New Year’s resolutions usually contain tasks like “eating better” or “getting fit”, but there’s a good reason why few people end up following through on those goals. It can be intimidating to stare down a full year of totally new habits and activities, and even more intimidating to figure out where to start. Getting fit doesn’t have to be a Herculean task, however. By following these tips, you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of where you were a day, a month, and eventually a year ago.
- Start Slow
One big reason why people end up ditching fitness regimens is that they started too intensely, too quickly. If you go from being a couch potato to doing HIIT workouts and Peloton classes every day, you risk getting injured or just burning out and being too exhausted to keep it up. That’s why it’s important to start your fitness journey with the mantra “slow and steady wins the race”.
You’re looking to build habits that are sustainable in the long run, starting with goals that are achievable on a day-to-day basis. For example, you could shoot to start walking for a set time every day. Then, once you’ve sustained that habit for a period of time, you can add in some strength training. You’ll find that stacking habits this way is a lot more realistic than diving in the deep end.
- Find What You Enjoy
What are you more likely to do every day: something you dread and can hardly push yourself to do, or something that you can look forward to and enjoy? The second option is the obvious answer. Now, for some people, working out is fun and something they love. For others, any type of exercise is tough to accomplish. But it’s likely that there’s at least one activity out there that, with the right conditions, you could find yourself looking forward to.
If you’re just starting to exercise or are recovering from a physical ailment like a spinal cord injury, starting with walking or light bike rides could be a great idea. If you need to be distracted from the fact that you’re exercising, a dance workout or martial arts class could be great options. Take some time to explore different activities and find what sticks – it’ll be well worth it in the end when you discover that you can consistently exercise.
- Make Time For Exercise
Just like you schedule doctor’s appointments, haircuts, and work meetings, you should also be scheduling time to exercise. If it’s an afterthought that you try to work in whenever there’s free time, you’ll rarely prioritize it and it’ll get swept under the rug. Try to find a consistent time on specific days of the week when you’ll engage in your preferred form of exercise so that it becomes part of your routine. Remember that, even if you can’t find the time every day, just a few days of exercise during the week is a lot better than nothing.
- Create Achievable Goals
If you’re going into your resolution with the goal that you’re going to lose fifty pounds or grow a six-pack, you’re most likely setting yourself up for disappointment. Even if you do achieve those goals, it would take most people a long, long time to do so, meaning that you’ll likely get discouraged before that day ever arrives. Instead, try breaking up your big goal into smaller, more achievable ones. For example, if your eventual goal is to run a 5K, your small intermediate goal could be running a mile without stopping.
Just crossing off the calendar whenever you exercise and seeing all the Xs at the end of a week or month can be motivating. It can be tough not to dive into the deep end when you’re motivated and excited to get started, but for the average person, starting a fitness journey is about incremental, sustainable habits. Once you start implementing these tips, you’ll find that a life-long love of exercise is just around the corner.