January is an interesting time of year for those of us working in the fitness industry. Each New Year that comes, fitness professionals see a resurgence of energy and self-motivation that transpires simply from the turn of the calendar page. With it, the ability to start over, to shed ourselves of our old skins, to start afresh simply because it’s January 1st, seems effortless.
However, how many actually successfully stick to their New Year’s resolutions in the long term? And why do so many fail, and eventually creep back into their old patterns, be it smoking, eating poorly, or continuing to live a sedentary lifestyle? Put simply, behavioural change, especially for adults who are very much already set in their ways, is difficult to achieve in the long term unless small, gradual steps are made. What I often see as a fitness trainer at the turn of each New Year, are a fleet of newly motivated individuals, so eager to change their ways, and get started on their new path toward health and fitness, that they do everything all at once. For example, if your New Year’s resolution is to lose weight, quit smoking, drink more water, exercise more regularly, and to eat more healthily, one of these changes alone could cause you unexpected disruptions to how you have become accustomed to living. Planning for too many changes at once, can be too much for you to take on and could cause you to give up all together. Your best chance for success is to give yourself a long-term plan of attack that begins now, but includes small individual mini-goals to achieve in your own good time. Set all your desired changes as long-term, and plan to get to them by accomplishing very specific small, short term goals, such as quitting smoking alone, or by simply cutting out on fatty foods, or by committing to one set day for exercise per week. What ever your resolution, achieve it by taking small steps towards it. This way you do not become overwhelmed, overworked, and discouraged by shooting for everything all at once. Work on one thing to change at a time, the one that is most important to you and your health, let your body and mind adapt slowly before you introduce another challenge.
Behaviour is not an easy thing to change, but it is possible if you do it with patience, persistence and with a good progressive plan that follows sequential steps or mini-goals that ultimately lead toward your target goal.
Enjoy the New Year and all the motivation that it brings, but take things in stride, set your goals high, and plan to reach your goal by successively taking small baby steps toward it.
For help with meeting your health and fitness goals this year, contact Fitness Anywhere today.