The New Year is here, and with it comes a fresh sense of optimism, motivation and desire to improve on the year before. It is a brilliant time, there have hopefully been holidays, a time to relax and give yourself the opportunity to step-back, take stock and make some plans for the year ahead. The unfortunate reality of things is that sooner rather than later, work will resume and more often than not the old routines will kick in. Before you know it you will be back on the same path as you were last year, with the fresh resolutions falling by the way side. Below are 5 simple steps to ensuring that 2017 is the year that the health and fitness resolutions finally stick.
Step 1: Understand your ‘why’
This is the key to long term and sustainable lifestyle change. It is all well and good to set a goal, or say that you want to do something, but unless you really are honest with yourself about WHY it is you want to achieve this particular goal, then it is hard to continually maintain motivation towards it.
Currently 65% of the adult Australian population is overweight or obese, so for arguments sake, let us say that almost ⅔ of all New Year resolutions involve a weight loss goal. That is a lot of people saying ‘I want to lose weight this year’. What I can tell you though, is even with similar goals, deep down, everyone will have a different ‘why’. Figuring out that ‘why’ is crucial for the ongoing change required to not only achieve the goal, but ensure that there are no steps back once it has been achieved.
How do we figure out our ‘why’? This is about being really honest with yourself. Deep down everyone knows why they want to achieve any particular goal, it is just about recognizing the true reason. Is it so that you can keep up with your kids? Are you getting married? Do you want to challenge yourself in a new way? Fitting back in to clothes? To gain more confidence and be happier?
Tapping into the inner motivation and recognizing it will ensure that when the urge to slip back in to old habits arrives, you will be able to push forward and not look back.
Step 2: Be realistic
It is very easy to get caught up in positive emotions of the New Year and set some awesome goals and resolutions.
“2017 is going to be my year, I am going to save money, travel, run a marathon, get a promotion, eat perfect every day of the year, lose 20kgs and reduce alcohol!!!” Does at least part of this sound familiar?
This is a very common type of New Year resolutions. Setting goals is fantastic, and I firmly believe that they need to be set in multiple areas of life in order to stay fulfilled. They also need to be realistic. Setting an unrealistic goal puts an incredibly high amount of pressure on you from the outset.
Once you have been honest with your ‘why’, it is very important to be realistic with the amount of time that it will take to achieve it, and this is especially true when it comes to weight loss. Something important to recognize with weight loss, is that drastic and quick change very rarely leads to a sustained lifestyle change. Gradual weight loss is much more sustainable and it allows for healthy lifestyle habits to be created.
Why is this?
My experience over the years has shown me that drastic weight loss is usually accompanied with drastic nutritional changes (crash dieting) and a massive increase in exercise. Crash dieting is not only starving your body of what it needs to survive on a daily basis, but it is also not giving you the required education about what a proper healthy nutritional plan should look and feel like. A massive increase in exercise is also something that you cannot keep up. Sure, you might be able to do 10 hours a week for a month, but what happens when work, kids, life, tiredness and a drop in the motivation levels occurs? The exercise goes down. Ask yourself if you can see this weekly amount of exercise being done every week for the rest of the year, if the answer is no, then reduce it.
Would you rather take twice as long to achieve a goal, but keep it for the rest of your life, or continue the rollercoaster ride for another year?
Step 3: Nothing worthwhile ever comes easy
Unless you win the lotto, very rarely does something truly worthwhile ever come easy. You have to work for it, and more often than not you have to work pretty damn hard as well. If you have been honest with your ‘why’ and been realistic with the amount of time that it will take to achieve it, then it is just about being consistent with your efforts.
If you are consistently consistent, you will achieve the goal every single time. Will there be a few missteps? Absolutely. Will there be weeks where you don’t see a change? Without doubt. If you keep your head down, and keep working week in, week out, you will get there. All it takes is a bit of hard work!
Step 4: Embrace the change
Ok so far you have;
- Set a goal and been really honest with yourself as to your ‘why’
- Set a realistic timeframe for the goal to be achieved
- Understood, and started to put in the hard work required to achieve
Awesome! We are well on our way to ensuring that this years health and fitness resolution is the year that it finally sticks. There is one thing that can (and will) derail this whole process however. Not embracing the new change. Unless you embrace the changes required in order to achieve a long-lasting result, you will continually run the risk of falling back in to old habits.
It is really important to also understand that other areas of your life do not have to be sacrificed in order to achieve your health and fitness goals. Too many people believe that in order to lose weight/get fit, they have to cut down their social life, stop going out for dinner, say no to everything and eat only perfectly prepared food until they achieve their goal. This is not good! Remember, it is about being consistently consistent. Go out, see your friends, enjoy your life, but do it in such a way that allows for the right nutritional decisions to be made, and with the understanding that you are consciously trying to achieve a new goal this year.
Embrace the change required in order to achieve your goal. Incorporate it in to your life, not around your life or instead of your life. If it becomes a part of your life, then you will achieve it every time.
Step 5: It does not have to be a solo journey
Building in layers of accountability is crucial for success. Tell the important people in your life what you are planning on achieving this year, chances are there will be someone in your circle that wants to make health and fitness changes as well, but at the very least, let the people around you know so they can keep you accountable. The more people you have in your corner to help you through challenging situations, pick you up when you are struggling, get you out of bed on a cold morning, the better. Allowing people to support you also means that you have more than just yourself to rely on, and in turn let down. Accountability is a wonderful thing!
If you are unsure as to how to go about achieving your desired goal, ask for help. Ask someone for advice, talk to a Personal Trainer, go online, educate yourself. This is very important, because it will set you up with the knowledge and tools required in order to make the changes required. Investing in your health is the single best thing that you can do, and even 4 weeks with a Personal Trainer can make the world of difference. Personal Trainers have dedicated their lives’ to helping people achieve their health and fitness goals, and finding someone who is passionate and able to help you get there gives you an immediate head start.
The above 5 steps will not guarantee success, but what I can guarantee is that if you put them all in to practice and stay consistent you will have a much higher chance of achieving them than if you don’t. Good luck and have a wonderful start to 2017! Make sure that this is the year that your New Year resolutions finally stick.
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