From the Facebook posts I’ve seen and from previous experience working in a gym environment, it sounds like many people this week are flooding the gyms and are gung-ho on their resolutions to lose weight through exercise and diets. How about you? What are your health and fitness resolutions for the year? And what are you doing to make those resolutions stick?
We all know that by February, most people have given up what they were so revved up about on January 1 because “this time” they were going to stick with it. If you’re one of those few people who have stuck with it by next January, then I will applaud you. But, why wait until January 1? I cannot tell you how many people I have talked to who were “ready this time” to lose the weight and get in shape come January only to give out of steam and give up within a couple of weeks.
When the workouts have lost their luster, it’s time to sweat and take it to the next level, most people give up. They don’t want to do the work to get the results or they’ve tried to change too much. We’re creatures of habits so changing, replacing or giving up bad habits takes time. And we generally have more than one bad habit contributing to our lack of goal success.
More often that not, we bite off more than we can chew and want to achieve too much too soon. When that doesn’t happen and we don’t see instant long lasting results with as little work as possible, we’re done.
Unfortunately, staying healthy and fit requires making fitness and eating well part of a daily routine for a lifetime. It’s not about losing five pounds for a high school reunion. It’s about making incremental lifestyle changes so that you don’t have to worry about losing those pounds for one party every five or ten years. You’ll be ready anytime you receive a party invitation!
How do you stick with your goals “this time”? I’ll give you One tip. Just one.
Start small. It’s better to take a larger goal and break it down into smaller steps than to try and change your whole life all at once. And once you gain success with a small step, move on to the next one!
Want to eat better and lose weight? Instead of replacing all of your pantry full of all healthy items which you may or may not know what to do with or how to prepare, try making one change to your pantry that will help. If candy is your vice, don’t buy any to keep at home. Skip that aisle at the grocery store. If you have a doughnut for breakfast, eat oatmeal or switch to a healthier alternative instead. Are you a carboholic? While carbs are not inherently evil, some types of carbs can do bad things to your body when taken in copious amounts. Start including a side salad with your meals or incorporate a fruit smoothie snack during the day to add fruits and vegetables to your diet. Do you head for the vending machine at 3 pm? Get up and avoid that part of the office entirely. Go for a walk outside. Have a cup of tea. Call your mother. Do something, anything, other than repeat the same habit.
Want to start working out and get in better shape? Sign up for a weekly class rather than trying to hit the gym 7 days a week. Pick something fun that a friend can join in, too. And if you’re worried about looking silly in the class, believe me everyone else is thinking the same thing. That is one thing I can say about having worked in gyms, most everyone is thinking of their own workout and not yours! Sign up for a 5K in the spring to keep you motivated at least until then because by spring, we’re all thinking about beaches and bikinis! Basically, start with something that can easily fit into your schedule than do a complete schedule makeover.
Need an example of how to start small? This year, I’ve made one change to my morning routine to help my day get going a little easier. I started using the automatic brewing option on my coffeemaker. (I do not know why I have not used it before!) I set it up in the evening while I’m cleaning up dinner so I don’t have to deal with it in the morning. It makes such a difference to my day when the coffee is already going for me. It gives me those extra few minutes to plan my day, which I have been trying to find. And who doesn’t want to wake up to the smell of freshly brewing coffee?!
Sounds easy, right? The point is that when you break a larger goal down to smaller steps then start implementing them a little at a time, you suddenly will find yourself sticking with those resolutions. Starting small may seem so easy, but we tend to look at the overall picture as some insurmountable mountain to climb instead of one step forward at a time.
List 3 goals for this year then list small steps on how to achieve them. Now pick ONLY ONE of those steps and get to work! :-)
Need help on achieving your running and fitness goals? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free fitness consultation.