I’m not really one for New Year’s resolutions, goals, or inspirational words. But there is something about the start of a new year that always gets me thinking about how I want the next 12 months to look. Last year was the first time that I actually set a few goals for myself. Most fizzled out quickly. But one of them didn’t.
My second child had just turned one and I had recently stopped nursing him. I knew that if I didn’t start improving my nutrition and getting some exercise, I would slowly put on weight as my metabolism slowed to snail-like speeds. Plus, I was craving more physical activity than chasing after two kids provided. So, I decided I would make myself a priority for one hour, Monday through Friday, and joined the gym my friend kept raving about. I didn’t have any expectations how it would all go or how long I’d be able to keep it up, but one year later, and few missed days, I can honestly say that that one hour in the early morning is often the best part of my day! I miss it when I’m not there and can’t imagine ever giving it up.
One of the most common resolutions or goals people make year after year is to start a workout regimen. But did you know that between 80-92% of all New Year’s resolutions fail?
When I heard that statistic I wondered how I was able to succeed when so many are not. I mean, I’m no one special, as much as I’d like to think I am! After a little reflection, I came up with six tips to help others succeed with the New Year’s resolution of becoming more active and getting physically fit.
(If that wasn’t your resolution, don’t worry–most of these tips can be applied to any resolution or goal!)
1. Know your WHY or what motivates you.
As 2017 was coming to a close, or right as the new year was beginning, what was it that made you decide this was the year you’d finally start working out and being a healthier you? Did you want to do it for your kids? Do you have pre-existing medical conditions that could be improved by exercising on a regular basis? Whatever it might be, find your WHY and hold onto that as the year goes on. When you start feeling like you want to quit, remember the reason why you got started in the first place.
2. Enlist a workout buddy.
Do you have a friend who has similar goals as you? Ask them to join a gym with you, go running together, or meet up in the evening to work out at home. Having a buddy that expects to see you at a certain time for a jog will make it much easier to show up each day to get your workout in. If you join a gym on your own and see the same people every time you’re there, chat them up and ask them to be your accountability partner. Chances are good they’re also looking for the same thing!
3. Tell someone.
If enlisting a workout buddy isn’t in the cards for you, for whatever reason, at least tell someone about what you’re doing. One of the hardest parts of keeping any resolution is not being accountable to anyone. You don’t have to shout it from the rooftops if you don’t want to, but find at least one person you’re comfortable telling, and ask them to help keep you accountable. Give them permission to ask you how your workouts are going and to give you a little push if you’re struggling to keep going.
4. Get into a routine.
The most common response people have when I tell them I get up and work out early in the morning is, “Oh wow! I don’t know how you do it! I don’t think I could do that, especially not that early in the morning!” For me, it’s all about getting into a routine. Because it’s the very first thing I do in the morning, it’s harder for things to pop up and get in the way of going to the gym.
Once working out becomes part of your routine, it will be easier to make it happen every day. Find a time that works best for you and commit to it! If you’re like me and either prefer working out early in the morning, or that’s just the only time that works for you, I’ve found going to bed and waking up at the same time each day helps tremendously.
5. Allow yourself some grace.
We all come up against things in our lives that can prevent us from completing our workout for the day. Maybe you have the mother of all colds. Maybe something unavoidable pops up, keeping you from getting to the gym. Allow yourself a little bit of grace when life does happen. It’s okay to miss a workout here and there without failing completely! Call on that workout buddy or accountability partner to help you get right back into the swing of things as soon as you can.
6. Have fun.
The most important thing, and what will improve your chances of keeping your resolution and reaching your goals, is to make sure you’re having fun! If you dread your workout every day, you aren’t going to want to do it. Maybe that means mixing things up a bit. For example, if you’re a runner, join a running group/club or start one yourself. If you’re a gym goer, switch up your gym or join a gym that has instructor led classes. If you work out at home, switch up your music selection or invest in some new videos. Whatever you do, have fun doing it!
I’m not an expert. I’m just a mom like you who had a goal of getting in shape. But I bet if you keep these six things in mind as you move out of the honeymoon phase of your New Year’s resolution, you’ll have a better chance of succeeding!