Tips for Creating a New Year's Fitness Plan You Can Actually Stick To
We see it year after year… Well-intentioned people hit the ground running with their fitness-related goals in January, only to fall back into their old, less active habits in February. Why is it so hard to stick to New Year’s resolutions? We think it might be because of lousy game plans. So, we’re sharing five simple ways you can create a New Year’s fitness plan you can actually stick to!
1. Set Realistic, Achievable Goals
First, when creating your fitness plan for the New Year, be realistic! If you’ve never stepped foot into a gym, then aiming to work out seven days a week might be a bit of a stretch. When you set unrealistic goals for yourself, it can kill your motivation. Instead of aiming so high at one huge goal right away, be honest about what you can do, and set micro-goals that will ultimately get you to your larger goal. Breaking down your goals into smaller tasks makes them more manageable and helps you stay motivated as you mark off achievements along the way.
Tip: It’s just as important to give yourself time to recover as it is to exercise, but your rest days should never be completely sedative. An example of an active rest day is walking your dog around the park, rather than watching TV all day.
2. Build Small Habits That Set You Up for Success
It’s much easier to gradually change your habits a little at a time throughout the year than it is to completely change your lifestyle all at once. But, keep in mind, even small changes in your routine take time to become natural. According to a study in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit, even if it’s as simple as drinking a glass of water at dinnertime.
Action item: choose one or two small habits that you can focus on for the next few weeks. After you’ve mastered those first few habits, you can pick a couple more to work on. Some examples of small habits you can start with are listed below.
- Commit to taking the stairs rather than the elevator every day or walking rather than driving, if you’re in a city.
- Instead of planning to do an hour of yoga five times a week, start with daily stretching at home to increase your flexibility.
- Whenever you have a chance, choose to stand instead of sitting (at the office, watching TV, reading the mail, etc.).
3. Try Tracking Your Progress Differently This Year
If stepping on the scale every morning sounds painstaking, this message is for you! Weight should not be the only measurement of success when it comes to your fitness resolutions. Because your weight can fluctuate based on several different factors throughout the day, it’s not always accurate in determining whether your fitness plan is working or not. Also, there’s the simple fact that muscle weighs more than fat, which means you could be sweating it out at the gym every day and still not seeing that pesky needle move.
Instead of worrying about your weight, focus on how your body is changing. Have you lost inches around your waist? Are you noticing that your clothes are a little looser? Are you able to walk up the stairs without getting winded or can you carry more heavy grocery bags in one trip? These noticeable milestones can be great substitutions for weight when it comes to measuring your success.
4. Keep Things Interesting with a Variety of Exercises
If we could all follow the same fitness routine and see the same results, there wouldn’t be so many options out there. One reason the fitness industry is exploding with tons of different choices is that people enjoy different styles of exercise. We encourage you to experiment with different workout programs and find a few that you feel comfortable doing every week.
Adding variety to your exercise routine can help you stay mentally engaged with your workouts; plus, performing different types of workouts can be more beneficial for your overall health and fitness. So, if you’re an avid runner, try taking a yoga class to increase flexibility. If you love participating in barre classes, try a program like 9Round that adds a source of high-intensity interval training to your routine.
We challenge you to test out all your fitness options until you find a winning combination that makes you excited to get up and put your sneakers on.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Make Adjustments to Your Plan
As you are working toward your goals, you should occasionally evaluate your fitness plan to ensure that you’re making progress. If you find any part of your plan isn’t working as well as you’d hoped, it’s time to adjust! On the other hand, if you seem to have knocked out some of your goals, it’s time to replace them with new goals to keep moving forward. Plan for brief periods of evaluation throughout the year so you can make sure your fitness plan is always helping you work toward your goals.
Now, are you ready to knock out your goals in the new year?! We hope these simple tips can help and if you’re looking for a new fitness experience to try this year, check out our 30-minute, full-body kickboxing workout. Your first visit is always free, so find your nearest location and get your workout today!