January has come and gone. Have you kept up with your new year’s resolutions? If you are like most of us, a couple resolutions may have already slipped. According to research conducted by the University of Scranton, only 8 percent of people achieve their New Year's goals. Some people shoot too high with their expectations; some come up with resolutions that are impossible to achieve; and others are too nebulous to ever be measured. But the good news is that it doesn't have to be this way.
You can get your New Year’s fitness goals back on track if you follow these 10 tips for making fitness resolutions you can keep:
1) Focus on fun Contrary to popular belief, working out does not require a lot of blood, sweat and tears. In fact, it shouldn't include any blood or tears. It should be a lot of sweaty fun. People often fail to meet their goals because they don't have fun. You're not likely to invest time and energy in something that makes you miserable. So instead, find something you enjoy doing - and then do it!
2) Get your fitness on with a friend It's a lot more difficult to hit the snooze button on your alarm clock when you know that there is a friend who's going to be waiting for you at the gym. Finding a fitness friend can make working out more fun and it can also serve as motivation when you feel like skipping a training session.
3) Start by stretching Guess what happens to people who hurt themselves while working out. They stop working out! One big reason people get hurt at the gym is that they aren't flexible. Resolving to stretch every morning will do three things: make you more flexible, decrease your chances of getting hurt and make it more likely you'll reach your ultimate goals.
4) Be S.M.A.R.T. Setting a SMART goal means that your goal is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Pick a time frame to which you can commit. Pick something you know you can accomplish and that you can measure easily. Maybe you want to take a spinning class twice a week for three months. Regardless of the weight you lose or the muscle you gain, you will have achieved your goal if you keep up this ritual for three months.
SMART goals are:
- Specific. Setting a goal such as "I want to lose weight" is non-specific. Making a specific goal to drop ten pounds, a pant size, or a percentage of body fat is a specific goal.
- Measurable. Again, setting a vague goal decreases your chances of success. Aim for a number of pounds or dress sizes to drop, choose a body mass index number to hit, or aim for a statistic that you can measure over time.
- Achievable. When you set a goal, ask yourself if you can achieve it. As you meet each goal, you can set a new one and build your confidence.
- Realistic. Asking yourself to lose ten pounds or two dress sizes in two weeks is not realistic, but some people fall into the trap of setting really big goals that end in disappointment. Be sure that your goal is grounded in reality.
- Timely. Your goal needs to fit into a time frame. If you do this, you can keep track of your goals and assess and redefine them as you need to.
5) Go slow and steady Burnout is a fitness buzzkill. You might be thinking of going after your fitness goals with an all-or-nothing mentality, but that's not always practical or long lasting. People get sick. Life gets in the way. Things come up that might cause you to miss a workout. If you take a slow-and-steady approach, you'll be more likely to pick up where you left off before you got sidetracked.
6) Increase your core strength Core strength is your secret weapon when it comes to keeping up with your fitness goals. It affects everything you do from walking and running to swimming and lifting weights. And building core strength is as easy as resolving to do a plank every morning. Start by holding it for 30 seconds and work up to a minute. Then two. By the end of the year, you'll be stronger than when you started. And it's an easy resolution to keep because it only takes a few minutes every day.
7) Write about it There is likely to come a time in 2016 when you feel like quitting. Maybe you will be sore or tired. Maybe you'll feel like you're not making any progress. If you keep a daily journal of your workouts and diet successes, you'll be able to look back at all the hard work you've already put in and use it as motivation to keep going. It's a simple and smart resolution.
8) Keep it real Think about chopping up your big goals into smaller steps. Set a goal to lose five pounds every three weeks rather than 20 pounds over three months.
9) Stop stressing One of the worst things you can do with your workout is spend a lot of time worrying about it. Over-thinking can lead to mental paralysis, which then leads to skipping workouts because you're worried about your progress. Just get out there and do it. After a while, working out will become habit and you'll never worry about it (other than missing a workout).
10) Keep it simple Complexity is the enemy of execution. The more complicated your resolutions, the more likely you are to fail at them. Keep your goals simple. If you can't explain it to your workout buddy in 30 seconds, it's probably too complicated.