5 New Year's Fitness Resolutions That You Won't Quit
It’s only day four of 2016 and already I've read dozens of stories on how to set and achieve my health and fitness goals this year. (The best approach IMHO? Follow the S.M.A.R.T approach and make your aims specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-related.) Even if you do manage to keep this advice in mind, fitness goals more than any other can tend to be quite lofty. Case in point: I've previously felt that 365 days were more than enough to "finally get a set of abs", until I actually started down that road. (FYI, waving away the bread basket for 52 weeks is one heck of a challenge.) If this rings true for you too, don't give up before you even start. We’ve pulled together five very achievable fitness and health goals that you won’t quit… because you’ll want to chase them. Yep, even after January’s temporary boost of motivation wears off.
Keep scrolling to find out what they are!
It might not be the first time you've attempted to turn drinking water into a habit, but 2016 can be the year you finally nail it. There are tried-and-true ways to trick yourself into drinking more (like using your phone to keep track of consumption), but the biggest secret is to simply make it too easy for yourself not to. For instance, I carry a 500ml bkr bottle ($50) to and from work, sipping H20 on my commute. I can always finish it without trying, and it automatically ticks one whole litre off of my tally for the day. Setting an hourly calendar reminder to jog your memory for the first week can help too.
This one's all about resisting the urge to immediately tap into social media or your emails on rising. Doing so can start off your day in a stressful way since it doesn't allow you time to centre yourself and get organised. Just allowing fifteen minutes to wake up properly (whether that by with meditation, reading or simply making your breakfast) can do wonders for your state of mind for the entire day. If you find it difficult to resist the lure of technology, delete social media apps and your work email from your phone. Tough but effective. Creating a ritual you'll actually want to follow each morning—like brewing a pot of chai or stretching—helps too.
Is this the year you've promised yourself you'll smash it at the gym by attending five classes a week? Or are you determined to only eat packed lunches every single day? Whatever your goal may be, it's important to view it through the lens of consistency and amend accordingly. Chances are there'll be days life gets in the way and you won't manage to fit in three work meetings, a family dinner and the washing, as well as Pilates. Instead of feeling defeated and giving up, creating a goal around consistency means you'll define an aim you'll actually be able to achieve, which breeds self-pride and more motivation.
Following on from the goal above is this one: Learn to listen to your body—it's important for so many reasons! Firstly, committing to fitness goals can take a physical toll on your body (especially if you're not already a gym junkie), and it's important to listen to aches and pains so as to avoid injury. It's easy to overdo it when you're in the throes of renewed motivation, which can actually lead to negative effects like adrenal fatigue. As we know, sleep and rest are crucial for our bodies to renew and recharge (which is what you want if you're trying to slim down or build muscle BTW). So the next time you're exhausted but have scheduled yourself for a 10km run, remember this: it's okay to go for a walk instead.
If you're already in the habit of hitting up the gym a lot but don't spend time focusing on rest, you could be doing yourself a disservice. Exercising intensely too often (a.k.a overtraining) can cause cortisol levels to rise and stay risen. Why does this matter? Elevated cortisol can do everything from prevent restful sleep to encourage your body to burn muscle over fat—so not what you want. To compensate, focus on scheduling one r&r activity like yoga, meditation, a nap or even just an Epsom salt bath, for every hard training session. Bonus: this aim is essentially a promise to yourself to relax—not a bad thing to concentrate on for an entire year, right?