Before you get ready to ring in the New Year, we’re here to help you change the way you think about your annual resolution to help you stick with it and have more fun in the process. Now we’re sure you’ve heard this a hundred times and unfortunately, it’s true: most New Year’s Resolutions (NYRs going forward) go abandoned within the first month of the year. In fact – 80% of them fail by the second week of February and only 8% of people claim that they have stayed true to their chosen resolution by the end of the year. Another (probably unsurprising) fact is that the most popular resolution tends to be about exercising more often in the new year. Polls and search results haven’t yet come in for 2018 but we’re guessing fitness will remain at the top of the list.
But why do these resolutions fizzle out so quickly and ubiquitously? There are a lot of reasons: we get too busy, life gets in the way, and ultimately we’re creatures of habit – so it’s hard to change a comfortable routine. But there’s a big reason why resolutions fade fast and can leave an unpleasant aftertaste. It boils down to this: most of us make our NYRs from a place of discomfort or distaste for something in our lives. So, when we decide to set a resolution it’s often rooted in “something is negative and I want to change it”, rather than focusing on “I want to bring this new, positive thing into my life”. There’s an often-quoted fitness mantra that goes,
Workout because you love your body, not because you hate it.
So if you’re planning on setting a fitness-focused resolution for this New Year, keep the above in mind.
There’s another key reason that we struggle to stick to our NYRs, and it’s because they are generally open-ended and vague. Taking a look at last year’s report from The Telegraph; the top three resolutions were “Exercise More” (38%), “Lose Weight” (33%), and “Eat More Healthily” (32%). But what does “more” mean, how much weight should you “lose”, and what defines “healthy” eating? When you set a goal for yourself you need to be specific, realistic, yet challenging. To help you along, here are our top 5 tips for setting goals that you can stick to:
- Stick to one and set parameters: Pick the one resolution most important to you and place guidelines around it. Set a specific goal with a clear achievement point. It will be easier to measure and easier to stick with.
- Find the sweet spot: You don’t want to set a goal that’s too easy because you won’t take it seriously, but you also don’t want to set a goal that’s too lofty – because it becomes daunting and hard to dive into. Set goals that are attainable with effort. Setting goals in increments can be a great way to help you achieve a larger resolution.
- Join a friend: Everything is better when you have someone to do it with! Join forces with your partner, a family member, or a good friend and aim to reach a shared goal together. It can inspire friendly competition and provide a natural source of motivation to keep you going.
- See setbacks as setups: Setbacks don’t stop us from reaching our goals, but they can become an excuse to give up. Challenge that thinking: recognize that setbacks may happen and use them as encouragement to try harder. How you respond to them is what matters most.
- Build in a reward: So you’ve set a New Year’s Resolution, but what’s the reward for reaching it or sticking with it? Be your own biggest fan and supporter in the process and make sure to recognize your successes and treat yourself when you hit those goals.
The thing about New Year’s Resolutions is that they’re generally larger lifestyle changes that we want to make to better our lives. But big changes can’t always happen overnight. Focus on small habit building first and the resolution will come to fruition over time. The thing about habits is that they aren’t easy to build but they also aren’t easy to break. So once you’ve got in the habit of doing something, it gets a lot easier to keep with it. So rather than “working out more” in 2018, try working out 1 day a week for the month of January, then 2 days a week in the month of February, then 2 days a week in the month of March, and 4 days a week by April — you catch our drift.
Before we leave you for the New Year’s Weekend ahead, here are 5 different ideas on fitness resolutions that you can try for the year to come.
- Sign up for a race that’s personally challenging and scheduled for early spring. Maybe a 5K run is best suited for you, or even a half- or full-marathon, depending on your current fitness level. You can also sign up for a bicycle race if you’re not a fan of running. This will give you a few months to train for it. Really train for it.
- New month, new exercise class. If you haven’t found an exercise class you love yet, it’s probably because you simply haven’t tried it. Group classes can be seriously fun and there are so many options as trainers and studios continue to combine various methods of exercise to create the ultimate, fun workout. Trying something new every month will not only keep you engaged, it will challenge your body in different ways, and you might find something you want to stick with for the long term. With 12 months ahead, here are 12 classes to try: Spinning, HIIT, Aqua-aerobics, Kickboxing, Pilates, Vinyasa yoga, Ashtanga yoga, Weight-lifting, Barre, Zumba, TRX, Hot yoga.
- Build your plank prowess. Planks are one of our very favorite exercises because it’s low impact but requires all over muscle activation. Make a goal to be able to hold a plank for 2-3 minutes while keeping good form. If you have to start with 15 seconds on your first plank, start there. Over the weeks keep adding time until you hit at least the 2 minute mark. The reward? A core that won’t quit.
- Nail that yoga pose: We’ve all seen that one pose that makes us go: Oh, I wish I could do that. Pick a yoga pose that you want to be able to do by the end of this new year. Whether it’s holding the crow pose, getting into a handstand or headstand, or being able to do a complete forward fold (yes, flexibility is an important part of fitness!) keep working it until you get it.
- Make way for Monday Madness: Or it can be Tuesday Tenacity or Wednesday Workouts – whatever suits your schedule. Make this one day of the week the day you really put a hard workout in. Just one day a week. Of course, exercising and staying active throughout the week is really important, but if you choose a day where you commit yourself to working out and it’s a set part of your schedule, it will help you stick to your fitness goals. Start just with the month of January and reward yourself if you meet your goal of exercising every Monday. Do the same for the following month, and the month after that, and the… OK, you get it.
We wish you the best and great success in setting and sticking to your New Year’s Resolution. At the end of the day, make it sure it’s something that brings you joy and positivity. We wish you a very happy and always healthy New Year, from all of us at Baby2Body!