New Year’s Resolutions: Fitness, Your Goals, and Your Health

newyear'sresolutionsfitnessNew Year’s is a magical time of year. As you reflect back over the past twelve months, consider everything you’ve achieved. The biggest letdown though, is that you let yourself go. One extra serving of dessert here, a few beers too many there, and suddenly your are a much bigger person than the one you remember last year. But this is it! From January 1st, you will be a new person – fitter and healthier than ever.

I have some scary news for you. Over a third of all new years resolutions are related to getting fit and losing weight. As you start to see less and less people in the gym in February and March it’s clear that many people haven’t carried through with their goals. To combat this trend, take some time to appreciate what fitness actually means. To get your dose of inspiration, get motivated and get the drive to stick through your fitness resolution, study what it takes to be fit for life.

For any new years resolution, regardless of what it is – you need a plan of attack. Do this right, and you won’t be the one avoiding your gym as February rolls around. You will the one in there enjoying the lack of crowds! Follow these steps to make your resolution a success.

  1. Write down your goals.

In 2014 I will get fit.

  1. Define it.

I will go to the gym three times a week, every week.

  1. Keep it realistic  and don’t expect to be in the gym everyday.

  2. Have a partner you can share the resolution with, help keep each other on track.

  3. Get a professional fitness trainer to develop a program for your fitness goals.

  4. Track your progress and successes, as you see increases in strength and physique.

  5. Once you reach your goal, don’t forget to reward yourself.

As a beginner, there are many options to get you on the path to fitness. You can go running, join a gym, start yoga, take kickboxing classes, learn salsa…it’s endless the choices you have to start a healthy lifestyle. The key to getting fit is only one thing. Consistency. To see any improvement on your health, you need to be exercising at least three times a week, for a minimum of thirty minutes each time.

That’s all it takes. Really.

But to give you a hidden weapon I’ll let you in on two secrets. Humans only have a limited amount of willpower at any given time. Build a list of 50 new years resolutions and I’ll guarantee you don’t make it past January 7th. Instead, prioritise the most critical, the task most important for you and focus on this alone. Once you’ve made it a habit and you’re been consistently exercising three times a week for 3 or 4 months, move onto your second resolution. You will have success this way. The second secret is that getting fit is actually really fun. You have so many choices out there, find an activity you love doing, and make it part of your lifestyle. If the thought of the gym gives you chills, go rowing. If yoga pants aren’t your thing, take a kickboxing class. Make it fun and it will be much easier for you to get the motivation to get active.

Running is a fantastic way to get in shape, and it doesn’t require monthly gym memberships or expensive gear. Grab a pair of running shoes head out the door, you can go anytime that it suits you. If you have difficulty running on day one, start with a brisk walk and build up to jogging before you run. Remember, exercise and getting fit is a continual goal, you can’t change your lifestyle in a day.

Joining a gym is a great way to build muscle, tone stubborn parts of your body or simply spend hours burning fat on a treadmill while you watch hundreds of episodes of Judge Judy. You can benefit from the experiences of trainers who have studied everything you need to know about getting in shape. Start a personal training program so you have a professional keeping you motivated in your first few sessions and you will soon feel like a pro. If you don’t have access to a gym, there is no excuse. Take a course on how to get a full body workout in your own home with no equipment and start your fitness journey today.

Yoga is a fantastic way to get fit, either by taking classes in a studio or following along with a course. With online study geared towards working professionals, you can find sequences that can be completed in only five minutes. Everyone can find five minutes throughout their day. Kickboxing is another great way to get in shape, but requires a little more investment than other methods if you want to set up a punching bag in your home. If you are just starting out, take some lessons first, it will also help you develop strong technique before attempting an extreme kickboxing workout to get in shape in your basement.

My final recommendation is not traditionally considered exercise, but as a firm believer in the benefits of living an active lifestyle, it is a fun way to dance your way into shape. Salsa is quite easy to learn, and in under five hours you can master many of the moves to make you a star on the dancefloor. You will find many clubs to go and practise during the week, once you get into it you will be grooving away for a lot longer than 30 minutes.

Getting fit isn’t meant to be difficult. It does require change, and with change you always have resistance at first. To give yourself the best chance of meeting your fitness goals in 2014, find a physical activity you enjoy, and do it three times a week. That’s all it takes!