Raise your hand if one of your resolutions this year is to work out more or to get back in shape. Yeah, us too. So many of us resolve to be healthier and more fit in the new year (some 38% actually, according to Statistic Brain), but it’s a pledge so few of us actually stick to. In fact, many gyms entice people to join with low rates in January and bank on those “no shows” to keep collective costs down.
Don’t want to be a statistic? We talked to Robert Ramsey, a trainer and fitness instructor at Drill Fitness in New York City, to help us crack the code on how to keep a fitness resolution well into the new year.
WRITE IT DOWN
A lot of people have very generic goals, but don’t map out what they want to accomplish. The very first thing you need to do is create a blueprint. “People need to start at the far end, have their goal, and then fill in the blanks on how you plan on attaining their goal,” Ramsey says. So take a piece of paper, and in big letters write what you want to do. Maybe it’s a weight-loss goal, or maybe it’s about working out more consistently. Whatever it is, put it in writing and spell out exactly what you need to do to support that goal.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
With your goal in mind, Ramsey suggests doing research on what you’ll need to do to reach your goal. Get specific. So if your goal is to lose 20 lbs, look into the science and data surrounding weight loss. How much weight should you be aiming to lose per week? How long will it take? How many times a week should you work out to meet those goals? A lot of people have mixed ideas about what it takes to actually lose the weight. Educate yourself and know what’s necessary (and possible) so you don’t have false ideas about what needs to be done.
One of the biggest reasons why resolutions fail, is because we try to do too much all at once. If working out doesn’t feel good, if it’s too hard or too difficult, then we associate bad feelings with the process and don’t return, Ramsey says. It’s super important to start out at a place that’s easy, and gradually increase the intensity or difficulty. Think of it like climbing a staircase. Each step is small and manageable, but when put together, you can cover a lot of ground.
Those inconsistent yo-yo cycles, as Ramsey calls it, make it hard to see results and easy to call it quits on a goal. Consistency is key to getting to where you want to go. This comes down to two things: commitment and motivation. Read on for how to tackle these two tricky elements to maintaining your resolution.
KEEP THINGS INTERESTING
One of the reasons why this resolution falls flat for so many people is because they lose interest or get discouraged. Set yourself up for success by finding some really cool classes to try (Drill Fitness, where Ramsey works, offers high-intesity cycling and bootcamp-style classes), discovering a new workout DVD, or even investing in some really bright, fun workout gear (we love Lululemon, Athleta, and Victoria's Secret). Our brains respond positively to new experiences -- stoke that fire by changing things up as much as possible and you won’t get bored.
MAKE GOALS VISIBLE
Buy a big calendar and map out what you want to do for an entire month. Hang it on the wall in a place where you can see it every day, multiple times per day. When you create that plan for yourself and keep it visible, it keeps your goal top of mind and makes it a priority. Each time you meet your goal for the day or for the week, mark it on the calendar in a way that shows you how great you’re doing. Use stickers, bright markers, or another way to visibly represent that you're making progress. Into gadgets? Get a FitBit and use their awesome app to track daily goals and progress.
There are two ways to do this. One: find a workout buddy and have weekly workout dates that you plan in advance. This can be a friend or, even better, a personal trainer. When there’s someone counting on you, you are more likely to go. Second: sign up for classes or join a gym that offers them. Drop some money and reserve a spot ahead of time. Schedule it into your week and make a plan. If you just say “I’ll go to the gym this week,” that’s not as powerful as “I’ll go to the gym Monday and Wednesday and I signed up for a class on Friday.”
BE YOUR OWN COACH
Keep in mind why you made this goal in the first place. You’re working on improving yourself, yes? So tell yourself how great you are. Make a motivational corner in your home where you can visualize the goal. Write down inspirational words and quotes and hang them up. Cut out pictures from magazines and hang them on the wall or inside a cabinet. Use these visual cues as a way to stay motivated and boost your morale. Ramsey recommends starting each morning with a personal affirmation or mantra. Even better? Read it aloud. Hear yourself say the words and commit to them.
Did you resolve to get in shape this year? Share your tips with Influenster Nation in the comments section below!
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