15 Foolproof Strategies to Stick to Your Fitness Resolutions

By Maire,

  Category: Fun Stuff, Research
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Meet your New Year's Resolution Goal

You don’t need superpowers or an iron will to commit to being healthier this year. Whether your goal is to do 10 push-ups, run a marathon, or simply take the stairs more often—you can get there! Check out these tips to have your fittest year yet.

January is always the busiest time of the year for gyms—you might even call it the fitness version of Black Friday. After a holiday season of eating, drinking, and being merry (often in excess), many gyms see their membership double each January. Regardless of all that enthusiasm, gym attendance is usually back to its normal, pre-New Year level by mid-February.

Perhaps that’s because, for many of us, New Year’s resolutions are a bit of a joke: People break them before the year is out (a third won’t even make it to the end of January).

You don’t need superpowers or an iron will to commit to being healthier this year. Whether your goal is to do 10 push-ups, run a marathon, or simply take the stairs more often—you can get there! Check out these tips to have your fittest year yet.

1. Write It and Measure It

2. Make Resolutions Manageable

A resolution shouldn’t be a fantasy. If you’ve never lifted weights before, attempting to hit the weight bench seven days per week is probably setting yourself up for disappointment. For most people, upending a lifetime of habits can’t happen overnight—even if that night is December 31. The reason is partly physiological; the brain just likes comfortable old habits over new, different ones.

The key to sustainable resolutions is to make small changes gradually. So if your goal is to go from never running to finishing a half-marathon, start training gradually. Begin by walking a few miles twice a week, and steadily increase the workload to jogging, and then running over several months.

3. Break Up the Goal

Resolving to do 10,000 push-ups in a year is pretty intimidating. But 192 push-ups every week… OK, that’s still pretty scary. But breaking it down to 28 per day looks a lot more manageable, right? A goal that’s either far in the future or far out of your comfort zone can be tough to start, so break the resolution down into achievable steps.

Better yet, give yourself several small resolutions throughout the year. For instance, instead of aiming to add 80 pounds to your bench press in a year, aim to add just over six pounds per month. Easier, right?

4. Treat Yo’Self!

When you hit those hard-earned benchmarks—one perfect pull-up, holding a headstand, the first week you managed to run 30 minutes a day—treat yo’self!

Choose a reward that won’t undo your hard work: a weekend getaway, a beach day, a mani-pedi, a massage (they’re good for you), some new fitness swag, or a movie date. Regular treats divided by goal (or really, divided by anything) can help you reach those milestones faster than you previously thought possible.

5. Question Your Motives

A steady gym habit can result in six-pack abs, but superficial goals may lose their appeal after endless weeks of diet and exercise. Instead, try framing fitness as a direct path to health and happiness. Regular exercise has unexpected benefits including lowering cholesterol, boosting overall energy, and even increasing happiness. Bringing some deeper intentions to your workout can make all the difference in sticking to your goals.

Before hitting the gym, ask yourself some introspective questions: Why did you make this resolution? What do you want to achieve? Developing answers that elicit a powerful emotional response can help motivate your goals.

6. Ask for Help

Not knowing how to do a certain exercise is no excuse to write it off completely. If you’re curious about new techniques, or find some exercises that are too intimidating (looking at you, deadlifts!) book a session with a personal trainer to clear up confusion, help prevent injury, and learn to love new moves. Trainers and instructors are there to help, so don’t be self-conscious about asking for advice.

Another idea: If you already have a class you love, don’t be afraid to stick around for a few minutes and ask the instructor about some of the moves you did.

7. Keep a Schedule

Keep Your New Years Resolutions

Time management is important for accomplishing any goal, and fitness is no exception. Early morning exercise is a great way to fit a workout into a busy day, and it may encourage healthier eating and more movement throughout the day.

But if waking up early is your idea of cruel and unusual torture, then sweating at 6 a.m. is probably not a sustainable system. Make your fitness routine work for you: Pick a time of day when you have energy, schedule a workout, rinse, and repeat.

8. Keep It Interesting

If your resolution is to exercise consistently three or four times per week, it’s time to think beyond the treadmill and the weight rack. Even for experienced gym rats, sticking to one or two types of exercise can get a little mind-numbing. Experiment with yoga, rock climbing, martial arts, team sports, kettlebells, and everything between. The more variety in your exercise program, the more fun it will be to follow, and the more likely you’ll find something you absolutely love.

The best way to test-drive a new form of exercise is to take a group class or book a session with a personal trainer—think of the extra cost as an investment in your health.

 

Read the full list at Greatist.com.

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