How to Keep Your Fitness New Year's Resolutions in 2019!
Updated: Jul 12, 2019
It is estimated that 40-45% of American adults make a New Year's resolutions and that roughly 30% of those resolutions are weight loss, health and fitness-related. So whether it is eating better, working out more, losing weight or looking a certain way, January of each year brings with it high hopes for a healthy year...
Unfortunately...the best laid plans and intentions often go astray. According to Forbes and other sources, only about 60% of people make it past the first month with their resolution and when it is all said and done, only about 10% of people perceive themselves as having been successful.
So this begs the question, why do people so often fall short and how can you and those around you avoid that?
Why People Fall Short
There are many reasons why people do not stick with their fitness resolutions. Here are some of them:
Choosing overly ambitious and unrealistic goals: Have you ever overcommitted to working out just to completely stop not more than a few months or even weeks into the program? It's ok to think big but to be successful it's important to be realistic and patient.
Doing too much too fast: When you get excited about something don't you often want to go "all in" to make it happen? While well-intentioned, this can backfire when it comes to fitness. Getting back into exercise and ramping up a fitness program too quickly can lead to injuries, mental fatigue, burnout, frustration and underperformance.
Going it alone: If you're not sure, or even if you are, it never hurts to get professional advice from a personal trainer to ensure you are choosing the best exercises and implementing an appropriate fitness plan.
January 1st is an arbitrary date: Change isn't easy. The desire for change needs to come from within and not solely because the calendar says it's time. In many cultural and religious traditions there are holidays that encourage change and transformation through an emotional and/or spiritual process of reflection and introspection. My own such journeys during the Jewish holidays have taught me that change most of the time doesn't just happen...it can and it does.
But for change to be sustainable it is best when the motivation for change is an internal one. I strongly believe that this applies to fitness goal-setting and healthy living. So, I encourage you to chart your 2017 fitness goals with an understanding of what motivates you and how to better understand and tap into that internal motivation to help you succeed.
Poor exercise choices: Not everyone is born to run marathons or can do olympic lifting safely. Knowing your strengths and understanding your body's limits is essential. While it's healthy, natural and empowering to push oneself outside his or her comfort zone, to try new activities or return to old sports from one's glory days, this ambition can get the past of you.
Tips for Keeping Your New Year's Fitness Resolutions
SMART Goals: The best and simplest advice I can give is a model across many disciplines and may sound familiar. That is to create SMART goals - goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
Specific: While it is great to say, "I want to look jacked this summer" or "I want to get in better shape" or "I want to lose weight", the more specific you get, the better you can focus and tailor your fitness program in an effective way.
Measurable: In this day and age of wearable fitness tech, smart watches and fitness apps, it's never been easier to track and measure your progress, whether it is calories burned, miles run, heart rate or weights lifted. Doing so (without obsessing) will help you focus, see results and provide valuable feedback as to the effectiveness of your training program.
Attainable: Make sure your New Year's fitness goals are within reach and that you can safely accomplish them. If you've never lifted weights before and are in your 40s or if you have had serious back problems but always wanted to run a marathon that you can attain these goals without risking your health or setting yourself up for disappointment.
Realistic: Along those lines, be honest with yourself. While I always encourage people to dream big and act boldly, it's crucial to do so responsibly and thoughtfully.
Timely: The more specific you are with respect to timing, the better. Being able to run 3 miles in 24 minutes by March 1st is much more specific than being able to "run faster". Losing 15 pounds in 2 months is much more specific than, " I just want to lose as much weight as possible" or, " I just want to lose 20 as fast as possible". Allow for some flexibility but make dates and times be a relevant factor in your fitness goals.
Less is More in the Beginning: Rather than going to the gym 5 days per week for an hour and a half right away, how about trying 2-3 days per week for 45-60 minutes each day? You'll reduce the chance of injury and be less likely to get burned out. In other words, don't try to do too much too fast!
Do things you enjoy! Just because the current exercise trends may tempt or even pressure you to do a sport or fitness class you don't like, stay true to yourself and do what makes you feel good and stay healthy. You'll probably be a happier person and will be more likely to reach your goals. It's okay to get outside your comfort zone - just don't go overboard, especially if it's not enjoyable and rewarding.
Do things you don't love. With that said, it's also important to complement your favorite fitness activities with other forms of exercises that perhaps you don't love to do, particularly if those less appealing activities are good for you. For example, runners often just want to run. I get it. I've been a runner all my life. But running is a repetitive and impact-heavy sport that can be significantly enhanced and made safer if you cross train and do some strength training.
Find a fitness partner or club: Maybe you'll have enhanced success if you exercise with someone regularly to keep each other motivated and honest. Or find a running club, hiking group or cycling team to give you a sense of community, perhaps new friends and to help you be more consistent and effective with your training.
Take home message! Be bold, think big but be SMART. Have fun, be patient and remember that every minute of every hour of every day brings a new opportunity to try again. So have a fun and healthy 2018!!