2017 is fast approaching and we all know what that means: New Year’s Resolutions. The most popular one somewhere along the lines of “get in/back in shape.” Considering only about 8% of people actually succeed in following through with their New Year’s Resolutions, there are a lot of people who are out of shape on January 1st who will still be out of shape on December 31, 2017. You are not going to be one of those people. There are two elements to any serious attempt at getting into great shape: exercise habits and diet. Both can be extremely difficult to change and even harder to maintain. Here are some tips to help you stick with it and really make 2017 a year of progress and great health.
- Get a headstart on it. One of the major reasons that New Year’s Resolutions fail is the fact that people treat them like office tasks with start dates and deadlines but unlike in your office, there is no performance management mechanism to keep you on track. You won’t get fired if you only go to the gym 3 days a week when you said you were going to go 4 days a week. This means that you must change the way you view the resolution. You already know what you want it to be, so start now. Plan it out, commit to it, and make it a part of your lifestyle. You can still call it a resolution, but make it a New Life’s Resolution.
- Join a gym that is on your route to work/school and keep a clean gym bag with you at all times. It is a thousand times more difficult to skip the gym when you have to actually confront it on your way home. Choose a gym that you drive past everyday or change your route to take you past one. This has two effects. First, it will force you to actively acknowledge that you are cheating if you ever do try to skip a gym day. Second, it will force you to change up your routine in more ways than just going to the gym. When you are able to really throw your old, unsuccessful, and unhealthy routine out the window and replace it with more than just “go to the gym” it will make working out seem like part of a new life rather than a simple tacked on addition to the old.
- If you have to skip the gym and work out at home, make that home workout SUCK. If you absolutely have to miss the gym and do a replacement workout at home, then so be it. Make it suck. Burpees, Mountain Climbers, 5-minute planks. Any time you skip the gym, the home workout should be pure torture. Why? It will incentivize staying away from those home workouts. Devise a workout that you know will make you hate yourself. Commit to it and do it. The moment you start congratulating yourself for working out at home is the moment you start becoming content with missing the gym. Punish yourself for skipping the gym.
- It can be easy to become discouraged, especially when we’re talking about working out. You bust your butt on a 35 minute workout. Your clothes are sweaty. You’re tired. Your muscles are sore… but your abs are still invisible. A good way to stave off discouragement is to document your progress. Stop focusing so much on what you want the end goal to look like and focus more on how much better you have gotten since last week. Use numbers and set records. You should have a notebook or an app with all of your workout numbers and when you look at it, you should always be trying to match or exceed those numbers. Once that becomes your focus, you will really start to see those gains as a byproduct of your increased effort and output.