“A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one Year and out the other.” – Anonymous
With the New Year just getting started you have probably set yourself some fitness resolutions. Perhaps this is the year where you want to sculpt those those six pack abs? Maybe this is the year you are finally going to kick your smoking habit? Whilst setting fitness resolutions is a fantastic idea, the facts are that despite the best intentions most New Year’s resolutions will fail. In this study of 3,000 people, only 12% were successful with their New Year’s resolutions. Today I am going to help you fall within that successful 12% with 5 simple steps that will make your fitness resolutions stick this year.
1) SET REALISTIC RESOLUTIONS:- Having a set of washboard abs, cutting out all unnatural foods from your diet and jogging 10 miles a day may sounds great in your head but if you currently eat what you want and your weekly exercise program involves a leisurely stroll to the local shops then it is not going to happen. The first step to success is setting fitness resolutions that are realistic based on your current diet and activity levels. If you are a gym fanatic who has a pretty solid diet plan then the above resolutions may be realistic for you. However, if you are a couch potato that is just getting started something like “to jog 10 miles a week” or “to attend the gym 3 times a week” is much more realistic. So before you even set your fitness resolutions sit down and think about what you do now and what you can realistically improve on during the year ahead. Small, realistic fitness resolutions are much more likely to succeed than large, unrealistic goals.
2) LIMIT YOUR RESOLUTIONS:- There are probably many areas of your fitness that you would like to improve this year. Maybe you want to eat more healthy foods? Perhaps you want to reduce your body fat levels? You might want to improve your stamina or increase your strength? Whilst you may think it is realistic to make 10 or 20 small, positive lifestyle changes in most cases you will be spreading yourself too thin. Focussing on 1 or 2 goals is manageable but focussing on 10 or 20 is almost impossible. If you have 20 fitness resolutions, write them down, prioritise them and then pick the top 1 or 2. Focussing your full attention on 1 or 2 important goals is much more likely to be successful than spreading your attentions across 20 different goals.
3) CREATE A DETAILED ACTION PLAN:- Saying that you want a set of six pack abs by the end of the year is fine but how are you going to do achieve it? What are you going to eat? How often are you going to exercise? What types of exercise are you going to do? If your fitness resolution is just a throwaway line then you are setting yourself up for failure. Once you have your realistic fitness resolutions nailed down, the next step is to create a detailed action plan for the full year. This is a big job but one that needs to be done if you want to succeed. Start by writing down what you want to achieve by the end of each month. Then write down what you need to do each week to hit that monthly target. Finally, break this down into daily tasks. So if your goal is to get six pack abs your monthly target could be body fat reduction. Your weekly target could then be general improvements in diet and exercise. Your daily targets would then be the specific actions you are going to take such as “cut 100 calories by removing 2 slices of bread from my diet”, “burn 500 calories by running for 30 minutes”. This may sound like overkill but it is crucial if you really want to achieve your fitness resolutions this year.
4) TRACK YOUR PROGRESS REGULARLY:- If you do not track your progress regularly then even the most detailed action plan becomes useless. Try and sit down once a week and review your actual progress against your original action plan. If you have a bad week then adjust the following week’s targets to compensate for this. By doing this you will greatly increase your chances of success. Instead of blindly working towards a fitness resolution you will know each week whether you are on track or need to try that little bit harder. You will also be able to identify any setbacks early and adjust your action plan so that they do not turn into full blown relapses and completely derail your fitness resolutions.
5) REWARD YOURSELF:- In most cases, the ultimate goal of a fitness resolution is self gratification. You might want to look better, feel better or perform better and this is the long term reward for your efforts. However, even with the strongest will in the world, the most detailed action plan and regular progress reviews, it is difficult to maintain this long term view over a full year. After a couple of months hard work and no visible reward the urge to quit often kicks in. To overcome this obstacle reward yourself each month or week that you are successful. These rewards should be aligned with your action plan and not interfere with your fitness resolutions. For example, if your overall goal is to reduce your body fat levels then you should not reward yourself with a cake every week. Instead go for something that is independent of your fitness resolutions like a new CD or new clothes. By rewarding yourself regularly you will have much more motivation in both the short term and the long term making you more likely to succeed with your fitness resolutions.
New Year’s resolutions are difficult to achieve and most people will fail. However,this year can be the year where you are successful. The 5 steps in this article give you a much greater advantage than most other people. So remember if you want your resolutions to stick this year:
– Set Realistic Resolutions.
– Limit Your Resolutions.
– Create A Detailed Action Plan.
– Track Your Progress Regularly.
– Reward Yourself.