Question: "How can I keep my resolution to get in shape this year?
Christian Agudelo, ACSM - CPT
New Year always brings new beginnings. For many a “new year’s resolution” is the first thing they think of when the clock strikes midnight. The New Year brings a fresh start and new goals. However, many of these resolutions are soon forgotten as we see many people slowly drift away from the promises they made at the beginning of the year. A lot of resolutions, in fact probably the majority of them surround your health. Everyone is quick to jump on the healthy bandwagon on January 1st. Unfortunately, life gets in the way and 4-6 weeks later all that excitement and aspirations for a healthy year have slowly dwindled and your right back where you started before the year ended. So how can we keep our resolutions to get in shape and stay in shape this year?
First you need to ask yourself is this realistic? Am I ready to make these changes this year? Do I have the right amount of support and self-discipline to start this journey? If you can say yes to these important questions then you’ve made the first step. Next you have to start slow. You can’t look past the first few months or else you will set yourself up for failure. First things first you need to get to the gym. You need to sign up for some sort of training. Whether its classes or personal training or just a public gym membership you need to commit to something.
Now it is time to sit down and set some goals. And these goals need to be realistic. If your goal is weight loss then pick a number that seems attainable. If you don’t know what a good weight loss number is based on your body type then sit down with a health professional and map out the details. By creating a vision for yourself you will never be in doubt as to what needs to be accomplished. And by making small goals along the way, you will see the progress in small but positive amounts as you continue to reach your ultimate goal.
Plan for setbacks! We don’t live in a perfect world and we certainly aren’t perfect individuals. You will struggle and you will run into some setbacks along the way. Getting in shape is easy. Anyone can get in shape. Staying in shape is where the challenges lie. Being able to maintain the new healthy lifestyle will be a struggle. You will fall back to old habits and you will start to doubt yourself along the way. Allow for these setbacks to occur and know that it’s just a setback; it’s not the end of the world. You will learn from these setbacks and you will be able to pick yourself back up and continue the journey. Remember if you give yourself plenty of time to achieve your “resolutions” you will set yourself up to succeed.
Reward yourself along the way! Small wins are better than no wins at all. Each time you see some sort of progress reward yourself. This will keep you motivated and on the right path. This may also help limit the number of setbacks you may encounter because you won’t want to ruin all the hard work you’ve accomplished to this point.
Remember a healthy lifestyle is a marathon not a sprint!!
Earvin Bahena, NSCA - CSCS
Every year the same sequence occurs; You start with a resolution, you work for it for a couple weeks and come late January or early February, your resolution ceases to exist. The motivation goes away and you are back to where you started. The key is being able to stay motivated throughout the necessary timeline to reach your goal or goals.]
One way to do is to break down your “Big Goal” into smaller goals, or goals that can be achieved in a faster time. You need to have SMART goals or Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-based
Specific: Be extremely specific with what your intentions are! In order to start and keep a resolution you need to know what it takes the reach the finish line, so having a set amount of lbs to lose or miles you need to run is very important. Ask yourself the 5 W’s(who, what, when, where, why) and see if your goal makes sense.
Measureable: Are you able to measure/track your progress? The answer should be yes, you need to be able to track so you can be your own judge on how your progress is going. The idea of measuring keeps you accountable as well.
Attainable: Is your resolution realistic, something that can be actually reached? Many times people’s resolution have the right idea but are the timeline doesn’t make sense. If you want to lose weight its realistic to want to lose 20 lbs in 6 months if we go with the 1-2 lbs/week model but some people are a little more eager. The idea of losing 30 lbs in a month is not ideal especially if you want to do it the right way (healthy way). So be specific with your resolution but also realistic.
Realistic: This goes hand and hand with “attainable.” You need to make sure that your resolution matters to you and what you are doing in your life. Is this the right time to start this resolution and will I have the right resources to do it?
Time-Based: How long do I give myself to reach my resolution and can I start today. Time is important in your resolution, so give yourself plenty of time to reach your end goal.
The idea of resolutions is to create motivation to help you improve your life and life style. There will be setbacks but the important thing is that you get back to it. Setting smaller goals and achieving them will give you the confidence to continuing going forward and chasing your resolution. The idea isn’t to reach a goal but to change your lifestyle to where these resolutions become a common thing in your life and not just a New Year thing.