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Health and Fitness

Keeping It Real

By Nick Hilden, 24 Jan, 2017
  • Keeping It Real

Making a fitness New Year’s resolution you can keep

 
 
It’s that time again – when people start looking forward to the next year and setting goals for making it better than the last. In other words, it’s time for New Year’s resolutions. 
 
Perhaps the most common resolution involves the quest to improve one’s health and fitness. It’s why gym memberships and attendance soar in January. But more often than not, those gyms that were packed at the beginning of the year are empty by spring. In fact, 80 per cent of people who join a gym in January quit within five months. 
 
And it’s not just gym usage that slides. Our diets – so strictly followed at first – begin to lose their importance. We lose interest in our step tracking apps. We go back to taking the elevator rather than the stairs. It’s different for everyone, but the result is still the same: the resolution fails, and we slide back into our unhealthy ways. 
 
So how do you make a fitness resolution that will stick? Here are a few tips:
 
 
Keep it realistic. 
 
Perhaps the easiest way to start off by shooting yourself in the foot involves setting the bar too high. “I’m going to lose 20 pounds by swimsuit season!” or “I’m going to run a mile every day!” or “I’ll never eat junk food again!”
 
These are great goals, but the problem is that they are likely too ambitious, especially if you’re somewhat new to nutrition and exercise. Then when you find yourself falling short, it’s easy to become discouraged and end the program altogether. 
 
Instead, set realistic goals. “I’m going to lose half a pound a week!” or “I’m going to run at least three times a week.” or “I’m going to cut 500 calories out of my diet.”
As the old saying goes, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Little bites will finish the same meal without the risk of choking. 
 
Be specific. 
 
Ambiguous goals lead to ambiguous results. But if you can set a laser-focused resolution, then you’ll know exactly what you’re working toward. Set specific (realistic) parameters to your resolution, and start down the path towards success. 
 
 
Forgive yourself.
 
Sometimes you’re going to slip and lapse into old habits, but that doesn’t mean you need to throw your entire resolution out the window. 
Know that you’re human, and that humans aren’t infallible. When you miss a workout, cheat on your diet, or whatnot, accept your misstep and move on. 
Just be sure that you don’t give yourself too much wiggle room. I’m saying to forgive yourself – not be your own enabler. 
 
Partner up.
 
Nothing helps in your fitness and health efforts quite like support. 
Find a friend or family member who has similar goals, and team up to give each other support and motivation. You can even make a competition out of it. A bit of friendly competition can go a long way. 
 
Track your progress.
 
If you’re going to reach your goal, you need to know how far you’ve come. This provides visual motivation, and allows you to see where you can improve. Keep a notebook, use a tracking app, or mark X’s or stickers on a calendar. Whatever the case, do something to show that you’re sticking to your goals – and to show when you’re not.
 
 
Go public.
 
There’s nothing to keep you on task like a bit of self-induced public shame. Once you’ve set your resolution, tell the world. Tell your friends and family, post to social media, talk about it at the office, or whatever. The bottom line is to share your resolution so that it’s not just inside your head. 
 
Even if no one else tries to hold you to it, the fact that you know that they know, can be a huge motivator. Concise, realistic, analytic and social
 
In the end, creating an effective resolution is a matter of being specific and realistic with your goals, keeping track of them, and finding motivation from the people around you. 
Combined, they add up to a 2017 of fitness success. 

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