A New Year Resolution That Lasts: Change Your Fitness Routine For Good

For the majority of people, the new year signifies a shiny new slate, a chance to make healthier lifestyle choices and smash some personal goals. But before you completely overhaul your diet and book daily sessions with a personal trainer, stop and think for a moment. Have you been stuck in a loop, vowing to “get fitter” year after year to no avail? You’re not the only one. Many of us will find our well-intentioned plans dropping off the map after a couple of weeks, to be picked up again the following year. Not this year. This year we’re breaking the cycle with some effective tips and tricks to make sure our new year resolution lasts. Let’s dive in.


Your New Year Resolution Needs to Be Realistic

The first step to making sure your new year resolution last beyond the month of January is to be realistic when setting your goals. Raising the bar too high at the beginning is a recipe for disappointment. You’re essentially setting yourself up for failure which can be incredibly demoralising.

For instance, your goal might be to run a marathon. However, at the moment you’re struggling to run 2km. Therefore, setting yourself the goal of running a marathon (42km) in a month’s time might be a bit extreme. You are highly unlikely to reach your goal in such a short period of time and disappointment is inevitable. Instead, extend the timeline to give yourself a better chance of succeeding. In addition, if you reach your goal ahead of schedule it’s even more of a confidence boost!


Set Mini-Goals

The best way to make sure your new fitness routine is sustainable is to ease yourself into it. To do this, we suggest breaking down your long-term goals into smaller, short-term goals. This will give you a clear vision of what you need to do to achieve your end goal as each mini-goal will act as a stepping stone. In doing this you will basically form a roadmap for your fitness challenge. Let’s take our future marathon runner as an example. Their roadmap might look like this:

End of month 1: I will be able to run 4km without stopping.
To do this I will need to: run for 30 mins each day, with 2 rest days per week.

End of month 2: I will be able to run 6km without stopping.
To do this I will need to: run for 30 mins each day, with 2 rest days per week.

End of month 3: I will be able to run 8km without stopping.
To do this I will need to: run for 30 mins each day, with 2 rest days per week.

Of course, the above is simply an example to use as a template. Everyone will have their own goals and timelines, and you should be realistic when filling in your roadmap. You should also be flexible with your timeline. Some months you might reach your goals faster than others and that’s okay. Simply adjust your plan as you go along.

If you find that you’re consistently not reaching your goals by the end of each month, try lowering your expectations to avoid disappointment – don’t put too much pressure on yourself! Make your own milestones and don’t forget to celebrate them along the way too. Don’t forget: a step forward, however small, is still a step in the right direction.


Avoiding the “I’ll Start Tomorrow” Phase

If you’re completely new to the world of fitness, joining a new gym can be nerve-wracking. Easing yourself in is key to avoiding the “I’ll start tomorrow” phase. When you’re signing up, why not ask the assistant to show you around. This gives you the opportunity to ask as many questions as you’d like about equipment, lockers, and class timetables. In addition, they will be able to tell you when the gym is busy and when it’s quiet. This might be useful if you’re self-conscious and would like to attend when it’s not too busy.


Work With a Personal Trainer

If you find that you’re still putting your workouts on the long finger, you might benefit from booking a session or two each week with a personal trainer. Most gyms will have personal trainers available to work with you at various times of the day. You should find a time that suits your schedule and book a couple of sessions in advance.

Knowing that you have a time slot booked will make you less likely to skip. In addition, your PT will be able to give you tailored advice for your needs and they’ll help motivate you throughout your workouts. More importantly, they will be able to help you exercise without causing injury.


Share Your New Year Resolution With a Friend

If working with a personal trainer isn’t an option for you, why not share your new year resolutions with a friend, partner, or family member? When you’re on your own, you are more likely to skip a workout session or two. But if you have a schedule with a friend or partner, you’re more likely to stick to the plan. You can hold each other accountable and motivate each other as you go along. Plus, it’s far more fun to go for a run with a friend or visit the gym with someone who will support and cheer you on.

Why not get the whole family involved in your 30-day workout challenge? Whether you have a smartwatch or smartphone, you will be able to keep track of your daily steps. You could start a family group chat where everyone can share a screenshot of their steps for the day. Keep track by creating a leaderboard table on the notes app on your iPhone or using a spreadsheet. You could even come up with a prize for the winner at the end of each month.


The Most Important New Year Resolution: Be Kind to Yourself

Putting yourself under too much pressure is probably one of the main reasons why people don’t keep up their new year resolutions beyond January. Adapting restrictive eating habits and extremely strenuous exercise routines are not sustainable. As we mentioned earlier, easing yourself into a healthier lifestyle is key. Try to be kind to yourself and avoid negative self-talk – as long as you are doing your best that is all that matters.

However, being kind to yourself sometimes means some tough love. Exercising regularly is an important act of self-care as it helps care for our mental and physical health. Therefore, if you find yourself skipping gym sessions, you might need to sit down and rethink how you’re approaching things. You might need to rejig your routine, find a friend to work out with or readjust your goals. Use your January wellness challenge to start your year off on the right foot.

It can be difficult to get into the swing of things but in the long run, it is worth it! Want more tips on boosting your mental wellness? Check out our “Caring for Your Mental Health and Beating the January Blues” blog post.