Everyone starts with good intentions after the New Year when it comes to fitness. So, how do you stick to a New Year’s fitness resolution? This is what some fitness professionals had to say.
How do you stick to a New Year’s fitness resolution?
Start with two days per week for 30 minutes with the main movement patterns
Squatting and lunging
Upper body pushing (overhead and horizontally, like push-ups)
Upper body pulling (rows and pulldowns)
Hinging and Hip Extension (like a deadlift, glute bridge or hip thrust)
Change the way you see exercise
Steven Mack, CSCS
Stay consistent and stick with it
Keep it interesting
Make a schedule
Willpower and motivation
“My name is Sharon Gam. I’m a personal trainer and health coach with a Ph.D. in exercise physiology. I’m the owner of Sharon Gam Fitness, a coaching company specializing in strength training and building healthy habits. I’ve been in the industry for 15 years and my writing and research have been featured in Breaking Muscle and Muscle & Fitness.
A mistake many people make with their fitness goals is to try to find more willpower or motivation. Depending on willpower and motivation to help you stick to your fitness plans is not a good idea. It’s normal for willpower and motivation to come and go, but if you want to achieve your goals you need to show up for your workouts even at times when your motivation is low, or you’re busy or stressed, or life gets in the way.
How do you stick to a New Year’s fitness resolution?
There are a lot of strategies you can use to help you stick to your fitness program that have nothing to do with motivation.
Here are a few examples:
Set Small And Achievable Goals, And Make Specific Plans To Achieve Them
Setting small and achievable goals sets you up for success and builds your confidence. You might set a goal of running for 5 minutes, 3 times a week, or doing 1 strength exercise each day. You’ll be able to build on those later. Once you have your small goals set, you should create concrete action plans that spell out, as specifically as possible, exactly what you will do each day to move you towards those goals.
People who make these kind of plans (which are called “implementation intentions”) are almost three times more likely to follow through, according to one study. To make a good action plan, decide on exactly what you will do, when and where you will do it, and what you will do to make sure you follow through and avoid any obstacles that may come up.
Change Your Environment To Make Working Out Easy
If the way your house is set up makes it easier to sit on the couch than to get out and exercise, or the way your workplace is set up makes it easier to take the elevator than the stairs, that’s what you’ll probably do.
You can set up your environment in a way that nudges you towards healthy choices. Surround yourself with people and things that keep exercise in the front of your mind and make it easier to do.
Here are some ideas:
Find people who already have the habits you’re trying to build and spend time around them.
- Join a running or strength training group or befriend your coworker who does a lunchtime workout each day.
Decrease the number of steps between you and your healthy behavior.
- Pack your workout clothes the night before.
- Put your running shoes and headphones by the front door.
- Keep home workout equipment in your living room.
Keep your goals at the front of your mind.
- Set reminders (alarms, post-it notes, etc.) to complete healthy behaviors.
- Write your scheduled workouts on a calendar that you look at often.
- Post inspirational messages to yourself where you’ll see them often.
Reward Yourself The Right Way
A reward system can be very effective for motivation. In fact, one study found that people who used a certain type of strategic reward system, called temptation bundling, were 51% more likely to exercise.
Not all rewards are effective, though. Buying yourself something nice after you lose a certain amount of weight or planning a vacation if you complete a half marathon are examples of ineffective rewards, because they aren’t immediate and emotional enough to activate the part of your brain that helps you form habits.
A good reward is something:
- You want but can’t always have access to
- That happens right away
- You can only get by doing the target behavior.
For example: Only listen to your favorite podcast while you work out.
Become An Active Person
The things you do are an extension of your self-identity. If you think of yourself as a fit and healthy person, you will practice healthy habits. You won’t have to force yourself to work out, it will be a part of your lifestyle because that’s who you are.
Become someone who never misses two workouts in a row, or who takes the stairs every day. Always ask yourself – what would an active person do?
Sharon Gam, PhD, CSCS, ACE-HC
Health, Fitness, and Strength Coach
Find an accountability partner
“My name is Daniel Maman, a health coach and health consultant at MyPhenom Fitness, a website that seeks to be a top source of information and advice on nutrition, fitness, and home gym equipment. I advocate for a healthy lifestyle that includes diet, fitness, and overall wellbeing. I am also fond of creating workout routines and healthy recipes that I happily share on our website.
Here are my suggestions on how to stick to a New Year’s fitness resolution:
Find an accountability partner who will share that journey with you.
You don’t even have to do it in person. It’s easy search for one in numerous fitness communities on social media. You don’t even have to be on the same level because the point is not to compare your journeys but to take them together. What you need is someone who uplifts you and encourages you to pursue your goals. In return, you will be expected to do the same for them. Try it. You’d be surprised at how many people would actually want to do this with you.
Secondly, adopt a growth mindset around your fitness goals.
You need to have absolute clarity about your goals in order to have a growth mindset around them. This means defining what your long-term goals are and them breaking them down to bite-sized pieces that you can manage to deal with every day. It is important that you set it up so you can have a little win each day instead of having to shoot for a big win that is way ahead into the future.”
Health Consultant/Health Coach
My Phenom Fitness
Radical honesty, setting realistic goals, and tracking results.
Set realistic goalsUse that information to set realistic goals, such as “do a 30-minute workout every Tuesday and Thursday at 5 pm”. Setting a duration, time, and date will increase your chances of sticking to it. It also makes it easier to track your results – a critical step for accurately adjusting your goals month after month. The key is to understand that New Year’s motivation ends. Tracking gives you information to adjust your goals over time because life will happen. When it does, use it as a learning opportunity and pick up where you left off.”
Mich Torres Knee Force Lead EditorKneeForce.com