5 Tips for Sticking With Your New Years Fitness Resolutions
Updated: Mar 18
Our New Years fitness resolutions may start in earnest in January, but we often feel burnt out or distracted from our fitness goals as early as February. Here are 5 tips to help you combat fitness resolution fatigue and make healthy new changes into permanent habits.
1. Set Tangible, Attainable Fitness Resolutions - With A Deadline!
If you tell yourself I am going to stop eating sugar for 2020 or I want to lose 20 pounds, you might be setting yourself up to fail. This self speak encompasses a mindset of deprivation, and huge goals with no plan or deadline. By saying you will stop eating sugar for 2020, you're essentially saying that you are going to deny yourself from enjoying fresh strawberries, sweet desserts with friends, or cake on your birthday, for a year! By saying you want to lose 20 pounds, you aren't equipping yourself with the tools or a plan with which to execute a difficult feat. Plus, by focusing on a number on a scale, you're ignoring the other aspects of a healthy BMI.
Instead, try to break down your New Years fitness resolutions into smaller goals, such as cutting out soda, sweets and refined sugar 6 days a week, or exercising one hour each day for a lower resting heart rate, improved muscle tone, and a healthier overall BMI.
Next, set an event "deadline" for reviewing your results. For me, my goal was "being able to run a 5k." Signing up for a race forced me to get in shape to complete it. I even signed up for two races so that I could try to improve my time...and I succeeded! In addition to achieving my goal, I lost weight, improved my mood, reduced stress, dropped clothing sizes, and lowered my resting heart rate, blood pressure, and BMI. I also enjoyed being outdoors and spending time with my dogs. And the races were SO much fun! I can now say I've discovered a new hobby I enjoy: running!
So whether it's signing up for a race (a fun run, 5k, 10k or something else), planning a fitness-focused vacation (destination hike? Yoga retreat?), or an event where you want to look and feel your best, set a date to push yourself toward, and define what you want to accomplish on that date.
Once that date expires, choose something new to look forward to, with a new tangible goal! For me, now that the 5k races are over, I can work toward a 10K, plus work on my upper body strength to climb the rock wall on a cruise I've planned in May. For others, it might mean having the stamina to dance for hours at a friend's wedding, maintain your goal weight to look your best in family reunion photos, or have the strength to climb Mayan ruins. So figure out what works for you - it doesn't have to be expensive, just something that brings you joy to look forward to in your life.
2. Work Smarter With Technology
Research and download apps ( I used Couch to 5K ) to help you figure out how much you need to do each day or each week to maintain your fitness resolution and meet your goals...just take these with a grain of salt and adjust the pace to your bodily needs if necessary. If you're aiming for weight loss, a minimum number of steps per day, or trying to achieve a healthier resting heart rate, the Apple Watch and FitBit are great tools to monitor your activity. Certain scales also measure your BMI, not just spit out a number on the scale (remember, muscle weighs more than fat). I'm currently using this one by Yoleo.
3. Stay In Community
For me, telling my friends and family about my New Years fitness resolutions holds me accountable on days I really just do not feel like getting out there. We all have these days, and being in community makes it easier to reach your goals. You can share fitness progress with your loved ones through certain apps, like Apple's Health, FitBit or My Fitness Pal, or through a quick call or text every day. I love knowing I got my sister or my friends out walking or running some days, and other days, they push me on.
If you join a gym, sign up for a group class - seeing the same determined faces on a regular basis can be something to look forward to. For weight loss, some enjoy the community found with Weight Watchers or other similar groups. If you love the outdoors, REI hosts regular events and workshops, many of them free, to learn new skills and meet new friends. You might also search local message boards or Facebook for running and other fitness groups.
4. Take Photos And Video
No, not just to post on social to show off that you killed it in yoga class - although you can if you want to! I personally like taking photos of myself commemorate what I look and feel like at different stages of my fitness journey. I have fun photos of me and my dogs after completing a run, or the sights I enjoyed along the way, and these are a great lead-up to Race Day photos. It's nice sometimes just to celebrate yourself and take photos for yourself. No matter what shape you are in, you're here and you're alive...and that's something to celebrate!
5. Diversify With Inner Work
Don't get tunnel vision or a complex about your fitness journey, because it is just one part of this amazing life you're living. Besides your physical health, what else are you interested in exploring this year? Maybe you want to learn conversational French, get better at budgeting, learn to meditate, take up oil painting, or plan a few meals each week.
Exploring new hobbies and cultivating new habits while you work on your fitness goals can open the door to a more emotionally synchronized way of living. If you are moving more, chances are you may want to be more mindful of what you're eating, or cut out other habits that are less than ideal for a healthy lifestyle. Just make sure to have fun, take baby steps and be gentle with yourself, to avoid sabotaging the hard work of establishing your new fitness habits.