It’s the end of January and that means that the New Year’s Fitness Plan is well and truly dead for most people, or at best, it’s hanging on for dear life. Hopefully this does not apply to you and you’re starting to feel the benefits of a well-structured nutrition and exercise regime.
But don’t despair if you’re one of those people who’ve fallen off the fitness wagon – or didn’t manage to get on it in the first place. Today we’ll look at some of the reasons why New Year’s Resolutions don’t make it into February and what you can do to ensure that a healthy lifestyle becomes a natural way of life for you.
It’s been said that Life is a series of habits, and the best way to enjoy it is to maximize your good habits while minimizing your bad habits.
Experts maintain that it takes anywhere between 20 and 30 days to form a habit. So, whether you want to start exercising regularly or start a new eating plan, it’s very important that you give yourself the time to allow this change to become a natural and regular part of your life.
A lack of patience seems to be one of the main reasons why people quit on their good intentions. There’s no doubt that change can be challenging. But if you stick with it and allow the habit to form, you’ll find that you no longer have to force yourself to go training or to eat healthy food because it will become second nature to you.
This brings us to reason number 2 when it comes to abandoning the New You: Lack of Motivation. Obviously if you aren’t properly motivated you won’t have any reason to persevere. Too many people say that they want to lose weight or get fit and yet they also say that they can’t get motivated.
There are numerous ways to increase motivation but one of the most effective is a well-formed goal. So, a simple tactic to increase self-motivation would be to take the time to write out your S.M.A.R.T goal.
You could also use the power of nature: Instinctively we are all able to motivate ourselves to do things that really interest us or give us pleasure. We‘re also motivated to move away from things that cause us pain.
Now, let’s use that pleasure and pain instinct to keep you interested enough to achieve the goal.
You can reward yourself for reaching your goal, add a penalty clause for not hitting the target, or use a combination of both. Your reward for reaching this target can be a non-food treat; your penalty could be a chore that you really dislike.
By using this very simple tactic, you’ll find that you take a much longer-term view of your new regime and increase the chances of sticking with it and succeeding.
But even with the best motivation in the world, you’ll find it very difficult to succeed without a plan that actually works. Many people feel confused and overwhelmed with the seemingly contradictory information that’s out there. To overcome this issue I would advise one of two approaches.
You probably won’t be shocked when I recommend that you seek the advice of a qualified professional trainer or coach who is experienced in dealing with the issues that you want to tackle.
In the case of a fitness regime, your trainer should be able to design a programme that takes into account your current lifestyle, nutrition, level of fitness and also your goals.
The programme needs to be progressive so that you continue to improve and get stronger, fitter and leaner. Doing the same workout over and over leads to boredom, stagnation and limited results.
The other way of getting outside help will work if used with caution: imitate or model somebody who has succeeded in doing what you’re looking to achieve.
The reason I say that it should be used with caution is that many people can lose weight very quickly, but put it all back on just as fast. Quick weight loss can be achieved by pills, crash diets, excessive exercise and, of course, liposuction. However they are not long term solutions and their effects on your overall health are questionable at best.
If you want to copy the methods of somebody who has succeeded in losing weight, make sure that they’ve managed to do it on a long-term basis, using healthy nutrition and safe training principles.
So if you find that your New Year’s Resolutions have stalled, or haven’t even started, give yourself a break and use the following methods to achieve success: Get a Goal, Get a Plan, Be Patient and Reward Yourself when you hit the target!