It may feel a little early to talk about New Year’s resolutions, but it’s actually the perfect time. Too often, we put off starting today for starting tomorrow on our goals and then put a lot of pressure on ourselves to totally transform come January 1. Do you know what statistically the most likely day to start a diet or new workout regimen is? Tomorrow. But, really, the best day to start a new diet or workout is today. It’s tempting to wait around until next week or right after ringing in 2017, but the best way to a healthier, happier you in 2017 is starting in 2016. Here are some tips to taking the pressure off starting on January 1 and keep on the right track for your 2017 fitness goals.
- Be realistic
If your resolution is to be as fit as Flo Jo, you may have a few issues. It may seem odd to reference a 1988 Summer Games Olympian--don’t get us wrong, we love Olympians and the fuel of Olympic-sized workouts, the point is that resolution makers often repeat resolutions every year. One of the biggest reasons for the repeat resolution is that they aren’t realistic, so instead of shooting for an impossible ideal, work within an achievable goal framework.
- One change at a time
That framework should allow you to make one change at a time. Making a major change in your health and fitness requires many little changes along the way. These include a transformation of routines, habits, purchasing different foods, learning different recipes. Work toward changing one thing at a time instead of attempting a total transformation.
- Make SMART goals
Instead of “losing weight” as a goal, use the SMART goal framework
A SMART goal would be something like: “To lose 10 pounds through fitness classes and less sugar in my diet by March 15th”.
- Write down a goal plan
Writing down goals is common advice, but the real secret is to write down your goals and the specific steps you’ll take to achieve those goals. For example, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds through cardio, fitness classes, and less sugar in your diet by March 15th, what are the specifics? What specific fitness classes? What sugary treats are you cutting out? Remember, start simple and don’t get too caught up in the details.
- Seek Out “Winspiration”
Visualizing the end goal will help you through difficult times such as plateauing during your journey to a more fit you. Focus on what you’ll get when you reach your goal or when you “win”. Being able to keep up with your friends or how you’ll feel physically and mentally. Even placing photos or reminders around your house that are “winspiring” will help you remind you of what you’re trying to accomplish and keep you positive.
- Partner up
There’s an old saying: If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together. A good partner can motivate you to get you going, push you harder, and be a cheerleader of your fitness goals. If you need more convincing for partnering up, read more from our #SquadGoals meet #SquatGoals post.
- Track your progress
What gets measured gets managed. Between smartphones that easily track mileage and wearables that track heart rates, it’s never been easier to track progress. Fitness trackers are a fantastic way to track progress and monitor health and you may have given or received one over the holidays. They can help give you a quantifiable assessment of your progress and help with motivation
- Stickk to it
Stickk is an online service that helps users achieve their goals by signing a commitment contract. There are many websites like it, but it’s the most well known. Here’s how it works: You set a goal and then place a bet on yourself (money or your reputation) that you’ll follow through on the goal. A referee, such as a friend, that you designate, checks on your progress and determines if you are achieving your goals. Don’t achieve your goal? You lose the bet. If you put up cold, hard cash that money can go to a friend, charity or even an anti-charity, a charity with views or values that you disagree with. If you decide to put up money, it helps if it is a significant amount.
Stickk works on a principle of loss aversion. Simply put, we hate losing things. With a commitment contract incentive and accountability from a referee, you’re three times more likely of achieving your goals. And you wouldn’t be alone-- $27 million dollars is currently on the line on Stickk’s website.
- Keep going
There will be some slips and missteps along the way. And that’s completely OK. Don’t give up because you had a couple sweets or skipped a workout. Allow for being human, but learn from the setback. Understand why you went for that cookie or why you skipped your run on the treadmill. Acknowledging the issue is the first step and this is where resolution makers usually stop. The second step is adjusting your plan so that you don’t slip the next time. Remove the cookies from the house or plan to workout at home if you can’t make it to the gym.
Starting today takes the pressure off starting on January first. Allow yourself to experiment with your goals. The Alaska Clubs 12 Days of Fitness is a great opportunity to try out your resolution. It twelve days to experiment and discover what works and what doesn’t, help you to see how your resolution impacts your diet, routine, and allow for you to make changes to your goal plan.
To learn more, visit TheAlaskaclub.Com