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It’s January again and you’ve made another promise to yourself that this year you are going to adopt a regular workout regimen…and you’re going to stick to it! Well you are not alone. According to a survey conducted in the United States by Statista in December 2018, the No. 1 resolution for 2019 was to exercise more. This explains why parking is at a premium at the gym in January and why there is a waitlist for a spot in your favorite bootcamp or cycling class.
Unfortunately, countless studies also show year after year, that very few people stick to their resolutions for more than a few weeks into the new year.
So how are you going to make this your year to beat the odds and finally meet, and sustain, your workout goals? We’ve come up with a few simple tips to help you along the way.
Do not expect to come charging out of the gate and go from no, or little, exercise to a 2 hour-a-day, 5 days-a-week, workout routine. Even if you do manage to pull it off for a week or two, it will be very difficult to sustain. Instead, start with a schedule that works for you. Pick a time of day where you will not be distracted by work, family, or friends and start with 3-4 days a week. Follow this schedule, as consistently as possible, for the first few weeks. Before you know it, it will feel like a regular part of your day and you may even find yourself adding more days per week.
If you have never been a runner, and do not like running, don’t join a running club with hopes that you will fall in love with it and it will become your main source of exercise. You need to find something you enjoy doing, or at the very least, something you don’t despise. If you enjoy being outdoors, add bike riding, walking, cross-country skiing, or hiking as ways to get moving. Or, if you struggle to come up with a workout that challenges you, hire a personal trainer or join a bootcamp class so you don’t have to think about the workout; instead just show up and burn calories. You are much more likely to stick to it if you enjoy it.
Find an accountability buddy. Not only is it more fun to workout with a friend, but it also helps keep you accountable. If you live near each other, plan to carpool to the gym. Knowing that someone is waiting for you adds another, important layer of accountability. No one wants to be the person who left their friend standing there with their gym shoes in hand! Check in with each other daily and set a plan to keep each other motivated.
Whether you are hitting the gym, attending an exercise class, or simply working out at home, add it directly to your calendar just as you would with an appointment or meeting. By doing this, you are being intentional with your goals and decreasing the risk of running out of time or pushing the workout to another day.
It is important to remember that even if you make it through January and stick to exercising, it is crucial that you continue to set new goals for yourself. For example, if you set a goal to workout three times-a-week, give it a specific timeframe. Instead say, “I’m going to workout three times-a-week for an entire month.” Then come January 31st, set your next goal – and make this one harder!
The key is to layout a specific plan. Decide first what you want to accomplish. Then, come up with a well-thought-out strategy for success. By taking time to design an attainable workout routine, you increase your chances of succeeding.
And remember, if you fall of the wagon, do not call it quits. Review your plan, adjust if necessary, and get back at it.