“I’m going to get in shape.” “I’ll start exercising more often.” Sound familiar? Why is it so hard to keep our new year’s fitness resolutions?
The biggest reason: We focus on generalities and ignore the specifics of what we’re trying to accomplish. And by doing so, we’re setting ourselves up for failure.
New Year Fitness Goals: The Why and How
If you want to succeed at achieving your goals this year, start by focusing on two specific things: the why and the how.
Why do you want to get in shape? What will it do for you? Will it improve your self-esteem? Will it enable you to play with your kids more often? Will it make you feel like a better person? What will it look like when you’re there? Once you know what your specific reasons are for getting in shape, write them down.
Then consider how exactly you’ll achieve those goals. For example: If your goal is to lose weight, then how will that happen? By eating fewer calories or exercising more often? By drinking more water or eating more vegetables? By walking for 30 minutes every day or joining a gym?
The more specific your plan, the easier it will be for you to stay on track.
Creating Your New Year Fitness Program
Think of your new year fitness plan as a road map for how you will get from point A to point B. Here is a sample new year fitness program to guide you, as you personalise your own plan to fit your particular needs, goals, and lifestyle this year.
Set SMART fitness goals for yourself.
Set a primary fitness goal that is SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. For example: “I want to lose 15 pounds by June 1st.”
Next, come up with one or two additional goals that will help you achieve your primary goal. For example: “I will walk for 30 minutes every day after work.” Or “I will eat a piece of fruit daily during breakfast.”
Put your fitness goals in writing.
Have a physical copy of your goals – you can either write them down or print them out and post them somewhere you’ll see them every day. This will help you to stay focused and motivated.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed by life’s demands and responsibilities, go back to this list. It will remind you why it’s so important for you to make time for working out.
Make your new year fitness plan personal.
Pick an activity that fits your lifestyle. For example, if you like to play sports, pick a team sport such as softball or basketball. If you prefer individual activities, try racquetball or golf.
If you’re not sure what activity you’d like to try, consider these factors:
- how much time it takes and how often you can do it
- the cost of equipment or membership fees
- whether or not there’s a facility nearby where you can participate in group classes
- whether or not it requires special skills (like swimming)
Whatever activity you end up choosing, make sure it is something that you enjoy doing!
Think about your end goal, but focus on the day-to-day activities to achieve it.
If you want to lose weight and get in shape, focus on activities that will help you burn calories. Try walking, running, swimming, or biking. If you’re looking for something more intense, consider kickboxing or martial arts classes. If your goal is to build muscle mass or strength, focus on weight training. If you want to learn a new skill, try taking lessons at the gym or community centre.
And remember, it’s important to set milestones for yourself, as well. These can include things like finishing with a certain time in a race or completing one specific workout every week. Check them off as you reach them and set new ones when these are met.
Sign up for a fitness class.
If you’ve never been to fitness and health classes before, try one out. You can find classes at gyms or community centres that offer a variety of activities, including aerobics, zumba, yoga, or tai chi. You might just find that you enjoy the benefits of group exercise.
Fitness classes are usually offered both as group sessions and private lessons, so you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. If you’re looking for something specific, like yoga or Pilates, try searching online for studios that offer those types of workouts.
Get an accountability partner or group.
If you’re going to commit to regular exercise, it’s a good idea to have an accountability partner or group – someone with whom you can share your goals and make arrangements for workouts to help ensure that they happen.
Having an accountability partner or group will help you stay motivated. If you have a friend who also wants to lose weight, make plans to work out together at least once a week. You can also join an online weight loss community for support or through your local gym, community centre, or even online. You’ll probably want to meet with your partner at least once a week to discuss your progress, set goals and celebrate each other’s successes.
Don’t compare yourself to others; stay focused on your progress.
If you’re overweight, it may be tempting to compare yourself to people who are much heavier than you. But comparing yourself to others with a different body type or fitness level can only lead to frustration and discouragement.
Your goal is to be healthy and happy, not necessarily lose the same amount of weight as your friends. Focus on your own progress and celebrate each step along the way; this will help keep your weight loss journey more positive.
Pick up a new hobby to help keep your mind off the hard work it takes to stay fit.
Do you find yourself starting to feel overwhelmed or discouraged? Is focusing on your diet and exercise all the time starting to feel like a chore? It happens! The time and energy that you spend trying to lose weight can be overwhelming; as a result, it’s easy to get frustrated by the slow progress and feel like giving up.
If you’re feeling unmotivated, try picking up a new hobby or skill. Take a class at your local community centre or enrol in an adult education program. This can be anything from learning how to play an instrument to volunteering at your local animal shelter.
Learning something new can help keep your mind off the hard work it takes to lose weight and stay fit. Because you’re not focused on working out, you’ll have more energy for other activities and may even find yourself eating less as a result. Plus it’ll give you some fresh ideas for fun activities with friends!
Give yourself rewards for hitting milestones.
Rewarding yourself for reaching milestones is a great way to stay motivated. If you’re working towards a weight loss goal, reward yourself with something small when you hit that number on the scale.
You can do this with small things like taking time out of your schedule for fun activities. Or if you’ve been really good about sticking to your diet, reward yourself with something big like a trip or a vacation. Or simply take a day off from workouts, especially if you’re working on building strength by lifting weights at home. Time off from exercising gives your body an opportunity to recover and repair itself.
Be kind to yourself.
Working out can be a great way to release stress and anxiety, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed or overworked then it may not be the best time to hit the gym. Instead of pushing yourself through your workout routine when you’re stressed out, try meditating or doing yoga instead.
Or if you’re having trouble sticking with a fitness routine, try making it more fun or exciting by adding in new activities. Take dance classes, join a sports league, or go hiking in the mountains. These types of activities can help stave off boredom and keep you motivated.
On the other hand, if you’ve been thinking for a while about taking a break from your workout routine, then try to do it on purpose. Don’t just let it happen because you are struggling with motivation or don’t feel like exercising one day. If you take time off on purpose, you’ll be happier and better able to focus on your goals when you get back into your routine.
Setting realistic fitness goals that fit perfectly into your lifestyle will be the easiest way to keep you motivated and on track for the rest of the year. This will help you stay focused on what matters most without sacrificing your overall well-being.
So make this the year that you finally stick to a workout routine that’s tailored just for you, and turn your new year fitness goals into a reality!