This year is going to be the year. Seriously.
That’s what we all tell ourselves. We’re finally going to get into gear and build our dream body. We’re going to lose 30 pounds, get a six pack, run a marathon, etc etc.
Yet when the new year’s high wears off, many of us give up on these dreams, leaving them to die until the next round of new year’s resolutions come along.
You’re not alone. Approximately 80% of new year’s resolutions are abandoned within two months. We’re just not wired to make big changes. We’re wired to slip back into what’s comfortable, what we’ve always done.
But it’s not a lost cause. You can make monumental changes. It just takes deliberate effort, and consistency.
Keep reading to learn how you can make sure this year is actually your year, and build a fitness habit that lasts beyond just January.
Huge, ambitious goals are fine. We’ve all heard the saying “shoot for the Moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
A lot of people have this mindset with fitness. You want to go from not working out at all, to having a chiseled body and running marathons.
The problem is, this makes it easy to get discouraged. You’re at the bottom of the mountain, looking up at the massive climb in front of you.
Real progress isn’t made all at once, it’s made in small, incremental steps. Consistency, and making a 1% increase each day, wins over trying to make big leaps.
You’re going to have far more success if you set very small goals that are easy to stick to. For example, instead of telling yourself you’ll run 5 miles every day, set a goal to simply run for 10 minutes. This is easier to stick to, and you can slowly ramp up once you build the habit of doing this consistently.
Find an Accountability Partner
It’s easy to give up on yourself. It’s much harder to make that decision when someone else is counting on you, or is invested in your progress.
Find someone close to you, such as a friend, partner or family member, and set a fitness goal together. You could share progress with each other or work out together, and help each other stay on track.
This will help on those days where you want to say no, and skip your workout. If you’ve got someone waiting for you at the gym, it’s a lot harder to bail than if you’re doing it alone.
Pick a Fitness Activity You Actually Enjoy
There are a million opinions on the most effective fitness activities. You burn more calories doing this, build muscle faster doing that.
But none of this matters if you hate doing it, and can’t stay motivated to consistently work out.
Don’t think about what you should do to get fit, and think about what you enjoy doing. Maybe you hate running, but enjoy a bike ride around your city.
You might dread the idea of monotonous gym workouts. But starting a sport, or a martial art like BJJ, might do a better job keeping you excited and engaged.
It’s less important what you do to get fit, and more important that you actually get out there and move your body.
Focus on Nutrition
Nutrition is a vital part of getting in shape. Starting a consistent workout habit is great, but if you eat poorly, you’ll never get the best results.
What’s more, eating right will help you maintain your workout habit in the first place. Good nutrition leads to higher energy levels, better sleep and better focus, all of which help you feel better, and put you in the right state to attack your workout properly.
Remove Bad Habits
Action is important. But you can also make a lot of progress with addition by subtraction.
Identify and subtract bad habits that derail your fitness progress. This takes a little introspection and honesty, but if you can find these ways that you commonly go off track, it will help greatly in making sure you actually stick to your resolutions this year.
Maybe it’s a habit of late night snacking, going out and partying, or getting distracted by social media.
Whatever it is, try and cut these bad habits out, replacing them with good fitness and/or nutritional habits.
Like the first point, start small with this as well. For example, if you’re a regular fast food eater, quitting just like that might be hard. Instead, you could focus on limiting it, little by little, and making incremental progress that’s easy to keep up.
These 1% gains (or reductions, in the case of bad habits) add up to huge progress over time, and they’re incredibly easy to maintain.
Doing this, along with the other points we raised in this article, can be just what you need to finally hit your fitness goals this year.