So many of us start off the New Year with the sincere intention to make fitness a priority — but at some point the inevitable obstacles of life, along with complacency, begin to challenge our steadfastness.
You can protect yourself from falling off the wagon and increase the likelihood of sticking to a fitness regimen if you create the right regimen for you, make a realistic plan and enlist help to stay focused and motivated.
Your ideal fitness regimen
What does that mean to you? What kind of exercise do you love doing — one that feels so good that you will always go back to it? This could be a combination of different things — but it’s not necessarily that new class that your best friend talked you into. Do what you love, and you will be more likely to stick with it. Keep in mind that your favorite exercise may not yield the quickest or most dramatic results, but it will keep you moving. It’s better to do some movement than none at all — so take your quiet evening stroll or your favorite dance class, and it won’t be such a tragedy if you don’t make it to the gym this week.
Plan ahead, realistically
Any new effort takes planning, scheduling, and lifestyle adjustment. The more thought you put into making it work, the more likely you are to succeed over the long term. Want to do that 6am boot camp, but not used to getting up so early? Practice getting up early a few weeks in advance to ease your body in to the new schedule — or maybe just find a workout that fits better with your natural rhythms.
A realistic time frame is also essential. Plan for the long haul if you want to see real lasting results — and don’t expect to lose 10lbs in a month. Once you have a realistic schedule and a long term plan, prepare for other responsibilities and obligations to get in the way once in a while — and be willing to adjust your fitness goals, knowing that your long term effort will pay off.
The best laid fitness plans include someone who will hold you accountable or provide support in holding the vision for your goals. This could be a fitness buddy, or a personal trainer; either way, making a commitment to someone else encourages you to follow through even when you feel like skipping out.
Don’t forget to celebrate your victories, and keep moving! This is a lifelong effort, so don’t expect to stop when you’ve reached your initial fitness goals; set new goals to maintain your fitness level, or maybe even reach new heights — but by all means, have fun doing it!