With the new year comes new beginnings, new relationships, and new fitness resolutions! OK, maybe some of these are old and recurring new years resolution, but they pop back up all the same.
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Here're the top seven exercise resolutions around (to give you some ideas), and seven ways to help you actually keep your new year's resolution this time.
Fitness resolutions to lose weight are very common, especially in the USA. It's also the one that seems, in my opinion, to be abandoned the earliest - partially as a result of leftover holiday food.
Getting in shape is another common exercise resolution. And while I think it's a good place to start, it's not really that helpful in my opinion - since you can't measure it.
When do you become 'in-shape'? I think it's better to set a specific goal. And, as it happens...
Specific fitness resolutions are becoming more and more common. They might include...
Add 50 lb. to your bench press, become able to do a 1 arm chin up or 100 push ups, lose 50 pounds, run 3 times a week, etc.
I think these are great fitness resolutions! Since they are specific, you have a greater chance of actually achieving them!
This is another one of the common fitness resolutions that's kind of vague. I hear people saying this, and it's usually tied into losing weight.
I think the best way of going about this is either (a) drawing up specific dietary guidelines for yourself, or (b) actually deciding to lose weight. Both of these are more specific and achievable than the kind of amorphous 'eating better'.
This is another one that's common us the US. And a very serious one.
Alcohol is a social lubricant, but I don't need to start elaborating on how it can be abused here. You already know that.
Again, because of my love of specificity I would recommend a resolution such as 'just 2 drinks a week'. That's measurable, and allows some fun as well.
Though if this is a serious issue for you, seek professional help. Alcohol abuse isn't something to take lightly.
Wanting to run a marathon is one of the cooler fitness resolutions, but don't jump into it. That's a really great (meaning: stupid) way to get yourself hurt. Work up to it, and consider running a marathon in maybe three or four months.
Again, an awesome fitness resolution! In addition to being sexy, muscle also burns calories, and the exercise to create that muscle improves your insulin sensitivity - further helping you stay thin and healthy!
But... make it specific!
It's tempting to resolve to lose weight, gain muscle, be kinder to people, sing everyday, take up dancing and kickboxing, and in your free time resolve to work toward world peace. This 'everything' combination rarely works.
I really think that if you actually want to keep your new year’s resolution, choose just one thing to do. And do it.
Set your whole will and heart and sinew behind achieving that one goal. That's 10,000 times more effective than making 17 new years resolutions without really considering them, and then failing at all of them.
If your new year’s resolution is a secret, it's easy to give in to your own weaknesses. If nobody else knows that you're on a diet, then … well … you can eat that delicious looking piece of cheesecake and only you'll know that you're cheating!
So … TELL PEOPLE ABOUT YOUR FITNESS RESOLUTIONS!!!
If you tell other people, then you will be much more likely to stick to your resolution. You don't want other people to think that you're weak, or to admit to others that you've given in, so you probably won't eat crap with other people.
And, other people will check in with you to see how you're doing! If you're sticking with your resolution, then having them check in on you will be motivating. And if you’re not sticking with it, well, those people checking in will give you an added incentive to get back to your fitness resolution!
One of the most important parts of actually getting any resolution accomplished is making a plan. A step-by-step plan, broken down into small, manageable steps, is the way to get stuff done.
Adding 50 pounds to your bench press is pretty difficult. But adding 4 or 5 pounds a month is really doable (50/12)!
With mini-goals that are achievable, you can do the impossible. Like the old saying goes…
How do you move a mountain?
Using a teaspoon.
OK, you've got a mini-goal. Now go out and buy a big calendar. No, bigger - something that's huge and that will take up a good chunk of the wall you put it up on.
Oh yeah, and get a big red marker. When you've done day one of your resolution, make a big red 'X' in January first. A HUGE 'X' THAT EVERYONE CAN SEE!!!
This will visually show you and everybody who visits you the progress that you've been making. And after a few days you won't want to break your winning streak!
"I want to get in shape!"
That's a great goal. But how will you know when you're 'in shape'?
Make all your goals measurable. If you're going for six pack abs, measure and track your body fat percentage. If you're trying to lose a lot of fat, use a scale - or your body fat percentage! (I secretly think that tracking your body composition is the best, for a whole host of reasons!)
If you want to judge how much better you're getting at a sport, take a little time after each class to write down one or two things that you learned. At the end of the month, you'll be able to see how far you've come.
No matter what you're doing, make sure that you can track it. That way you can see that you're moving toward your goal, even if it isn't that visible to other people.
Make your mini-goals time bound. If you want to lose four or five pounds of fat, try doing it in one month.
That timetable for weight loss is very doable. It also keeps you on track if that's just a mini-goal for what you want to get accomplished over the course of a year.
For each mini-goal that you achieve, at the end of the week or month or year - have a reward. And make it something that doesn't conflict with your goal.
For example, if your goal is to lose weight, then reward yourself with a piece of expensive, sexy clothing. If you're trying to add weight to your bench press, have a guys’ night out at a steak house at the end of the month.
A reward, particularly a reward that you can show off to your friends (like clothing, or a night out partying, etc.) will help keep you motivated and moving forward!
If you're serious about any fitness resolution, whether it's fat loss, muscle gain, or getting better at a sport - hire a professional to help you! This will be such a huge help for you, you do not even know.
A professional can help track your progress, make sure you're using the best methods to achieve your goals, and give you encouragement. Or a gentle kick in the rear if you start losing your workout motivation!
Also, the fact that you invest your hard-earned cash will make you more committed to achieving your goal. At that point, you're not only emotionally invested in achieving your goal, but financially invested as well. It's a potent combination.
If you're really serious about achieving a fitness goal this year, considerhiring me to help you achieve your fitness goal(s). I've walked many paths in the fitness world, both to put on muscle and lose fat, and I can help you get where you want to go.
But, please hire me only if you're committed. Together we can achieve amazing results, but you need to make the decision that it's time to change you're body. Are you serious?
Oh, and be sure to sign up for the e-zine Starting Strong to get monthly strength training, exercise, and diet tips e-mailed to you - and access to the free e-book Train Smart, Eat Smart: Exercise Nutrition Hacks!
1. USA.gov: Government Made Easy. "Popular New Years Resolutions". http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/New-Years-Resolutions.shtml.
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