The New Year is always a busy time of year. Everybody comes up with wonderful new ways to improve themselves or set out all the things they want to achieve by the end of the year. Sooner or later the goals that were set seem overwhelmingly difficult. Maybe you keep it up for a month or so, but eventually those famous words "I'll try again next year" are spoken as life starts to get in the way.
Sound too familiar? Wouldn’t it be great if you could change that? This year can be the year that you actually achieve your resolutions. Here are my top 10 tips help you succeed with your health and fitness New Year's resolutions.
1. Don't set too many New Year's resolutions
It can be far too easy to get carried away when deciding your New Year's resolutions. The more goals you set the harder it'll be to achieve them. Think of it like a shopping list, you start at the top and work your way through. However, whilst you're looking at the top of your list you're not paying attention to the items at the bottom of the list. Instead try selecting only one or two resolutions limiting any distractions and improving your focus. Achieving even one small goal can boost self confidence.
2. Make a plan
If you have your fitness resolutions it's not always as simple as cracking on and doing them. It can be easier to break them down and plan how exactly you're going to achieve them. If you imagine that your resolution came with the blueprints on how to achieve them, how much easier would it be?
Lets take a basic example of deciding you want to run a marathon this year. A marathon is around 26 miles and isn't something you can just set off and complete on a spare sunday afternoon. It's going to need planning. Think of it as creating actionable steps towards your goal. You might choose to start with a small slow run, building up the running distance over time. Breaking the resolution down can make it more realistic and help monitor your progress.
If you start working toward a goal without any type of plan in place, you may quickly find yourself giving up when faced with any sort of obstacle. Continuing the running example, what will you do if you've missed 4 sessions in a row? How will you continue if you need to take time out for an illness or injury?
Initiating a plan by writing down your resolution. Committing the thought of the resolution to paper makes it real. From there you can start making a list of things you may need to do to achieve your fitness resolution, anything that could stop you achieving it. The better prepared you are the more likely you'll stick to your resolution and overcome anything that might sidetrack you.
3. Take small steps
Following on nicely from the previous tip it can be really important start small and take baby steps. Not every bit of progress needs to be massive leaps and bounds. Giving yourself too much too quickly is a common reason to why peoples New Year's resolutions break down. Starting at a rate that's unsustainable is the quickest route to failure. Whether that is a restrictive diet, overwhelming new gym routine or a massive alteration to everyday habits. Everyone has bad habits, however trying to change it all at once is a recipe for disaster, it's all about being reasonable. Focussing on smaller steps can help you reach larger goals. Although it might feel like a slow start, more incremental steps are easier to stick to and therefore help you achieve more for longer.
4. Clarify your New Year's fitness resolutions
Some New Year's resolutions can be too vague. Take losing weight as an example, although you can track when perhaps you've lost weight how will you know you've achieved your goal? when will you be happy with what you've lost throughout the year? The only way to know if you've achieved your goal is to clarify how much you want to lose. This comes with making a plan. Understanding how much is a safe amount to lose, when you want to lose it by can all help clarify what it is you need to do to achieve your New Year's resolution. Following the previous tips above can help clarify your resolutions.
5. Tell people about your resolutions
If you tell people about your resolutions, it shows your commitment to those goals. There is an expectation for you to complete them. Friends or family members will ask you how you're getting on therefore you've also committed to everyone you've told. Telling people about your resolutions also allows you to get support from those people. It can be simply asking how you're doing which provides that added motivation. Alternatively they might take up a more active role in your resolutions like joining in. Especially with health and fitness the best case scenario is finding someone who shares your New Year's resolution so you can achieve them together. This can increase your chances for success and It can also be more fun.
6. Reframing your New Year's resolutions
Remember setting New Year's resolutions should be a positive encounter. You're doing it to further improve yourself rather than highlighting your flaws. Therefore your resolutions shouldn't bring you down. Try to avoid thinking "I'm not good enough until I achieve this". You don't want to demotivate yourself and put you off your resolutions. Instead remind yourself you are good enough and that every step you take is just serving as a means to be even better. Half of the battle in achieving New Year's resolutions no more so than fitness goals is the mindset in which you approach your goal. Remember recovery is also as important as the gym sessions itself so don't take it out on yourself if you wake up one day sore or tired and miss a session. It's only normal and no day will be 100% perfect.
7. Stop focussing on the end result
The process is part of the journey. When you commit to a New Year's resolution you're really committing to the process and it's the process that allows you to achieve the result. If you focus on the journey then the experience can feel easier and more enjoyable. Not all journeys are smooth therefore if you focus is on the end result and things don't go to plan this can derail the whole resolution. Obviously you need to know where you're going but it's more important in knowing how you're going to get there.
8. Avoid past failures
Try not to make the same resolution every year. Knowing you've tried and failed before can damage your self belief. Although if you this resolution in the past then try to remember what might've caused you to fail. Can you overcome it? Can you evaluate what methods you used and what's most effective? Based on these things it might be easier to alter your resolution slightly. Adapting the process towards your goal can make it a more successful resolution this year.
If you get to Febuary and start to run out of steam, don't panic, simply start again. Reassess why you ran out of steam, revaluate and before you know it you'll be back on track instead of giving up.
9. Know when to take a break
Depending on the fitness resolution you've set yourself, it can be completely new. As with anything new it's all about starting small or basic and working up. Don't go heading into it with all guns blazing. This will lead to burnout, injury and loss of motivation.
No goal or resolution should take over your life or consume your mind at every waking moment. Taking effective breaks has also been shown to increase our productivity. This includes appropriate rest periods within a gym session, in between workout days and even starting off appropriately, not overtraining. Get enough sleep and take a step back from your goals, allowing your body to recover properly.
This shouldn't mean that you can eat an entire box of chocolates and say you're taking a break if your resolution is to eat a better diet. Yes by all means you can treat yourself or celebrate your success, but can you do that which doesn't completely contradict your resolution? Perhaps you treat yourself by skipping a gym session and watching a movie with a friend or you enjoy a meal out instead of simply overindulging.
Obsessing over the your resolution won't make you complete it quicker just as obsessing over the occasional slip won’t help you achieve your goal. Do the best you can each day, and take one day at a time.
10. Push yourself
New Year's resolutions aren't always the easiest to achieve and you know for sure there's going to be bumps in the road. It is at these points where you need to push yourself over the line. Dig deep and get past the plateaus you may face. Setbacks can become a great tool to fuel your accomplishments. If you keep pushing you can achieve.
Once you've completed your resolution don't stop there. Putting a limit on your goals can also hold you back. Don't let all the hard work you've put into achieving your resolutions go to waste and carry on working on yourself and your goals.
The yearly ritual of resolution setting doesn't have to be an annual disappointment and hopefully after reading this article you feel like you're better equipped to tackle your New Year's resolutions. But, if at the end of the year you find that you haven’t fulfilled them all, don’t be too hard on yourself. You’re likely to get sidetracked at some point with work, family and responsibilities getting in the way. Life is one journey that changes paths and goals are constantly changing. Just simply try to be the best version of yourself. Focus on the positives, change can be hard and don't give up.
Sometimes difference between success and failure is simply choosing the right goal and the process you use to go about achieving it.
If you would like to share your New Year's resolutions then feel free to leave a comment in the comment section.
Alternatively if you feel like you need any help tackling your heath and fitness goals this new year then don't hesitate to get in contact via email by clicking here.