The biggest mistake people make when creating New Year’s fitness resolutions is setting unrealistic goals. Often the new year fitness goals are set with the intention to do too much too quickly. In my profession, the most common New Year’s fitness resolutions I hear is, “I want to get in shape this year, so I’m going to workout every day starting January.” I’ve been a personal trainer for over 16 years, and I don’t even do that! That is a very unrealistic goal, especially if you haven’t been working out at all. You might be wondering how long do new New Year’s resolutions last? Just check out these New Year’s Resolutions Statistics from 2018.
So what happens when you set unrealistic New Year fitness goals? You force yourself to commit for maybe a few weeks or so and then you fall off the horse. What inevitably happens is you become discouraged and give up. If you have belonged to any gym in January, you’ve been a witness to this. We personal trainers call these people, “The Resolutioners.” These are the people who come in every day in January and then mysteriously disappear by February and are never seen again.
Developing good health habits is just as difficult as getting rid of bad ones. In each case, you will need to start small and build yourself up. My advice for any New Year’s resolution, but particularly with trying to establish a New Year workout plan is start with BABY STEPS!
Here’s how to set some realistic New Year’s fitness resolutions:
Tell yourself the TRUTH! The truth is if you try to do too much too quickly, you WILL BURN OUT!
Create a consciously targeted workout routine that is easy to stick to. That being said, be patient! Don’t try to do too much too quickly, because what could happen is could injure yourself, which will only delay getting in shape even more. I just started with a client whose New Year’s fitness resolution last year was to get back in shape and she did this by doing high intensity workout videos every day for the first two weeks of 2019. Her body was not prepared for so much activity, so she tore the labrum in her right hip. It took her eight months to recover from that injury! It is now December and she is JUST NOW starting to work out again!
It is important to understand that your body needs to be prepared for high intensity activity and also needs rest in order to avoid injury. Prepare your body for the extra strain by starting with working out 2 days/wk the first 2 weeks then 3 days/wk after that, with rest days in between. And look for workout routines for beginners vs. “high intensity” classes to start you off on the right foot!
Another mistake people often make with their New Year exercise plan is wanting to make an entire life change all at once! For example, you’ll say you want to get in shape so you’re going to go to the gym every day, completely cut out all carbs from your diet and stop drinking. Those are 3 HUGE fitness goals all at once! Try keeping that up for more than 2 weeks—I dare you! If you just break those New Year’s fitness resolutions up, you’ll make them more manageable and doable.
Instead of doing them all at once, say for the first two weeks of January you’ll work on making a realistic workout regimen and only work on that. Then from January 15th and for the next two weeks in January, you’ll work on creating a better diet plan. Then the beginning of February you’ll work on only drinking on the weekends—you get the idea. Give yourself small manageable fitness goals that will be easy to concentrate on.
The best way to track your New Year’s fitness resolutions is by keeping a visually engaging accountability chart: a good old-fashioned calendar.
Buy a school calendar and place it somewhere you’ll see it every day! Write in your REALISTIC FITNESS GOALS today for the first 3 months of the year. For example, the first two weeks in January will have “workout” written on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Check off each day as you complete that goal. Then beginning the Sunday on the 3rd week in January you’ll write, “start new diet.” At this point your goal will be to decide what your new diet plan is and try to stick to it for the next 2 weeks.
Of course, you’ll also have the 3 workout days written in in addition to this. I suggest installing one of the many food tracker apps on your phone and just try to be more conscious of your eating habits as a small step in the right direction. Then on week 1 in February you’ll write “cut drinking to…” whatever you decide is appropriate. This could be just drinking on the weekends or, 3 times a week or whatever is, again, realistic.
At this point you will have worked out 3 times a week for 4 weeks, you will have started paying more attention to your eating habits for the last 2 weeks and now you can focus on the next fitness goal. Scheduling and tracking your progress will not only hold you accountable, it’ll help you feel motivated by allowing you to see your success as you go.
Taking small steps ensures your New Year’s fitness resolutions last way beyond the first month of the New Year. However, setting realistic fitness goals and sticking to them is a conscious effort. Be patient and honest with yourself about what will work and you WILL succeed!
Although my blog topics can be very beneficial to your overall health, they are not intended for the purpose of providing medical advice. All content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of published information on or through my website, blog, e-mails, programs and services. However, the information may inadvertently contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. Every effort has been made to present you with the most accurate, up-to-date information, but because the nature of diet, fitness and health research is constantly evolving, we cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of our content.