New year, new you. Right? While it’s always easy to set New Year’s goals in January, the hard part is actually keeping at them as the months roll by. The majority of goals made in the beginning of the year are fitness related, which we totally support, as fitness is a critical element to overall wellness. How we move, eat, think and tend to our body all play a role, and getting physically fit has so many benefits beyond losing weight and toning up. It’s a great way to release toxins, promote beautiful, glowing skin and is also one of the best stress-relievers around.
Sure, the beginning of the year is a great time to pick up some healthy habits and start down a new path (we want to note that any time is a good time for that). But according to a recent study, 80 percent of people have given up their resolutions by March. Wow! No matter when your workout journey begins, commit to a better you by ensuring that you follow through with your intentions. Let’s lower those statistics in 2019. Here are eight of our favorite strategies for sticking with a new fitness routine.
Ask yourself “why?”
Emotional preparation is often an overlooked component to a goal. A fitness resolution is rarely solely about fitness, so before you even lace up your sneakers dig deep and ask yourself “why” you’re looking to make a change. What’s internally motivating you? Figure out what it is and use that as a driving force to push you through until the end. Then, set some concrete goals so that you can visualize your achievements. Sign up for a half-marathon or establish a new dress size you’d like to fit into, for example, so you can measure your progress.
Do what you enjoy
We’ve all heard the saying “if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”. This applies to getting up to go to they gym just as much as it does getting up to go to your job. Whether it’s hitting the treadmill or eating salad for lunch, you don’t want it to feel forced. If you do, it’s unlikely you’ll stick to it long-term. So find a form of exercise that actually brings you some joy. There are so many options out there! Maybe you enjoy doing it solo rather than in a crowded room. Maybe you enjoy something mellow like yoga rather than high intensity boxing. Once you figure it out, exercise will be something you look forward to instead of dread.
Make it fun
As with anything in life, we should always make it fun. This is especially true if you’re starting a new routine that you’re not totally comfortable with. So don’t be afraid to do anything necessary to make that happen. Perhaps that means investing in some cute workout clothes and gear to spark some motivation and bring a smile to your face. Or perhaps it means inviting a friend to tag along, getting your kids involved or even turning workouts into sweaty date nights. As an added bonus, both having the right equipment and someone else involved will help to hold you more accountable.
Make it work with your schedule
When it comes to fitness, not having the time for it is often the most popular excuse. If you’ve found that driving force that makes you really committed, however, you will make the room in your schedule. Figure out a time that works best for your work, family and social life (because balance is important) and always keep a gym bag in your car for when you’re on the go or need to switch things up last-minute. If possible, consider working out in the morning, as it’s a great way to start the day with energy and inspiration.
Once you figure out what days and time of day works best for you, make a solid plan. Schedule your workouts in advance each week, and put it in your calendar like you would schedule a meeting or appointment. Whether it's handwritten or on your phone or tablet, this will help you feel more obliged to go. You don’t want to be a flake to yourself, do you? While you’re at it, track your progress, too. At the end of each day record your activity, how it made you feel, personal milestones reached, etc. Take notes of any achievements and missteps that you can go back and reflect on.
21 days to make it a habit
Hang tough. They say it takes 21 days to make a habit, and pretty soon you won’t view working out as a chore. Instead it will simply be a regular part of your day that you don’t even think twice about. No, really! It may not be pretty the first week or maybe even month, but just be patient. Everything takes practice. Show up, give the effort and the rest will eventually fall into place. “Good habits are addicting as bad habits, and a lot more rewarding.” –Harvey Mackay
Try new things
Get into the groove of things, but don’t get into a rut. Mixing up your routine will help to ensure that this doesn’t happen. Different types of workouts will not only keep you from getting burnt out, but will also force you to work out different muscle groups. If the elliptical machine is usually your go-to, hop on the stair climber to get your cardio in instead. Or switch up your evening barre class for a Pilates one. And don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone; you never know what you might discover you enjoy.
Finally, remember to celebrate your achievements! It takes weeks and sometimes even months to see real changes, but it’s good to keep patting yourself on the back along the way. Even if it’s losing a single pound, running an extra five minutes, upgrading weight levels or simply making it to through a sweat session when you really didn’t want to. Treat yourself every now and then for those accomplishments. Maybe it’s with a massage to relive those sore muscles or a night out with girlfriends!
At the end of the day, it’s going to take time, effort and dedication. It isn’t going to come easy, but trust us it will be worth it.