According to U.S. News, as much as 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail before February. While there are many different types of resolutions, by far the most common is fitness and health-related. The falloff of fitness resolutions could be caused by several factors, such as getting back into old habits after the holidays, winter stress setting in, progress being slower than expected, to name a few. Instead of getting discouraged by that statistic, use the knowledge to fight your own motivation problems. Read on for some tips to keep going well past February and make 2019 the year you finally hit your goals.
Reevaluate Your Goals
Oftentimes we lose motivation, especially motivation to keep up with fitness goals, because of progress, or lack thereof. Sometimes, though, the issue isn’t with your effort, but with the goal. When setting a goal think about the SMART method: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-based. Many times around the new year we get too excited and forget to think about the “attainable” part and set ourselves up for failure before we even begin. Mid-January is the perfect time to reevaluate and readjust mindsets. If you’re not losing weight or gaining muscle as quickly as you were expecting, don’t get discouraged, just be more realistic and accept that it may take a little while longer to reach your goal. That’s not a bad thing! Remember that health and fitness is a life-long journey, not a 6-month task.
Try Free Weights
Once you’ve re-evaluated, and possibly reset, your goals, now think about practical ways to change things up and reach your new goals. For example, if you’re wanting to lose weight try mixing weight lifting in with your cardio. Especially if you’ve only been focusing on machines like the treadmill or elliptical, adding in weight lifting can help boost your metabolism and help you reach your goals faster. If free weights intimidate you feel free to get the form down first on weight machines, or even start with body weight exercises like squats, lunges, or planks.
While you’re already reevaluating your goals, you should also rethink how you’re approaching food. Crash diets and fad detoxes might show quick results, but more often than not you’ll end up gaining all that weight back (and more!) in a short amount of time. Instead of a traditional diet, try following what health experts call “intuitive eating”. With intuitive eating, you don’t necessarily cut certain foods or food groups out, but instead listen to your body for what works best for you. Start by only eating when you’re hungry, and asking yourself if you’re actually hungry (or if you’re instead thirsty or just bored) before you eat. Then start noticing how certain foods make you feel after you consume them. For example, if you feel bloated after drinking milk try cutting back on dairy. Also, cut out overly processed foods and stick to fresh produce and whole grains.
Get New Workout Gear
It’s true that if you look good you feel good, so apply that to your workouts! It’s hard enough sometimes to drag yourself to the gym, let alone if you’re just putting on old, frumpy, baggy clothes beforehand. Use some of that holiday money you haven’t spent yet and take advantage of all the sales still going on! If you look forward to changing into your new gym shoes or cute yoga pants your chances of actually going to the gym or hitting play on your workout streaming service will go up exponentially. You can also use this as motivation or a reward for when clothes start getting baggier as you progress in your health and weight loss journey.
Regularly Track Improvements
It’s widely known that the scale is one of the worst ways to track fitness progress. The number on a scale can vary widely even in the same day, depending on factors such as hormone levels, water retention, stress levels, and even the scale itself. If you are wanting to track your weight you should only weigh yourself once every week or two, and make sure it’s at the same time of day each time. You should also track other changes like measurements, and take pictures regularly (even if you have no desire to ever post them anywhere). Also, keep track of other types of progress like how long you can go on a treadmill or how many stairs you can go up without being winded. Even if the number on the scale isn’t going down there are still other achievements you can reach to keep yourself motivated.
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have before starting a fitness or diet plan.