The first weeks of 2022 have come and gone, and, with their passing, you might have experienced added stress and pressure to maintain your New Year’s resolutions. Don’t worry, you aren’t alone. New Year’s resolutions are hard for many people to maintain. In fact, studies show that around 80 percent of Americans give up on their New Year’s resolutions by February, but that’s okay! The good news is being healthy and fit doesn’t just have to begin on January 1st and you don’t need very challenging resolutions to feel energized and active.
If we’ve learned anything in the last two years, it’s that we can’t take our health for granted. Making health and fitness goals like New Year’s resolutions is a great way to start building healthier lifestyle choices. While sticking to health and fitness goals can be challenging, there are ways to maximize your success and minimize your stress. Here are some things to consider when making goals that will promote more positive results:
1) Be Intentional
Oftentimes, when we make a new fitness goal we focus on what we want to do and not why we want to do it. Learning the motivation behind your fitness goals will not only push you to succeed but can also determine exactly how you achieve your goal. Say you want to lose 10 pounds. Do you want to lose the weight to fit into a dress? To have more energy? To look good? To be healthier?
Take time to think about the reasons behind the goals you want to set because it could affect what you do to achieve them. Someone who wants more energy might not need a gym to exercise. Instead, they might receive more energy volunteering to walk dogs at their local shelter. If you’re looking to socialize, instead of running on the treadmill at the gym, consider joining a local sports league. Our motivations play a key role in the success of our goals. ¬¬Finding something that gives you passion and drive will help you achieve your goals more readily.
“Listen to what you want to do and set goals for you,” said Certified Personal Trainer Mary Kate Cogan of TPMG Strive Fitness and Sports Performance. Ultimately, your goals should match your desires. Don’t let what others think influence what your fitness plan looks like.
2) Put it in Writing
Writing down your goals has a huge impact on their success. In fact, a psychology professor from Dominican University found that people are 42 percent more likely to achieve their goals if they write them down. Writing down your goals cements their place in your plans. It can also clarify exactly what you want to achieve. Writing down your goals can look different depending on what you prefer. Some people simply write a list of what they’d like to achieve on paper. Others add their goals to a calendar. The act of sitting down and coming up with the specifics of what you want to do is a very important step in determining long-term goals.
3) Create Accountability
We all need encouragement from time to time. Consider finding a friend or a family member who can help keep you accountable for the goals you set. Sometimes a friendly check-in can be the only push we need to see our goals through to completion. Maybe find a buddy who will work out with you in the gym or help you volunteer on the weekends. Better yet, offer to be an accountability partner, that way you can support them while they support you. Sometimes it can feel like we have to accomplish our goals by ourselves, but there are many advantages to asking for help.
4) Be Flexible
The old adage is true: if at first you don’t succeed, try again. The pandemic has shown us that life doesn’t always go as planned, but changing our goals doesn’t necessarily mean we failed. Sometimes the goals we set for ourselves need adjustment. Maybe we find that our schedule won’t allow for all the things we want to achieve or the workout we’d originally planned causes our body more stress than we’d intended. Recognizing we may need to change our goals doesn’t mean we aren’t accomplishing anything. In fact, staying flexible is a great way to ensure you don’t give up on your goals.
5) Keep it Simple
Don’t try to do too much, too soon. When you’re starting an exercise plan, keeping things uncomplicated can minimize feelings of frustration and provide you with the necessary endurance to reach your goals. Setting big goals makes us feel very good in the short term, however, they can be discouraging after a while.
And setting smaller goals doesn’t mean you aren’t succeeding. Everyone wants to feel success when it comes to our fitness goals; however, little victories are just as important as finishing a marathon. Consistently accomplishing small goals creates habits, which are the key to long-term lifestyle changes. Once you develop a healthy habit, it’s difficult to go back. In fact, some studies show that when we perform a familiar habit, we trigger our brain’s reward centers. Keeping up healthy habits turns what used to be work into everyday living.
“We want progress, not perfection,” said Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Athletic Trainer, Tina Keasey of TPMG Strive Fitness and Sports Performance. It’s more important to start where you are than to achieve some huge fitness goal. Set goals you know you can achieve and listen to your body.
Oftentimes setting health and fitness goals is just a matter of learning where to start. If you need help developing an exercise plan or fine-tuning your fitness goals for the New Year, our team of experienced trainers can get you on the right track. Reach out to a Strive trainer today at (757) 345-2512.
About Tina Keasey, ATC/L, CSCS
Tina Keasey, ATC/L, CSCS is a licensed and certified athletic trainer with the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) and the Virginia Board of Medicine. She is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). Throughout her career, she has worked with the 2001 Junior Olympics, 2003 Senior Olympics, several semi-professional soccer and basketball players, as well as NCAA track and field champions. She looks forward to helping clients at TPMG–Strive Fitness and Sports Performance find the right fitness routine to fit their lifestyle, as she believes it is an integral part of living your fullest life.