It’s Time for New Year’s Fitness Resolutions!
In the song “Trip Around the Sun” by Jimmy Buffett and Martina McBride, they sing a line that goes: “yes I’ll make a resolution… that I’ll never make another one”. It’s a cute line. But humans, as creatures of habit, look at each New Year as a fresh chapter in their life; a clean canvas, new brushes and buckets full of fresh paint if you will. And for many of us “getting in shape and/or losing weight” finds its way onto our list of New Year’s resolutions. That’s terrific, and indeed a great first step.
But as we know, the challenge with any resolution – be it at New Year’s or anytime during the year – is our natural resistance to change. We all start with the greatest intentions, but all too often our busy daily lives get in the way, our expected fitness results do not happen as quickly as we had hoped for, or else one finds that working out and losing weight is tougher than expected, and we quickly morph back to where we started. “Change management” is a term commonly used in the business world as it relates to educating and managing the introduction of new processes or software systems to a company; but here too the changing of a person or work force is often the greatest challenge for new projects, and often its demise.
So, with this up-lifting introduction, the obvious question remains: “what can I do to ensure I stick to my New Year’s resolution to “get fit and/or lose weight in 2014”? I certainly do not pretend to be a leading expert in this area, but I can share with you what I believe to be the 3 keys to making this important resolution a success.
1. Find a place that fits your needs and personality
Gyms and Studios come in all shapes and sizes. Make a list of what’s important to you and do your homework here. If group fitness classes are important to you, ask to take a free class or two. The atmosphere and offerings of DK Fitness are considerably different than that of LA Fitness, Lifetime and others, so it is very important you find a great fit.
2. Set a realistic goal
Here is where people often derail; their stated goal is to “lose 30 pounds by summer” or something grand like that. It sounds like a great goal and perfectly doable; game on baby – let’s go. Well, most likely you did not gain those 30 pounds in 6 months, but rather over a considerably longer period of time. Thus, unless you really get after it, odds are the vast majority of us will not succeed in achieving this goal. It’s just too aggressive. My wife and I each lost over 45 pounds, but it took us 3 years to accomplish this. And we still go 4 to 5 times per week to maintain what we have achieved. Weight loss and/or getting in shape is not a destination, but rather a journey. That said, good exercise habits must be formed first.
Personally, I believe a more realistic – and arguably better goal (New Year’s resolution) – would go something like this: “my first goal in 2014 is to go to the studio/gym 2 or 3 times per week for 6 straight months.” There’s a subtle yet important shift with this strategy: you change the goal of being focused of “losing xx pounds by yy date” to simply having a goal of changing and forming new habits over the next 6 months. If you accomplish this very simple and measurable goal, you are well on your way to achieving your long term goals of weight loss and/or getting in better shape.
Remember: as humans we generally do not like change, and going to the studio/gym is often times introducing “change” on a grand scale. You must first clear the invisible hurdle that lies in front of you and change your old habits. As a litmus test: you know you have formed good exercise habits when you truly miss going to the gym/studio after a 2 or 3 day break.
3. Find an exercise partner
As I mentioned above, one must first appreciate and understand the importance of forming good habits, and long-term weight loss and/or getting/staying in shape is a journey. That said, for many of us it is tough to do all of this on your own. But finding a great exercise partner is a game changer. You will push and pull each other along your journey, especially on those days you just want to stay in bed or go home after work. This is especially true when you are new to exercising and are trying to develop good routines and habits. Make this wonderful exercise journey you are about to embark upon as fun as possible – find an exercise partner so that you may share your laughs, challenges and accomplishments together. Odds are you will clear the invisible hurdle I mentioned above much easier too.
Of course there can be numerous other factors to consider, and in my next blog I will focus on the concept of “weight loss” specifically. But I do believe the 3 items highlighted above are highly important to focus on as you begin to jot down your New Year’s resolution relative to fitness – especially if you are just beginning your fitness journey. On that note, I wish you nothing but the very best in 2014, and I hope you achieve all your fitness goals. Reach for them; stretch for them; but never give up.
I look forward to seeing you in a Spinning, Body Pump or Yoga class at DK Fitness soon, and Katie and I would much enjoy being an active part of your fitness journey.
To health and happiness.