It’s that time of year again. The new year and you feel ready to embrace a fresh start when it comes to your health and fitness goals. You’ve indulged a little over Christmas, but that’s ok because the time is coming to put things right. So eat that last jam donut and savour that last slice of Christmas cake. Come January those unhealthy habits are no longer, you are going to be a fitter, healthier version of yourself in 2016 no ifs, buts or maybes.
Sure you felt a similar burning ambition at the beginning of 2015 that didn’t last more than a few weeks. But that was last year, and it’s going to be different this time, right?
But then that little voice inside your head starts whispering. What’s changed since last year?
The Sad Truth
In most cases nothing has changed much at all. Come March those same bustling gyms are ghost towns again. The sidewalks are less congested with power walkers than they were in early January. And those of us who have derailed start looking for another event on the calendar to fix on, to start over.
Identifying the Real Problem
If this sounds like you, you are far from alone. The fitness industry is relying on people just like you! In fact, it’s accepted that gyms need more than ten times the members they can support to be successful. For instance did you know that of the people who take out gym memberships in the new year 67% of them never visit the gym more than once? Or that 80% of gym goers who take out membership in January cancel before June?
It’s time to stop this madness. In the following article, we are going to take an honest look at some of the real reasons this happens. We will then investigate how you can break this cycle and become a healthier version of yourself in 2016.
Ready? Let’s take a look a look at some of the main reasons your new year’s health and fitness goals are not working:
New years resolutions are pretty stupid
Harsh words maybe, but hear me out. Why do we need to wait until January 1 to make a change if it matters that much to us?
The fact is you don’t need a particular day. The best, time to make a change is today, this minute, not tomorrow or January 1. If you want to make a lasting change stop putting it off and just start.
You are not as ready as you think you are
Are you mentally prepared? Just because it’s Jan 1 doesn’t mean some incredible source of motivation is going to come. Motivation doesn’t just come from out of nowhere and sustain you throughout the year.
Be honest with yourself, why do you want to get healthier? If it’s only about what your mirror reflects back at you, forget it. It might work for a while, after all, we all want to look good (and those that say they don’t are just lying about it). But it shouldn’t be all you hang your hat upon when it comes to motivation. It’s just not enough; it won’t sustain you. It won’t help you get out of bed on a cold, miserable morning. When you can’t summon the energy for working out.
Instead, find a deeper reason. Find what is going to push you through those difficult days and make sure you tap into it. Motivation isn’t a one-time thing, so stock up as often as required.
A couple of examples? How about, you want to:
- Live longer
- Avoid chronic disease
- Be a better and more active role model for your children
- Have more energy
- Be happier
- Be more productive
- Have more confidence
If you can find real motivation e.g. not something shallow, half the battle is already over.
Going too hard, too early
I admire the attitude, but you might want to hold up there a minute. Firing out of the blocks may feel right to you but in reality, it rarely succeeds.
You’re likely going to train too hard at the beginning. You’re then even more likely to feel sore or have injury problems. After weeks of repeating this cycle, it’s not going to seem worth it to you. You will most likely tell yourself. If I’m training to feel healthier why do I feel terrible? It’s just not worth it.
Instead, try a more measured approach and ease into things. You may not work out to your full capacity in January. But come March you will be going hard when you might have otherwise been on the couch going backwards fast.
Your new year’s resolutions aren’t realistic
You need to be realistic. If you set unrealistic health and fitness goals, you are setting yourself up for failure. It will also rock your confidence which can open up a whole new can of worms. Set smaller, more realistic goals for yourself and celebrate milestones along the way. Invest in your success by making it achievable but not easy.
Some good advice I once received went something like this. Instead of concentrating on the end goal, focus on the journey. For example, I will go to the gym four times per week and eat better every day. Rather than, I will lose 40 pounds and get 10% stronger on my bench press. Think like that, and the results tend to take care of themselves.
New Workout Partners
Good news, your best buddy also feels like undertaking a health and fitness regimen come the new year! It’s going to be great. Two best buds who have decided to make healthier choices together. Pushing each other to new levels of health and fitness. It’s great until it isn’t.
There are some definite pros and cons to having a workout partner. In some instances, they will motivate you. At other times, they are going to let you off the hook, and that is the last thing you need.
When someone else gives us permission to skip training or have that last donut, it’s easier to accept. When you are relying on nobody but yourself it’s a lot tougher to let yourself down.
Work gets in the way
Anyone working a full-time job understands this one.
There you are, going along well. You are happy with the progress you are making with your training and nutrition. And then just as the year starts to take off BAM a big week at the office arrives. This five days of hell comes complete with massive amounts of overtime, poor sleep and eating on the run. And those old habits return.
Well here’s some good news. Missing a training session (or even a week of training sessions) doesn’t mean all’s lost. Nor will neglecting your diet on occasion. One off’s aren’t going to hurt you, in the long run. It’s more important to form good habits and be consistent. Life is going to get in the way now and then, accept it and don’t let it derail you more than necessary.
Summing things up
I hope the tips provided above help you to get back on track for 2016 with your health and fitness goals. In essence, there is nothing wrong with vowing to make a change come January 1. But there’s no need to wait until then either. The best time to commit to change is right now, regardless of the date.