How many times have you set a New Year’s resolution that involved your fitness and your health? If you’re a female, there’s a good chance it’s probably a yearly thing. And yet, if that was all there was to it, if that’s all it took, setting that resolution once would be enough, right? Right. Instead, somewhere between January and January 12 months later, those best of intentions get lost along the way. If you’re ready to make this year stick, make this year’s goals more than just goals and instead, realities, you’re going to have to work. Work really hard. That’s all there is to it. Going to a gym is only so fun for so long. Dieting pays off and then plateaus and leads to frustration. That’s just life and reality. But! Sticking with the gym, even when it isn’t fun, and sticking with the diet to push past the plateau, in spite of the frustration, that’s what gets real results. If you’re looking for more this year, here are some tips to stay healthy and fit and avoid the February burn out.
Sign up for a Challenge
To really get yourself on track first thing in the new year, consider signing up for some sort of challenge. Gyms across the US are hosting these, and if you don’t want to pay to sign up for one, gather all your friends together and start your own! Typically there’s a variety of options, some involving a weight loss/fat loss result, an eating plan to stick to for so many days, a fitness regimen to hold to, etc. Pick what you’re most interested in, whether it be exercising every day, losing weight or even just toning up. You’re at your most motivated right now, and taking that motivation and harnessing it to pump you through a solid 30 days will go a long ways into breaking cravings and instilling good habits that can carry you through the year.
Get Involved with a Core Group
Working out with a small, core group of people/friends can help sustain you over a year. If no one knows or cares whether or not you showed up to workout today, you have no accountability and will find yourself coming up with excuses more easily and readily as time goes on. Get to know 4 or 5 women who can work out at the same time with you every day and are of similar fitness levels. You can compete against each other this way (always leads to a better workout) and push each other to reach further and go one more step every day.
Find Something you Enjoy
The gym isn’t for everyone. Spin class isn’t for everyone. Hiking isn’t for everyone. You’ve got to find something that you enjoy or you’ll quickly burn out. Whether it be swimming, tennis, team sports, group classes, dance classes, jogging, etc., find an activity that requires energy spent and make that your fitness routine! Mix it up with other activities you enjoy as well so that you have variety and keep yourself entertained. Look into popular fitness classes like Zumba if you like to dance, Crossfit if you want some weight building to go along with fast bursts of cardio, yoga if you want to build up flexibility and core stability. Do some research, there’s bound to be something out there that will keep you fit and that you enjoy.
Plan it In
If your workouts are in any way an “extra” you’ll “try” to get in for the day, chances are very good that they won’t happen. Unfortunately, there are only so many hours in a day, generally not enough, and when it comes to prioritizing, if your workouts aren’t scheduled in like everything else that you wouldn’t consider optional, they’ll likely be the first to go. Pencil them in your day planner like you would a doctor’s appointment, a meeting with a client or your long-anticipated hair appointment. If you have the time blocked out and know that you’ve found a way to get everything else planned into the day around it, you’ll feel better about going and getting your time in, knowing that everything else is taken care of. You might even find yourself relishing your workout time as just “you” time.
Build in Rewards
In addition to feeling fitter, having more energy and sliding into those skinny jeans, sometimes it helps to have tangible rewards. Starting at the beginning of the year, plan out an entire year’s worth of rewards. Yep! Here’s the catch, they’ve got to start small and get grander and they have to be really good towards the end. This will keep you focused and motivated even when you want nothing more than to take a break. Knowing if you make it to the end of the month (x) happens. Make it to the end of March, (xy) happens, make it through August and (xyz) happens, etc. Knowing what the reward is, knowing the deadline to get to it, and knowing that if you can make it an entire year, you’ll treat yourself to something amazing can sometimes be all the incentive you need.
You Can do Anything!
Remember that the longer you do something, the more of a habit it becomes and the easier it is to do it. So, even when it’s the last thing you want to do, do it! Next time you don’t want to do it, it’ll be that much easier! You’ll always feel better after a workout, that’s one of the best parts. And, let yourself realize that life happens. Things get in the way. If you get off track, don’t worry. Just get back on as soon as you can and use the break to give you incentive to work twice as hard. There’s no failing as long as you’re trying, so just keep trying! You will feel better, you will be fitter, and you will be benefiting your health in more ways than you can count, even if you can’t see any difference. Improved immune system, a longer life, less heart problems, these are just a few of the countless ways your body will thank you for treating it to regular fitness and healthy eating!
About the Author
Writer Jocelyn Anne writes full time for Air & Water and reaches out to guest blog on fitness and healthy eating every chance she gets. She currently does Crossfit and eats a Paleo diet, both of which she loves and looks forward to every day!