New Year fitness regime: How to stick to your goals
Struggling to stick to your new year’s fitess regime? We asked three fitness experts their top tricks to make sticking to your gym routine a breeze.
Abigail Roberts, sports nutritionist at Bulk.com
Set SMART goals:
The vaguer your fitness goals, the less likely you are to commit to them long-term. Structure your fitness goals so that they are SMART; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.
This means allocating certain times of the week to training and knowing which exercises you want to complete in any given workout. Be realistic about what you can achieve and fit into your schedule. Committing to the gym once a week for a year is much more effective than going every day for one month and then stopping completely.
Write down your fitness goal, then break it down into smaller goals, and list all the required actions to achieve those goals. Really scaling it back and thinking about what daily habits you need to implement to achieve and maintain your desired outcome, is often the secret to success. It’s the difference between planning progress and making progress.”
Change one thing at a time:
Try not to take on too much at once or completely overhaul your current diet and lifestyle. Instead of committing to eating cleanly, getting more sleep, and exercising more frequently, focus on improving just one aspect of your health.
Once you have committed to exercising regularly and this has become habitual, you can then focus on improving other aspects of your health. In fact, you may find yourself naturally gravitating towards healthier food choices once regular exercise forms part of your identity.
Stacking your goals:
Combining exercise with something you are already planning to do, is a great way to sneak exercise into an otherwise busy schedule. Rather than taking a short car or bus journey, consider whether you could have walked or cycled there instead.
If you need to make calls to friends or family, see if you can do this while out on a walk or try watching a new series while running on the treadmill.
Do more of what you enjoy:
Don’t constrain your image of fitness to the gym. The new year can be a time for reflection, so consider picking back up activities that you used to enjoy. If you used to love playing football, consider getting together with friends to play each week or incorporate it into quality playtime with your children. If you can structure exercise to feel organic and less like a chore, you are more likely to stick with it long term.
Find an accountability partner or group:
Buddying up with a friend can make the gym seem much less daunting if you are a complete beginner or it’s been a while since you picked up a weight. Going with a partner also means added external motivation on the days when you really don’t feel like exercising.
Many gyms will also offer beginner classes, where you will be joining other less experienced gymgoers who will be in a similar position to yourself. This can be less intimidating and can lower the barrier to entry for attending the gym.
Don’t fall victim to toxic diet and fitness culture:
Avoid any advice that recommends cutting out certain food groups, post-Christmas detoxes, and signing up for unrealistic fitness challenges. You choose what goals you want to work towards, and you engineer your actions and daily habits in a way that suits your personal needs and schedule.
Jeremiah Daniel, co-founder of adventure company Moonlight Reviews
Find a workout buddy or accountability partner. Having someone to exercise with can not only make your workouts more enjoyable, but it can also provide added motivation and accountability. After all, it’s much harder to hit snooze on your morning jog when you know someone is counting on you to show up.
Make your workouts enjoyable. If you dread your workouts, it’s only a matter of time before you fall off the wagon. So find activities that you genuinely enjoy, whether it’s hiking, dancing, or lifting weights. By choosing workouts that you look forward to, you’ll be more likely to stick to your fitness routine.
Keep it real:
Don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s important to have realistic expectations and to remember that progress takes time. If you have a setback or miss a workout, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just focus on getting back on track and moving forward.
Adam Foster, director at The Fibro Guy
Always be tracking:
Track your progress regularly, using a fitness tracker or app. Seeing your progress can be a great source of motivation to keep going.
Go easy on yourself:
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you have an off day or miss a workout. Instead, focus on getting back on track and staying consistent over the long term.
Every day, give yourself a present:
Set rewards for yourself when you reach milestones or goals. This can be a great way to motivate yourself and celebrate your progress.
Plan, plan, plan:
Don’t rely on willpower alone. Make it easier to stick to your fitness routine by planning your workouts in advance and setting up reminders.
You do you:
Don’t compare yourself to others. Focus on your own progress and don’t worry about what others are doing.