As we near the start of February, talk of New Year’s resolutions is often waning, or perhaps even forgotten. At the beginning of January, many of us are full of gusto, eager to achieve our fitness goals. It’s a new year, which means a new you. You can do anything! Right? So why is it that come mid-January, so many of us find we’re struggling with these resolutions we set ourselves?
If you’re nodding your head as you read this, these next points may help you to work out where you’re going wrong…
1. You aimed for nothing less than perfection
All too often, New Year’s resolutions, as well intentioned as they are, fail as they are either unrealistic, or there’s a lack of commitment and motivation. When making resolutions, it’s crucial to make sure you set a plan in place as to how you will get to where you want to be. The secret to success is pretty simple – always aim for consistency over perfection.
Being perfect all the time is not realistic. Should you slip up one day, that shouldn’t be your cue to quit. If your aim is to lose weight and you give in to your craving one day, this shouldn’t make you think, “Oh well, I ate that chocolate cake, so I might as well have that KFC for dinner too!” Similarly, if you’re starting a new exercise programme and you’re struggling with the workouts, or miss a workout, don’t let that stop you. You will get better with practice. Everyone was a beginner once. Thinking negatively usually means that mentality continues into the next day and beyond, meaning that, in the end you give up because you’re tired of feeling bad about yourself. If you stop beating yourself up over small slip-ups, then you’ll still be able to move forward and reach your goal. Ate a fat-drenched burger? Don’t feel bad. Just make sure you get straight back into your healthy routine. The faster you get back on track, the more consistent you will be at working towards your goal.
2. You expected instant results
Getting the results you want will not, unfortunately, happen overnight. We have to work at them, be patient and prepare for the long-term. Of course, it’s important to challenge yourself so that your goals aren’t easy to attain. But likewise, it’s equally crucial to make sure you don’t set your goals too high, or try to achieve things that are simply out of your limits. Maybe you just bought a treadmill. Something you shouldn’t do, for example, is vow to run for 30 minutes at 11km/h five days a week when you’ve not done much more than run for the bus for the last two years! Instead, ease yourself in. Try a shorter time or, even more effective, use the treadmill for interval training, varying the time between different speeds including power walking, which is still a great cardio workout and will help build up your stamina. Remember, it’s far better to be slow and steady, rather than set off in top gear only to come crashing to a halt.
3. You don’t enjoy what you’re doing
Whether your aim is to lose weight, get stronger, or increase your fitness, it’s so important that your means to your end is a journey you’ll enjoy. There’s no point signing yourself up for a 10K challenge if running bores you to tears, for example. You have to find exercise that suits you. If you find you lose interest quickly, make sure you vary your workouts, or try something like HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). These are short workouts (usually 15-25 minutes max) that alternate high intensity with short rests or low intensity periods, and give the same results as many far longer workouts. As these workouts can be intense, make sure you adapt them to your own level, or seek out beginner HIIT workouts.
Not naturally a fan of healthy eating but your goal is to improve your nutrition? Make healthy living more fun by spicing up a dull diet. Eating healthily does not need to be boring. Online healthy living food gurus have really surged in the last couple of years. Check out Clean Eating Alice, The Hairy Bikers or Deliciously Ella for inspiration. Their recipes are healthy and tasty, so you should find you can ENJOY what you eat, without losing track of your goals.
Hopefully you’ve identified with one or more of the above and can now take steps to a more successful outcome. Remember, if keeping fit and healthy was an easy win, we’d all be winners so don’t be too hard on yourself!