need to be small to take hold. Though sometimes a big change can be really great!
There is a little technique you can use, if you have the courage that will almost guarantee the achievement of fitness goals or other goals. It is based on the idea of “social pressure”.
Think about this; let’s say you have a goal to lose a certain amount of weight or achieve some desired level of fitness. You can set the goal privately and tell yourself, “I am going to achieve this goal by August 1.” On the other hand, you can make the goal public by telling all of your friends and family what you intend to do and even give a date for your desired completion.
As soon as you take that goal public, you move into a different state of mind. No longer are you at the mercy of your own self-discipline. Now you have a much more powerful force dictating your day to day actions and decisions.
Studies have shown publicizing goals with another person make them more likely to be achieved. For example, Researchers at the University of South Carolina found the support and accountability provided by posting to a social networking site made a difference in how much weight people lost.
@ Louise – yes that was me leading the warm-up at Running Scared, I’m glad you enjoyed it!
@Shanna – that’s another great tip!!! Thanks for sharing 🙂
I have started some exercising on most days of the week and it does feel better after doing it. Still need to do some diet changes though.
It can be so hard to stick to it when you want to be physically fit, it helps to have others in with you.
I think that this is a great idea, just changing one thing at a time is I suspect much easier than trying to change everything all at once.
Its all about small changes that lead to larger changes; it started with two liters of water January 1/18, moved to taking the stairs, now making home cooked meals, next week its cleaner eating and then I am doing a juice cleanse.
I love this. I know I tackle other things one step at a time, and this approach would work for me, too.
I’m a huge fan of HIIT, look up Tabata Protocol. Totally changed my long distance running game!
Focusing on one or two things at a time is such a big help for me
This is a lot of good advice, especially about finding a buddy. I started exercising with someone and I’ve been much more motivated.
Good idea’s on Achieving fitness goals, I would go for walks around the block & weeding the gardens. Also need to prepare for the winter in the yard, back & front yards need plants cut down and emptying pots.
I always start out with good intentions but always fall flat after only a few days. If I was serious I would try to find a person to exercise with. Good article about fitness goals.
Exercising with a buddy really help to keep you motivated and it’s a lot more fun too!
This is great advice!I think I will start with drinking more water and eating less sweets.
Really good advice, especially taking time and adding something new every few weeks. I always try to change everything wrong I’m doing all at the same time and I think that’s why I become so frustrated.
Sometimes changing or adding too many at a time is overwhelming too!
Thanks for the post, I seem to what to change everything at once