If you’re like many people who have resolved to get fit after an over-indulgent holiday season, you may be finding it increasingly difficult to maintain your momentum as 2016 wears on.
The number one New Year’s resolution that people make is to get into shape. But many people are not so successful at keeping it; Time Magazine
has “Lose Weight and Get Fit” at the top of its list of commonly broken New Year’s resolutions!
On the plus side, you’re not alone. Only about 8% of people actually stick with their New Year’s resolutions.
While most people perceive lack of exercise as a motivational issue, research
shows that it is not lack of motivation that deters exercise. Rather, it’s counter-motivations and day-to-day life that get in the way.
Set a Goal
shows that setting action intentions increases peoples’ success rate. Break down the overall goal of “getting fit” into smaller, more manageable goals that lead to the end goal. It could be as simple as to move your body a given number of times each week, or committing to participating in a race several months in the future, and then gradually building up.
But Be Realistic
Often people set out with huge ambitions for their exercise regimen. In one study
though, when researchers followed up with would-be exercisers to find out how much they actually worked out, the reality was far less than predicted.
Honestly assess what time commitment you can actually make to fitness, and make your fitness plans fit around your social, work and life commitments, not the other way around. It’s also important to move away from an all or nothing mentality: Most people have so many competing priorities that this approach is doomed to failure. If you have limited time for exercise on a given day make the most of the time you DO have. After all, 30 minutes is better than doing nothing at all.
Choose Something You Enjoy, and Don’t Go Overboard
Too often people choose an activity that they dislike, force themselves to do it, and then wonder why they quit. Another pitfall is choosing an activity that is enjoyed, but not sufficiently ramping up. When your body is in pain from getting into shape, it's hard to really enjoy yourself. It’s entirely possible that you hate your new regiment because you're pushing yourself way too hard without realizing it. When you feel terrible during or after a workout, you're less likely to stick with it.
Invest in the Right Equipment
That doesn’t give you carte blanche to drop a pile of cash on the most expensive designer exercise apparel, but there is practical value to having the right gear to help you stay the course.
If your water bottle doesn’t fit the cup holder on your gym’s treadmill, that’s going to discourage you from using it. If you are running outside, invest in sufficiently warm hand and head coverings. Likewise, if your gym bag is too crammed, or swallows your gear making it difficult to find what you need, you will constantly be ill-prepared to undertake your workout.
Don’t Forget: Habit Formation is Key!
About 40% of our daily actions are habits
, rather than decisions. If you set a realistic goal to do something you enjoy, and do the necessary advance planning to make it happen, you’ll be well on your way to meeting your goal of getting fit.