So you’ve decided to make a New Year’s fitness resolution…
Although New Year’s Eve is a great opportunity to make a fitness resolution, we often have a hard time living up to the goal we’ve set. According to a recent study, 60 per cent of people give up on their resolution by February. By March, a whopping 80 per cent have thrown in the towel. The good news? You can increase your chances of success with these 10 stick-with-it strategies.
1. Start by asking yourself, “Why?”
A fitness resolution is rarely about fitness. It’s important to ask yourself why this fitness resolution is important to you on a deeper level. What drives you? What gets you out of bed in the morning and keeps you up at night? What’s motivating you to make a change? Pinpoint exactly what that something is and use it to push yourself to keep going when you feel like giving up.
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2. Be specific about what you want to accomplish—and set a deadline.
Sometimes when we make a fitness resolution, we’re tempted to leave it vague and open-ended to leave ourselves some wriggle room. The truth is, you’re far more likely to stick to your goal if you make it as specific as possible. Determine exactly what you’re going to do and when you’re going to achieve it. Deadlines are necessary if you’re serious about making your fitness resolution stick.
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3. Start small and build momentum.
If you try to change too much too quickly, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Instead, break your fitness goal into a series of smaller challenges, and celebrate every victory along the way. Fitness resolutions are hard. Cut yourself some slack and focus on the progress you’re making, no matter how inconsequential it seems.
4. Write down your fitness resolution and display it proudly.
Research shows that we’re more likely to achieve goals if we actually write them down. Take it one step further and display the written resolution prominently. Slap an adhesive note on your computer or fridge. Share it on social media, and tag @ParticipACTION on Twitter or Instagram. Tell your friends and family. They can help support you along the way!
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5. Make yourself accountable.
Accountability is huge when it comes to sticking to your fitness resolution. Find a way to hold yourself accountable, whether that means getting a friend to call, text, or email you once a week, having a co-worker regularly check-in, or keeping a journal detailing your progress.
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6. Measure your progress every step of the way.
Measurement matters! It helps you determine how much exercise you’re currently getting and allows you to see your progress. Whether it’s the number of steps you take, the number of times you get to the gym, the kilometres you jog, or the time spent at yoga class each week, figure out a way to measure what you’re doing. Keeping track helps keep you on track.
7. Don’t rely on motivation alone.
A new year often feels like a fresh start, and the perfect opportunity to make healthy lifestyle changes. The problem is, all of the motivation that comes along with that fresh start can quickly disappear. The key is to anticipate that, and prepare backup for those days when your motivation wanes. Schedule workouts in your calendar. Find a reliable exercise buddy. And most of all, remember that motivation is often something that follows action. The more action you take, the more motivated you’ll feel.
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8. Focus on fun.
When it comes to making long-term change, fun is fundamental. It’s hard to consistently force yourself to do something you hate. So, if you hate running, try cycling instead. Pick up a sport you used to play as a kid. Listen to your favourite music or podcast at the gym. Do everything you can to make your physical activity enjoyable, because that’s the only way you’re going to want to keep doing it.
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9. Strive for consistent action and sustainable change.
Tackle your fitness resolution with consistency and sustainability in mind. Leading a more active life isn’t going to happen overnight. Your mind and body need time to adapt to new routines—even when those routines are healthy! Keeping the long-term in mind from the get-go will help you concentrate on what matters most.
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10. Make sure it’s about you.
All too often we make a fitness resolution simply to live up to some societal standard of beauty. If you want to effect long-term change and become more active throughout 2018, do it for you—and not to impress people you don’t even know on social media.