If you have a New Year’s resolution that entails enhancing your health, fitness, or well-being, you’re likely already aware that you are in excellent company. It also, then, might not come as a surprise that of the 40% of Americans who set out to achieve a New Years resolution, only about 8% actually achieve these goals. Research is unfortunately showing that this statistic is not only not improving but on the serious decline year after year. Not to mention after a long, stressful year of 2020, we can only expect that even the most resolute could lose their spark early on this year.

Let’s spill the tea on why you’re just another one of “them” that falls off the fitness wagon, but most importantly, let’s make sure you harness the knowledge and skills to make sure that you’re an outlier from this day forward!

Here’s what you can expect as a new gym member in January:

1. It’s going to be overwhelming and overcrowded.

If you’ve been on a bit of a workout hiatus or a straight up complete novice when it comes to the gym, then it will most likely even be a bit overwhelming just to kneel down and lace up your sneakers for your first few workouts. When everyone has the same idea to join or rejoin a gym during resolution season, the overcrowding (aside from being extremely anxiety-inducing, of course) isn’t providing a great environment for learning new skills let alone keeping your motivation. Fitness classes will be at their capacities, and the main fitness area, locker rooms, and fitness trainers most likely will be overly occupied making it challenging to get the experience, equipment, and coaching you might need in order to have the success you truly deserve for kneeling down to lace up those sneakers in the first place.

Find a gym with well-trained and educated staff.

Do your research before signing up for that membership for that commercial gym that’s maybe right down the street from your house where everyone goes. Look around the area to see what facilities might be reasonable in terms of proximity and ask questions regarding what you’re really seeking in terms of your experience at the gym as well as making sure that experience aligns with your current goals. Ask questions before enrolling and signing a contract! As goes with most things, you typically get what you pay for, so be mindful in that regard. Your money flows towards what you deem as a priority, so take a minute to evaluate how serious you are or are ready to be about your health and wellness and what you are willing to do/pay to reach those goals (i.e. hiring a trainer paying for an upscale fitness experience with more qualified staff, or paying for a customized program/plan from a respected and educated professional).

2. Your goals aren’t specific enough

By the end of December you might be catching yourself saying, “After the new year I need to lose this weight.” That’s a great start. We are definitely onto something here. So, naturally what we do is start going back to the gym to work towards this “weightloss”. However, the difference between you actually achieving that very vague “weightloss” goal is a very simple and extremely worthwhile step. It’s the definition of that goal and the detail of what it is and means to you and only you. So grab a pen and a paper and get ready to physically write these details down.

Create S-M-A-R-T goals

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Realistic

Time-sensitive

The acronym above is your fool proof way to achieve not just your health and fitness goals but any goals you have in life. Once you determine each of these areas regarding your goal in detail, you now have a fool-proof plan and path to success. To dive deeper into this goal-setting process, see 5 Smart Ways To Achieve Your Goals This Year.

3. You’re changing too many things at once.

About 77% of the people who set out to make a change at the beginning of the year stick to it for at least a week. Yikes! Are you a “I’ll clean up my eating, workout routine, sleep habits, stress management, work/life balance, etc. (you get the gist) after the holidays” person? While there is clear logic as to why this potentially vicious mindset cycle continues to happen year after year, the problem is that it does indeed continue to happen year after year. When we allow ourselves to over indulge during the holiday season, it puts us in a headspace where we then have stress regarding cleaning “everything” up all at once when the new year rolls around after festivities have subsided. When we allow things to get too out of control during the holiday season, it makes for a larger and more overwhelming process of getting back on track. Please don’t confuse this with a “deprivation during the holidays” mindset. Life is all about balance when it comes to both ends of the spectrum (i.e. taking care of yourself as well as occasional indulgence in things that bring us joy). It’s when this scale starts to tip too far in either of those directions that we begin to run into trouble. It happens, though! So what on Earth to do now?

Start Small

Okay, so maybe it is a little to late to go back in time and be a little less indulgent and be a little more active during the holiday season. Not to worry. However, let’s focus on not only reaching your goal(s) once and for all but breaking this yearly cycle altogether! Often when we feel so down on ourselves about letting ourselves get too “out of shape” we like to hit a HARD reset button. For some people this work! For most, it does not. If you find yourself running into hitting a HARD reset button at least once or more per year, this tactic probably does not work for you. That is OK! So, for you, let’s just try hitting the soft reset button. Meaning you choose just one small area to adjust. It can be something that only takes five minutes per day! Easy, right? Exactly. This five minute task may not seem like much. For example, it could be that you are going to wake up five minutes earlier than you normally would so that you can make in to work on time without rushing in frazzled and out of sorts (aka starting your day in a state of stress will promote a day of stress). So, by taking just these five minutes, you can set yourself up for a domino effect of other habits to roll into place. When we think about hitting a HARD reset and changing everything all at once, it just FEELS overwhelming and like a massive commitment. Whatever you are changing, you should have feelings of ease rather than a pit in your stomach wondering how you’re going to manage an entirely new lifestyle all at once.

4. You’re allowing your setbacks to stop you instead of set you back.

Let’s talk about the fact that no matter who you are and what goals you have, the path to success is rarely ever a smooth one. Meaning we encounter unexpected obstacles physically, mentally, and things often out of our own control. We set ourselves up for failure from the very beginning of our goal-setting process by not accounting for not necessarily the “what if” we hit a roadblock, but “how” are we going to overcome our future unknown roadblocks.

Don’t forget to strengthen your mental fitness, too!

On our journey towards our physical fitness goals, your success with those goals, maintenance of the goals, is dependent on the strength of what you cannot see and measure as easily- your mind. There are many ways to train your mental strength, be it meditation, reading personal development books, listening to and filling your head up with positive content as much as possible.  The more frequently you can train your brain, the more resilient you will become in the pursuit of your endeavors.

5. You’re in it alone

Trying to succeed alone is not impossible, but it is much easier, more fulfilling, and more fun if you get to share in the journey with someone else. Think about the last time you accomplished something you are proud of (it may not come right away- may it was your high school basketball team winning a game). Remember how it felt not only to share in the victory with others who are aligned with a similar/same purpose, but you also get you to encourage each other along the way, lean on them when those inevitable obstacles arise, and walk the path together. At the end of the day it makes the experience much more fulfilling.

Grab an accountability buddy.

If you can’t think of anyone off the top of your head that might want to be that person or people for you, it’s a great time to put yourself out there at your new (or old) gym. Are you staying approachable or are you walking in with headphones on blaring? Are you making eye contact with others or are you so laser focused with your head down? Being focused is certainly great, but don’t forget to stay open to people you could meet to build and enhance a community of support and friendship. At the end of the day we are all in this together in some way shape or form even if our goals on paper look much different. Don’t forget that.

Having a New Year’s resolution is great if it serves as a way to get out of a holiday rut, clean the slate and get you back into the mindset of improving one or many aspects of your life. However, many health and fitness professionals would recommend that you be in the “New Year’s resolution mindset” year-round. Meaning you are setting achievable goals, evaluating your goals, and resetting new goals year round. This would otherwise be known as a “SMART” goal.

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