January 1st - it's a new year, a new month, and a fresh start. And this year it's even better because it fell on a Monday...or is it? I would have to choose the latter because unfortunately most of the gyms I frequent were closed for the Holiday, so I was completely unproductive today. And after several hours of Game of Thrones reruns, naps and snacks, my computer glared at me and here I am trying to knock out my one productive thing for today.
Because that's one of my resolutions - do one productive thing every day. I am a fan of taking time to be completely useless. Sometimes you really just need that time. But then I also realize that our time is limited and we should make the most of it. That's another post for another time so let's get back on topic, shall we?
If you're like 90% of the planet, today you are thinking about your goals for 2018. And for 90% of that 90% a health/fitness goal is one of those resolutions. So many years pass and we make a resolution with good intentions only to drop it less than a month in. And then we make a similar resolution the next year, again with good intentions. Etc. Etc.
So how do you make it stick? I don't know that there is a secret or a specific set of steps that will make it happen. All I can give you is what has worked for me and for others that have had success in reaching such goals. So here they are. Take them and do with them what you will.
1. Crawl before you run - "Nope, I'm out. I did bear crawls once and it did not work out for me." No silly, I'm not going to make you do those idiotic bear crawls that Crossfitters think are beneficial. I mean don't do something drastic right out of the gate. Don't cut every single wonderful thing out of your diet on January 1st and expect to be one of those people that swear they don't crave pizza in a week (those people are liars and do not trust them...ever). If soft drinks are your weakness, limit your intake to one less drink per day the first week, two the next, etc until you can cut them out completely. Swap your mayo for light mayo or switch from fried chicken to grilled. Walk 10 minutes a day and slowly increase your time. Drastic measures typically don't work and drastic results are short-lived. Make SMART goals (no literally, Google "SMART goals"....this is your first test at doing your own research). A lofty goal will more than likely not happen. Rather than saying "I want to lose 10 pounds this month" say "I will exercise at least 3 times this week" and go from there. Crawl little fitness babies! We're not ready to run just yet!
2. Find a friend - Push-ups are scary. No matter where you do them, the first few times you do them - they are scary. And if you've never been to a gym - it's scary. Having a friend with you makes scary things less scary. So when you start, bring a friend along that has a similar goal. That way you're not having to face the scary alone and you have someone to hold you accountable. That being said MOST of the time, one friend will quit. Once it's no longer scary, don't let the quitter friend being a quitter cause you to quit. If you're gym date is at 5 and they tell you at 4:30 that they are going to go home and get on the couch, keep that gym date with yourself. That being said if you don't have a friend, make one. This is where joining a group fitness class or hiring a personal trainer comes in handy. Group fitness classes are scary initially but I have never taught or participated in a class where most everyone was not friendly and welcoming to a new person. I have made and seen people make great friendships at the gym so be uncomfortable and embrace the scary. It's way less scary after the first day. And if that still scares you, I can be your friend for a small hourly fee :P
3. Write it down - If you're like me you have some sort of organizer that you use to keep your life in order. I like an old-school book planner, but some people use their phone, computer, notepad, etc. Publish your goal and make a note of things you do to accomplish it. Jot down your workout time and what you did each day. Set an alarm to remind you to pack your gym bag in the morning. Do something that will remind you that this is a real thing and it is important to you.
4. Ask questions & do your research - Magazines lie. Pinterest lies. Infomercials lie. There is no magic pill. There is no quick fix. There is no easy way out. Basically you're going to have to just buckle down and do it. That being said, there are efficient ways and inefficient ways to do things. and there are good resources and not so good resources. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I'm going to just go ahead and say this - You cannot spot reduce. Crunches will not make your stomach smaller. Lifting weights will not make you bulky. And 1200 calories is not a magic number. Now that we've gotten that out of the way, look for reputable resources. Bodybuilding.com is a great one. Check the sources and make sure it's someone with credentials - nutritionist, registered dietician, PhD or reputable certifications (NASM, ACSM, NSCA). The internet is infiltrated with self-proclaimed fitness coaches that paid a 1 time fee, got a kit in the mail and now they sell miracle shakes. Invest your money & energy wisely.
5. Lastly, make it fun! If you hate running - Don't run! If you find yoga boring, don't do it (I was one of these people and now I really like yoga so don't knock it till you try it). Figure out what you find enjoyable and continue to do those things. Any small change will make a difference when you start so start with small bite sized goals and go from there. Walk 10 minutes a day until you can increase your time. If you love to dance, try a Zumba class! Keep trying things until something sticks. Just move & don't quit!
I'm going to keep it short & sweet with just 5 tips. Bite-sized pieces, remember? There's some thing out there that says it takes 21 days to create a habit - make it to January 31st and you've made it 9 days past that! If you have any tips that have worked for you, comment below and share with the class!