I know what you're thinking: New Years is way too far to even think about resolutions. You're just starting to think of the holiday season!
I was talking to a girlfriend the other day about resolutions she made in 2017. She sent me the list:
- hit my goal weight of 135 this year
- actually work out
- meditate at least 4 times a week
She had other goals related to travel, socializing more, and ways to practice self love. She was determined to make this coming year the year she reached her fitness goals. I suggested she focus on one or two at a time instead of that whole list. They all sounded amazing I told her. She said the amazing part would be actually doing them.
As the end of every year approaches, people set all kinds of goals related to health and fitness. They are determined a new year will bring them a new start and a renewed sense of motivation. After holiday cookie gorging and drinking like a fish all of December, much motivation is needed. Gyms across the country plan months ahead of time for the inevitable flood of people ready to drop their money on a membership, trainer, or a New Year's fitness challenge. Their marketing efforts pay off since close to 80% of people who join a gym in January quit after a few months. Even for those members that don't quit, only 20% of them actually USE the gym while the rest continue to pay for something they don't use. No need to worry, the billions of dollars gyms and fitness studios are making will funnel right back your way when the next year rolls around and you're looking to join a gym to meet your New Year's resolutions.
Save your energy this year and not place all your hopes in the same resolutions basket you do every year. After a year of doing or not doing what you currently are, please don't assume that will all suddenly change with the calendar. This is why you should make SOLUTIONS instead of resolutions. Come up with realistic and practical solutions to whatever obstacles you currently deal with. Your living/work/family circumstances won't magically change. So what does that mean? Take a look at 2019 as a whole. Let's assume that your living/work/family situation will be similar to this year. Next look at the areas where you struggled this past year, even years further back, with your fitness goals. Hone in on one or a few specific goals you want to find solutions for.
Let's go ahead and use my girlfriend's goals as an example. I will be treating her as I would a client but it's tricky because I've known her for over ten years! Though I prefer to focus on the future with clients, I would want her to look closely and possibly even reevaluate her goals since she has struggled with "actually doing them" in the past. I would then have her focus on one goal and see how we can find solutions to the obstacles she continues to face when trying to reach it. For the average person, a roadblock when it comes to fitness usually pertains to time, money, or lack of energy/motivation. When we find the root of those roadblocks, we are better equipped to find long term solutions that last longer than your gym membership.
Here's a few simple steps you can follow for each common roadblock:
- How much time per week can you realistically spend exercising? If you say you can dedicate three hours a week, aim for one and half for few months. Getting those three hours will come in time. Lay the foundation with half of that first.
- If you hate waking up early to workout or have to be at work early, maybe an early morning workout isn't for you. The same thing applies to your evening workouts.
- Be smart about picking your gym or studio. It needs to be close to your home or job.
- It's all about prioritizing your time. We spend time on the things that matter. Book your workouts as you would book an important meeting or an interview for a job you've been waiting for.
- You do not need to invest a lot of money when it come to fitness. However, you will need to invest some. See how much your monthly budget allows for. Add your fitness budget into your household bills. It's that important.
- Stop getting multiple memberships, class punch cards, fitness DVD's, etc. Hone in on one thing. Trying new things all the time makes fitness expensive! Ultimately, paying for the newest and latest fitness craze will get you in the same place as your current fitness gig if you stick with it.
- Don't pay for initiation fees! This is something gyms don't tell you because they want your money. An initiation fee is simply a way for a gym to squeeze more money out of you. Remember: they want your membership. Ask them to waive it and when/if they refuse, you can walk. They'll be calling you within a week or two about their "zero initiation special."
3. Lack of energy/motivation
- Which came first: the energy to workout or the energy from working out? There is no simple solution to creating energy out of thin air. Start slowly to prevent burnout. Get enough sleep! Don't eat a lot of sugar. Those will help with energy in general.
- Not feeling motivated is incredibly too complex to offer simple steps to overcome it. There could be many factors involved with your lack of motivation. Don't compare yourself to others on social media, or that you know, or at the gym. Don't think short term about your goals. Go for what you want now AND can maintain long term. Don't set goals so unattainable that you'll end up disappointing yourself.
- Find someone who will support your goals in a healthy way. You don't need someone to make you feel guilty or someone to be "bad" with and skip the gym and order a pizza. You need someone who will lift you up, hold you accountable for the things you said you would do, and who will be supportive no matter what.
- Take it day by day. In the long run, missing a workout here and there won't hurt you. What will hurt you is trying to be perfect and giving up when you aren't.
I don't think anyone needs a reminder of the definition of insanity, right? Then why does the idea of making the same New Year's resolutions every year after failing to reach them or maintain them appeal to so many people?! Try something new for 2019 and give yourself some solutions instead of the same ole resolutions.