Let’s face it - for many of us, New Year’s resolutions are a bit of a joke. A lot people will break them before the year is out, and over 40% won’t even make it to the end of January. But you don’t need an iron will to commit to getting fit and healthy this year. Whether your goal is to do 20 burpees, compete in a triathlon, or to just take the stairs more often, you can accomplish it, no sweat (OK, maybe a little sweat). Check out these basic tips to having the fittest year yet.
1. Write your resolution down
Write down what you want to accomplish, rather than just keeping it in your head.
A goal should be specific, measurable and action-oriented—setting vague (and thus tough to achieve) goals is a sure way to set yourself up for disappointment. For example, “I want to lose weight” is a fairly common New Year’s resolution, but how exactly do you go from point A to point B when you don’t know where point B is? Choosing something more specific, like “I want to lose 15 pounds,” breaking down the goal’s components (like specific exercises and activities) to achieve said goal, and keeping a regular checklist of action-oriented steps will help solidify the task and keep you on track.
2. Make it achievable and manageable
A resolution shouldn’t be a fantasy. If you’ve never exercised before, attempting to hit the gym every day right off the bat won’t set you up for success. The key to sustainable resolutions is to make small, gradual changes. If your goal is to go from never running at all to finishing a marathon, start training gradually. Begin by running a couple of kilometres twice a week, and steadily increase the workload over a few months. Slow and steady always wins the race. Just ask the tortoise and the hare.
3. Reward yourself accordingly
When you hit those hard-earned benchmarks - whether it be getting through that Bootcamp class without giving up, or losing your first 5 pounds - treat yourself! Choose a reward that won’t undo your hard work, like a mani-pedi, a massage, or some new fitness swag. These can often help you reach those milestones faster than you previously thought possible.
4. Variety is the spice of life
As with most things in life, sometimes we get tired of stuff. If you’re someone who gets bored easily, it’s time to think beyond the treadmill and the weight rack. Experiment with yoga, spin classes, rock climbing, kettle bells, and everything in between. The more variety in your exercise program, the more fun it will be to follow, and the more likely you’ll stick with it and even find something you absolutely love.
5. Ask for help
Don’t let intimidation or uncertainty stop you from achieving your goal. If you’re curious about new techniques, or find some exercises are too daunting, why not book a session with a personal trainer? This will clear up confusion, and get you closer to reaching your goal. Don’t be self-conscious about asking for advice, that’s what trainers are for!
6. Use technology to your advantage
Living in the age of the Internet, there are a plethora of community-based fitness websites that can help track your fitness progress and keep you motivated. After all, it is easier to stay on the right path when you have others cheering you on. There are also plenty of fitness gadgets and apps that do the same thing if you’re self-motivated. One of my personal favourite apps is Cody, which provides access to training videos and fitness plans from some of the best fitness experts in the world.
So there you have it, folks. Some pretty simple but effective tips to ensure that you not only keep your New Year's resolution, but that you actually stay motivated to continue making them year after year.
Stay healthy and Happily Holidays!
Kat Maltarp, BSc. is a Certified Personal Trainer and Registered Health & Exercise Practitioner