The new year is coming, and with it come to the promises of a healthier lifestyle, from better eating to a more balanced work-family life and setting new exercise or fitness goals. We have all set these goals at least once in our lives! We also have in common the fact that we all give up after a few weeks or months.
Even if we plan to work out at least 3 times a week for 30 minutes, most of the times we end up giving this time for other activities. But why does this happen? And what can we do to change this fact?
There are several reasons why we give up on the goals we set for the new year. In the specific case of workout goals, these are even more difficult because they require both a physical and mental commitment to keep with the new routine. Let’s then help you realize what makes you give up and suggest strategies to help you stay motivated throughout the year.
Do not set obligations, set goals!
Do not see your goals as obligations! That way you will never really be motivated to stick to the routine. Your goals are just that, goals, something you want to achieve to get some improvement in your life. The great difference between obligations and goals is that in an obligation the path is not satisfactory, nor the end can be reached. In the case of your defined goals, the path/journey is part of the benefit, and when you achieve what you want, a feeling of satisfaction will also come with it!
Schedule the exercise time in your agenda!
It is important that you have time to exercise. Sometimes it is not easy to find just 30 minutes on a busy day between work, family and friends and rest. A good way to overcome this fact is by scheduling your exercise time on the agenda, the same way as you do with meetings and other appointments.
I recently read Getting Things Done (GTD) by David Allen and 5-Second Rule by Mel Robbins. I recommend you read them as well. One talks about productivity and efficiency when our brains are cleared out, the other one talks about a 5-second timeframe you give yourself to do the things you don’t feel like doing now but still make yourself do them.
My summary of them in regard to sticking to your New Year’s resolutions: our minds are thinking tools, not storage for all the things we need to remember and do, so write everything down you’re thinking of (to clean out your mind) and make a to-do list of each day. Once you reach the task of “Workout”, your brain sees the task, count backward 5-4-3-2-1 and DO IT! Without thinking any longer than 5 seconds. If you do, your brain will make up excuses why not to do it.
Take it task by task basis. One day at a time. Before you know it, people will start complementing how good you look.
Have an appropriate place to exercise!
The same way you need an appropriate place to work, to sleep, to eat you will need an appropriate place to exercise! If you are going to a gym, things are easier, but if you’re exercising at home or outside, you will need to set a place for exercise. For example, a room with space, or sitting room, a green park outside, the beach, or a route you have already delimited for a run.
Chose 2 or 3 activities you like!
No matter what activity you are doing, and how much you like to do it, there will come a day when you will not be up to it. For this reason, it is better to choose 2 or 3 activities you like and then to switch between them. For example, if you feel too tired for a run, or if it is raining outside, you can practice some Yoga or Pilates.
You cannot expect to build a new routine from one day to another… You know that 1st January will not be different from 31st December. So, you should start slow if you want to keep with your training. It is better to start training 2 times a week for 20 minutes, and then, once you are comfortable with the schedule you can increase to 3 times, 30 minutes. The way you get comfortable with the new routines, you can increase the training duration to the time you desire.
Reward yourself when you achieve small goals!
Yes, if you are doing it well, you must be rewarded for it! If you finished 2 months without missing a workout, then you deserve the new Nike running shoes you have been dreaming of (or, if you’re like me, then ordering in 3 sets of sushi it is)! Reward yourself for your achievements. Rewards help to keep you motivated, consider it an addition to your goal, like something you can enjoy along the way.
Make it a lifestyle!
The best way to maintain a routine for a long period is to make it a lifestyle. A lifestyle is more than a goal or an achievement, it’s something that is part of our life, something that we do because we like it, we enjoy it; we want to know more about it and we share our toughs and goals with friends and loved ones.
Use technology to help you!
Today it is easy to use technology to help us achieve our goals. There are so many offers on the market that include fitness apps, fitness watches, online personal trainers, specialized shoes to track our running… This technology can be very fun to use and help to track progress and monitor how far or close we are from the pre-defined goals.
A good way to finish your goals is to join a community of “finish your goals or give up money”. Basically, people set up a goal (let’s say: run 5 miles every week this month) and let everyone see the goal. If you don’t achieve the goal, you have to give up money.
Do not compare yourself with others!
This is valid for all fields in your life! Do not compare yourself with others, they are not you; they do not have your life, and they do not live your life. There will always be people that are fitter than you, there will always be people that are not as fit as you. There will always be people that will achieve goals faster, there will always be people that will never achieve anything. Just try to find a comfortable position in the middle and do your best.
Do not give up if you fail!
Do not give up if you fail with your goals… Did you miss a training session? Or two? Or a whole week? Restart and be better next time. Understand why you failed and correct it for the next weeks. If you keep up with the commitment you have with yourself, you will end up being more knowledgeable about what makes you fail and be able to anticipate and correct the factors that are pushing you down.
Staying motivated and focused is not easy. If this motivation seems indestructible at the beginning of the year, then as the weeks pass this motivation fades. There are many factors that detract from our focus, such as tiredness, day-to-day routine, lack of time, family commitments… Following these recommendations will help you stay focused on your goals, stay motivated throughout the year, incorporate new routines into your everyday life, and change your lifestyle to a healthier style.
Cynthia Stalde is the woman behind Miss Coty – a community for women talking about everyday struggles of womanhood.
Miss Coty is not only about sharing all the tips and tricks of different hair removal methods, but also about educating women on various period product options, as well as talking about other beauty topics. Although Miss Coty’s slogan is “The Struggle is Real”, Cynthia aims to show women that the struggle doesn’t mean women can’t conquer (not only survive) their beauty struggles.