You probably made some new year’s resolutions. The years is nearly half gone! Review your old resolutions and make some new half year resolutions.
If you’ve made a resolution to hit the gym in years past, you know just how hard this goal can be to keep. In fact, approximately 88 percent of people fail to stay true to their resolutions. Why? Often times, the goals of a resolution are too bold, too fast. It’s easy to burn out if you go from a sedentary lifestyle to visiting the gym four days a week. Rather than setting an unrealistically brash exercise goal, it’s easier on your body (and your willpower) if you instead resolve to gradually incorporate fitness and health goals into your overall lifestyle.
Start Slowly – Rigorous goals tend to lead to sporadic workouts that occur one week and not the next, but it’s better to spend less time exercising if you continuously keep up with it. For instance, your busy schedule may make it hard to visit the gym every weekday, so don’t try to. Instead, make it goal to get in three workouts per week. And your workouts don’t even have to involve the gym at all. Some people find it tedious to run on the treadmill or lift weights. If you’re one of these people, you may find it easier to keep your goal if you exercise in other ways, such as walking around your neighborhood, hiking, gardening, taking a dancing class, etc. Whatever you choose to do, plan time for it each week by adding it to your calendar so you don’t forget to stick to your new routine.
Maintain Your Goals – At some point, everyone starts to feel burnt out. But that doesn’t mean you should give up. Remind yourself why you’re doing this—regular exercise helps prevent illness, depression and reduces the effects of aging. Many people find it helpful to utilize a support system of friends and family. Tell people what you’re doing so they can cheer you on and celebrate your milestones with you. Hiring a personal trainer or scheduling workouts with a friend can be a huge motivator as well, making you more likely to keep your workout dates if you know someone is waiting for you to show up.
Making your workouts as convenient as possible prevents you from making excuses to stray from your goals. Find a gym close to your home or place of work and pack your gym bag the night before you plan to work out so you’re ready to go. If you prefer to work out in privacy, buy a few hand weights and exercise DVDs, which also allows you to exercise on your own timetable.
If you feel yourself slipping, simply recommit yourself with shorter goals. It’s much easier to say “I’m going to work out twice this week” than it is to say “I’m going to work out twice every week for the rest of my life.” Shorter goals can be accomplished faster, which gives you the satisfaction you need to set another short goal. These goals will build upon each other until the momentum carries you forward. Remember, it takes 21 days to form a new habit and six months for that habit to meld into a part of your personality. Push yourself until it becomes second nature.
Reward Yourself – Accomplished goals should be rewarded so you can start to associate exercise with more pleasant things. Reward your weekly goals with something small, like treating yourself to a nice dinner over the weekend. Bigger monthly goals can be rewarded with a massage, manicure, new clothing or something equally as enticing. You should always have something pleasant to look forward to, besides being in better shape of course.
Improve Your Overall Health – Once you feel confident that you have a good grasp on exercising, it’s time to start thinking about more ways you can live healthier. The first natural step is to improve your diet. But forget those crash diets chock full of strict rules. Instead, simply add healthier foods into your diet and avoid unhealthy foods. For instance, rather than giving up carbs altogether, try cutting them out of one meal per day. Replace that breakfast bagel with low-fat yogurt and fresh berries. The effort of eating at least one healthy meal per day is much easier than trying to follow the rules of a diet for every single meal you eat. As time progresses, you can incorporate more and more healthy foods into your diet, but remember to let yourself cheat one day per week so you can keep your cravings satisfied without letting them rule your daily diet.
On top of diet, getting a full eight hours of sleep each night improves your clarity, mood and stress levels. Even on your busiest days, leave yourself adequate time to get a full night of sleep so you can tackle your to-do list with renewed energy the next morning.
Wishing you a happy, healthy half year and the best of luck on your fitness goals for this and every year going forward!