By: Stephanie Ruopp
As we move toward the end of January, how are you doing with those New Year’s resolutions?
Have some of them started slipping away? Or maybe they’ve disappeared altogether?
IT’S OKAY. You’re definitely not alone.
Most studies find that around 80% of people have walked away from maintaining New Year’s resolutions by the month of February. And that number climbs as the year moves on.
But don’t let that discourage you! And don’t give up. You don’t have to be a part of that statistic.
Maintaining New Year’s Resolutions Is Easier Than You Think
You just have to be flexible.
No, we’re not talking about being able to bend over and touch your toes. What we ARE talking about is setting realistic goals… and how crucial this is.
Toward the end of the holiday season, and with the approach of the first of January, it’s easy to feel hopeful about all the changes for the better you’ll make in the new year. And this is a great attitude.
The problem is, many of us aren’t thinking clearly in the midst of those weeks of December’s holiday stress. Loaded down with too many commitments and far too much food, we set fitness goals that sound really great. “I’m going to exercise every day in 2019!” or “I will lose 20 pounds by February!”
So when January arrives, the gyms and fitness studios are brimming with starry-eyed folks ready to tackle their new goals. And by February, many of these same folks are no longer inspired. They’re simply burnt out.
So How Do You Get Back on Track?
It’s not quite as simple as “add water and stir.” But it’s also not that difficult either. You just need to shift your thinking.
1. Re-examine Your Goals
Here’s the thing.
Not being able to reach a completely unrealistic goal is NOT a failure. It’s almost a given. So take a look at your goals and determine just how realistic they are.
Truth is, you’re far more likely to reach your goal if you give yourself time to get there. There’s no rush.
Consider what’s workable for you in your current exercise regimen and then let your goal be something that’s just a bit more effort than what you’re already giving.
In other words, if 15 minutes on a specific machine feels like your baseline, then maybe push it up to 17 or 18. If you shoot right up to 30, you’re overcommitting. This is a recipe for burn out and subsequent failure.
2. Continue to Readjust Those Goals
Your body knows when enough is enough. So listen for that internal voice of wisdom. And try to be at peace with where you are.
For instance, back in December, you might have set a goal to take four classes per week. But after two weeks on that schedule, it was clear that you were pushing too hard. So you changed your goal to two times per week. Right now, that’s a challenging, yet manageable number.
Yes, you might be able to up it to three classes by the end of February, then land at the coveted four classes by March. But there’s also a chance you won’t. And if life throws you a curveball and you have to drop back down to two, recognize that you’re still getting the benefits of those two classes.
That certainly beats not doing any classes at all.
Your goal does not have to be set in stone. Nor should it be. Just continue to do what you can and then view anything extra beyond that as a bonus.
If you keep working a bit at a time, there’s a good chance that what was once a bonus will become part of your norm.
3. Be Accountable
Not having someone to whom you can report is one of the biggest reasons that resolutions fail.
Find a “coach” of sorts.
Ask if a friend, co-worker, fitness instructor, etc. would be willing to let you do weekly check-ins with them. Keep them informed of what your goals are for each week and then check in at the end of each week and report your status.
Keep in mind that some weeks you’ll make more progress than others. But by reporting in to some one, you’ll be clearer on which areas are working well and which ones could use some improvement.
Then let your “coach” know what you plan to do in the upcoming week to ensure further progress. For example, if you feel ready to take on some more core work, tell them you’re going to add a little more time to those exercises. If you’re working with fitness instructors, you can even ask them to help guide you on these.
Or maybe you’re feeling that you’re ready to add another class – at least for that week. So let them know.
They will hold you accountable for those actions. And knowing that you have someone else rooting for you is really powerful.
Be Patient and Stick to It
In our society that praises instant gratification, it’s important to remember that maintaining New Year’s resolutions is a process. There is nothing instant about it. It takes TIME. Sometimes a long time.
So be patient with yourself.
And know there might be occasional setbacks. If you can see these as learning experiences rather than excuses to give up, you’ll reach those goals.
Contact us today to see how our highly skilled physical therapists and fitness experts can assist you in reaching your goals this year. We have the experience to determine just what you need and the know-how to keep you motivated throughout the entire year.
You’ve got this!