Fuel Your New Year's Resolutions
If you’re reading this, odds are that you made a fitness-related resolution for 2018. And if you’ve stepped into a gym in the past week, you might have noticed that you are not the only one. The Washington Post reported that some gyms see 40% more traffic in January. I affectionately refer to the invading masses of January gym newbies as "resolutioners" -- I like to welcome them into classes, show them how to work my gym’s automatic combination locks, and drop encouraging one-liners on them, like "it's really fun once your butt gets used to the saddle." Still, most of them disappear from the gym and the lines at Sweetgreen by Groundhog Day. According to US News, roughly 80% of fitness-related new year’s resolutions suffer a cold death by early-February. This situation is not unique to the new year's resolution; individuals make fitness resolutions in preparation for events or milestones and sometimes as a way to "get back on track" after an event, a vacation, or a life experience. Regardless of what triggers the resolution itself, most fitness resolutions fade or fizzle somewhere between snooze buttons, big projects at work, and rounds of drinks.
The solution to this problem isn’t to avoid making resolutions, to punish yourself or wallow in disappointment after any deviations from your plan, nor to tear up your list of resolutions and pretend that you resolved to get the most out of your Netflix subscription this year. Here are some ways to stay committed:
Keep It Reasonable. Give yourself a goal that is within reach given where you are right now and your current lifestyle. We can’t all quit our jobs, hire personal chefs, and work out with celebrity trainers. If your resolution is overly aggressive (e.g., trying three new classes each week while training for your first triathlon), impractical (e.g., losing 50 pounds by Easter), or simply unhealthy (e.g., two-a-day workouts each day of the week), you're setting yourself up for burnout or injury. Think about your lifestyle and your obligations and the sacrifices you are willing to make. Do some research into healthy weight loss or athletic training programs. What’s going to work for you? Your resolution is more likely to stick if it makes sense for who you are now and who you are willing to be while working toward your goal.
Make a Plan. Without a plan, you might find yourself spending your free time wondering how to meet your goal without ever taking action. If you make a resolution, make a plan to help you stay committed to it. A resolution to “get in shape” is empty without a structured but sustainable diet and training program, planned variation to maintain your interest, and short-term, measurable goals. It’s not too late to sketch out a plan to accomplish your 2018 resolution. Consider consulting with a nutritionist, personal trainer, or other fitness professional to guide you (and your doctor if you have any medical conditions). Paying in advance for a gym membership, classes, or training sessions, or picking up new workout clothes or gear might help get you moving each day. Use your smartphone’s calendar, alarms, and reminders to schedule your workouts, grocery shopping, and meal preparation. But don’t forget that you are still allowed to have fun. Parties, brunches, and vacations aren’t reasons to give up on your goals and might actually help you stay motivated before and after; just plan around them and enjoy!
Be Flexible. Does your resolution allow for slip-ups and breaks and include backup plans? Or does it demand constant performance and require more sacrifices than you can sustain? If you’ve been eating well, a missed workout won’t be the end of the world. Slip-ups and breaks are part of life and should be part of your resolution planning; just make sure you've figured out in advance how you will deal with them to keep yourself on track, motivated, and moving forward. If part of your initial plan isn’t working, revisit the plan and make the change that makes it workable.
Make It Social. At groupie, we believe that adding a social component to your fitness resolution (ahem, like our brand new iPhone app!) will make your workouts more fun, hold you accountable, and motivate you to work harder and keep going. Sharing your fitness journey with others generates support and cheers from family, friends, and even acquaintances. Most of us get a bit shy about oversharing when it comes to our fitness goals, how frequently or infrequently we work out, the intensity or sluggishness of our workouts, and our progress and setbacks. But social media has given us an easy way to share information with a big audience and get instant gratification through “likes” and comments. That feedback can lead to discovery of common interests with old friends, new workout buddies, and building a community that supports your fitness goals and enhances your fitness lifestyle. Try it out – you’ll be sweating your way into a healthier version of yourself, maybe even with a few new friends along for the ride.
On behalf of the groupie team, I wish you the best of luck in accomplishing all of your fitness goals for 2018.