We’ve been here before — the New Year rolls around with all its possibilities and opportunities to start fresh, including getting fit. We buy a gym membership and show up bright and early to start a new, healthy year. Unfortunately, by the time Valentine’s Day candy hits the grocery store shelves, that plan is often abandoned. Committing to a fitness goal is a great New Year’s resolution, but committing to it for the long haul is a common problem. So, how do we make it stick?
- Set Realistic Goals
Make sure to set a goal you’re confident you can reach. Focus on fitness and health and not on weight loss alone. Yes, looking good provides a great feeling, but feeling good because of increased stamina or lowered blood pressure is much better. The first goal you’ll meet will likely be the loss of inches or gains in energy and strength. Those outcomes show what the scale sometimes does not: positive changes in your body. Make a list of the health improvements that would make you feel better and start there. Weight loss is usually a side effect of dedication, so start small and get dedicated to win big!
- Practice Positive Self-Talk
Negative thoughts can be draining and keep you from meeting your goals. Each time you have a negative thought about something you are striving for, take a deep breath and tell yourself something positive you have achieved in your fitness journey.
- Find Something You Enjoy
If you’re not a gym person, find a program or regimen you can complete at home. There are many easy programs online that require little to no equipment. If you like to dance, try Zumba. If you like to stretch and strengthen, try a yoga class. If being outdoors is more your style, hit the walking and hiking trails the Natural State has to offer. Make sure you’re striving to be active at least three times a week.
- Consider Hiring a Personal Trainer
Many still prefer a classic gym setting. A personal trainer will get you on the right track and teach you the proper ways to lift and work out. This might also help you navigate the larger crowds at the beginning of the year. Some gym memberships come with a free personal training program.
- Change Up Your Workout
If you’d rather go it alone, make sure your workout is varied. You’ll want to skip weightlifting with the same muscles every day and allow 48 hours of rest. This lets the muscle groups tear down and heal back before another concentrated workout. Sometimes women are less than enthusiastic about lifting weights because they’re afraid it will make them look bulky. Don’t believe the myth. Women have many benefits from lifting weights, including increased strength, energy and bone density.
- Don’t Forget Nutrition
When beginning a new workout routine, nutrition is key. It’s like Frank Sinatra sang in “Love and Marriage” — you can’t have one without the other!
New research from the American College of Sports Medicine shows you need protein before and during a workout to help you refuel and start the healing process sooner. Make sure your meals are diverse and balanced. Try choosemyplate.gov. It helps you decide how you should eat based on your age and activity level.
- Give Yourself Permission to Rest (and Even Cheat!)
Cheat and rest days are important. Rest gives your body the opportunity to recuperate and come back stronger. Those who don’t use rest properly are prone to injury and less likely to meet their goals. Allowing yourself to have a snack or dessert you consider a cheat every now and then can keep you from going off the deep end.
- Have Faith in the Process
No matter what path you take to a healthier lifestyle, with the right mindset, you will succeed.
Remember: Change comes from change!
Have a happy healthy New Year!