Every year, millions of people jump on the “get fit” bandwagon as a New Years Resolution. Unfortunately, many of them will fall short before the end of February. Is there a way to keep yourself motivated to stay healthy for longer than two or three months? That depends on how serious you are.
Keeping True to Your New Years Resolution
Focusing on losing weight and exercise is a laudable goal. However, “doing” is much different from “saying.” Like the adage goes, “Actions speak louder than words.”
So, what can you do to succeed at meeting your New Years Resolution goals for health and fitness?
1. Have the Right Mindset
One of the biggest issues many people have when trying to lose weight is getting frustrated with the results. Unfortunately, these people don’t often consider the adjustments the body is actually making.
Don’t worry about the weight too much. In the beginning, you may create more muscle mass than losing fat. This means the scale will be skewed. Muscle weighs more than fat, and this includes creating definition and density from exercise.
Your weight will fluctuate quite a bit day-after-day. This is caused by a myriad of things, and you shouldn’t get discouraged from the results of the scale.
One other point you need to keep in mind is that being healthy isn’t going to be an overnight fix. It’s going to take motivation and determination to succeed. This means you need to prepare to drop bad habits and other activities you may love.
On the other hand, being healthier will open the doors to a plethora of possibilities. A strong body and mind impacts a variety of real-life activities.
The ends certainly justify the means. It all boils down to how you view health and fitness.
2. Be Realistic with Goals
Don’t assume you can drop 20 pounds in a week. Without the help of medical surgeries or meth, it’s not going to happen. I see too many people trying to find the quickest way to “slim” only to fail and give up.
In reality, your goals should change from month-to-month. Instead of trying to reach a certain weight, start doing things to prepare your body.
- Set a Calorie Goal
Using tools like MyFitnessPal, you can track what you eat. Try to keep yourself within weight-loss standards…which varies from person to person. Simply reducing your intake will make an impact.
- Set Personal Records for Exercise
A great way to stay motivated is to strive to beat your personal bests. One of my favorite stories is how I went from doing eight push-ups to 22. I was also pretty jazzed when I made a two-minute plank record.
- Take More Steps Throughout the Week
Using something like a Fitbit, or cheaper alternative, keep track of how many steps you take throughout the week. Then, try to break that record the next.
Instead of trying to put emphasis on how much weight you’ll lose, eat less and be more active.
Being realistic with your goals helps you feel accomplishment and confidence when you achieve something small. Which is better than being disappointed you didn’t lose 10 pounds the first week.
3. Don’t Jump Into Spending Money
Gym memberships, exercise equipment, diet plans and supplements all have some kind of New Years special. It may be tempting to buy into these given you want to lose weight throughout the year.
Unfortunately, thousands of people will find these kinds of purchases to be a waste. Sure, they’ll come out strong for a month or two. But then monotony sets in and they essentially get bored with the process. For those with gym memberships, this could be a monthly cost without result.
The truth is, you don’t need anything fancy to meet personal goals and lose weight. In fact, I lost the first 30 pounds without a single piece of exercise equipment outside a pair of 10 pound dumbbells.
When you come across something you might want to purchase, ask yourself, “Is this going to collect dust in the corner in three months?”
I’m not saying that all purchases are bad. Just be mindful of the long-term before you get into something. I’ve seen too many machines go to waste and many people complain about monthly gym membership fees when they don’t use the service.
4. Gamify the Experience
Gamifying is when you take an activity and make it more fun by modifying its elements. For example, I find it fun to break personal records. This, in turn, keeps me motivated to keep trying…because I enjoy it.
And that’s the key element to meeting your New Years Resolution for fitness. It’s all about liking what you do and enjoying yourself. The moment it starts to feel like a chore is when you start to reconsider your determination to lose weight or be more healthy.
Find ways to make exercise or diets fun. One thing I love is playing the Xbox Kinect. I burn more calories playing tennis on the Xbox than most people do with aerobic exercise. And I have a great time doing it.
The point is you need to find a way to keep yourself engaged for the long haul. Join a bowling team, go for regular nature walks, play the Kinect with the kids and have family “Olympics” in the living room. Anything to keep your mind in the game.
5. Focus More on Physical Attributes than Weight
Don’t put too much effort to “lose weight.” Try to focus more on other attributes which demonstrate weight loss. Too many people center their New Years Resolution around a specific number.
Put it out of your mind, and use something else instead.
Here are a few examples:
- Notice how clothes fit differently.
- Measure the width of your arms, waist, chest and legs.
- Take regular pictures of yourself in the mirror so you can compare.
- Pay attention to how you feel after certain physical activities.
This is another reason I like to break personal records. When I surpass my physical abilities, it demonstrates to myself that I am improving my body regardless what the scale says.
Don’t get me wrong, the scale is helpful over the long-term. However, don’t center your whole experience on a digital display of numbers.
6. Don’t Be Overly Hard On Yourself
I’ve seen people get downright depressed if they fall off the diet wagon for the day. In the long run, a cupcake isn’t going to throw your body into disarray.
In the past, there have been plenty of days when I put myself into the red when counting calories. Don’t be discouraged and simply do better the next day.
Take each day on as it comes and don’t fret what happened yesterday. No one is expecting you to be perfect, and you shouldn’t as well. It’s OK to be bad once in a while, as long as you learn from the experience.
The only time you truly fail is when you don’t learn and give up. Otherwise, you’re technically educating yourself on things not to do.
Free Tools I Use to Lose Weight
Before you start spending money on exercise equipment or gym memberships for your New Years Resolution, consider the tools I use. These are things I started with that made a huge impact on my weight loss practices.
MyFitnessPal is one of my favorite apps. I started using it from my computer and then added the app to my smartphone. You can set calorie goals, monitor your food intake and record your exercises. The free version is incredibly useful.
Exercise.com lost a lot of luster for me after they created the mobile-friendly version of the website. However, I still use it today to keep track of my personal exercise records. I can also see how I compare against others who use the website.
I don’t use Runkeeper as much as I used to since I bought a Fitbit, but I still turn it on when going for long walks. This app keeps my walking records, my routes and can be used from a web browser easily. Using GPS, you can record most forms of physical travel.
Be True to Your New Years Resolution
Don’t just say you’re going to lose weight this year. Have a plan for the long-term and find ways to keep yourself engaged for the next 12 months. And pay attention to what you’re spending money on. The last thing you want to do is pay $45 per month for a gym membership you won’t use later on.