The beginning of the new year is considered to be one of the busiest times for gym owners and personal trainers. Unfortunately, for most the busy season lasts about one month. By then most of the “resolutioners” have given up or fallen off the wagon. Statistics show that 45% of Americans make resolutions and 8% actually achieve them. I know — it’s a depressing statistic. What’s worse is most of these people are repeat offenders, which means they fail year after year. The biggest mistake someone can make when it comes to resolutions is calling it a resolution. Let me explain.
Someone approaches me on January 1st with interest in personal training. They say, “
My New Year’s resolution is to lose weight — when do I start?”. They want results NOW only because it’s the 1st of January. The real question is, why not 3 months ago? It’s simple, false accountability. People have the notion that the 1st of January miraculously provides them accountability in achieving their goals.
If you have had the same resolution for the past five years, don’t you think it’s time for a new approach? This year make a lifestyle change, not a resolution. Here are five ways you can find success with your New Year’s “lifestyle changes”.
1) Talk to a fitness professional about setting realistic goals for yourself. Committing to a goal can be extremely rewarding, but overcommitting can destroy you. If you have not worked out all year don't commit to 5 days a week — it’s unrealistic. Start with 2 days a week and then increase as your consistency improves. Overcommitting will lead to decreased compliance and eventually discourage you.
2) Don’t change your whole diet overnight. I always remind my clients that moderation is key. Start scaling things back little by little. If you love cookies and stop cold turkey chances are you will end up binging at some point. Don’t deprive yourself of the things you enjoy. Find alternatives. Experimenting with foods might pleasantly surprise you. Here is a hint: try a food alternative that has a similar texture — it goes a long way.
3) Track your progress. Tracking your results is a great way to hold yourself accountable. There are many different applications on Apple and Android to track your progress including Jetfit, Fitstar, and Fitocracy. Tracking small changes, that others might not notice, can be extremely rewarding. Track your body weight, body fat percentage, inches lost, gains in strength etc. Documenting the changes reinforces the fact that becoming fit is an achievable goal.
4) Don’t lose sight of proper progression during your lifestyle changes. One of the main reasons why resolutions fail is because too much is done too soon. You must treat your resolution as a program, not a quick fix. Talk to a fitness professional about progressing your program in a safe way. Lack of proper progression will likely lead to injury and a failed New Year’s “lifestyle change”.
5) Share your success. Post your results on social media. Share progress pictures and document your journey. Friends and family love hearing about your success. You might even motivate someone else to make a New Year’s lifestyle change. Spread health!
This New Year make a resolution to not make resolutions. Make lifestyle changes that last a lifetime. Don’t be another statistic — start your fitness journey today.