Are you one of the many people who have a hard time keeping their New Year’s resolutions? You’re not alone! I myself fall into the category of people who have really good intentions but continually fall short. And honestly, I wasn’t sure why until I started really thinking about my goals and what the challenges were that were keeping me from achieving them. This past year especially, I have been able to make and keep my goals and honestly, they make such a difference! For example, BionicGym really helped me keep my fitness goals for the first time and it is so empowering. Here are some of my tips for making reasonable goals and how to keep your fitness resolutions.
Identify A Problem
The reason we make goals is that there is something distasteful, annoying, frustrating, or even dangerous in our lives that we want to change. Everyone wants to be happier. There is no one person on the earth that actually wants to be sad, and we all know that happiness comes with work and with change. Because if you’re not happy now, there is something that needs to be tweaked in your life.
So really sit down with your thoughts and think about the things that make you unhappy or the time of day or places that you are. This could be something really huge like, you’re always unhappy at work–yikes, a career change might be something that you need to think about! Or it could be something like you are unhappy when you feel like your clothes don’t fit right. So maybe losing some weight is a great goal, or maybe you’re buying clothes that you think are cute, but you won’t actually wear.
Solve The Problem
Once you identify your problem, then think of some ways that you can fix it. And the most obvious answer might not be the one that will really help you. For example, if you hate your job, maybe you don’t need an entirely new career change. The best way to figure out what you really need to change is to figure out why you hate your job. Is it your boss? Your Coworkers? Is it the times that you have to work or the physical toll that it puts on your body? Do you hate it because you really want to be doing something else? Or do you want to spend more time with your family?
One solution will not fit all. If you hate your coworkers, maybe you need to look for a transfer or the same kind of job with a different company. Or you could try studying and reading books about how to get along with difficult people. If you hate it because you want to spend time with your family, maybe the solution is to budget better so you can cut back on hours.
Keep It Fresh
It can be really hard to keep a goal like “cut out all sugar for a year” or “exercise 6 days a week for a year”. These long-term goals will be fun and exciting for about 2 to 4 weeks, and then after that, it takes a lot of energy and motivation to get through the next 11 months.
My secret to success when it comes to how to keep your fitness resolutions is to keep them fresh all the time. I know, everyone says that you have to do something for 3 weeks before it becomes a habit. This is great for something like flossing, but when you are trying to do fitness goals, you can’t just expect the same fitness routine to be fun for a whole year.
So here’s what I do to keep things fresh: I break my year up by either months or weeks. I will assign a certain theme to each month and then break it down even further by putting in goals that fit that theme. That way things are changing all the time and it stays fun and exciting!
I also try to avoid just saying “workout 6 times a week” because the challenge isn’t necessarily the working out, it’s all the things that get you to work out. You have to be in the right headspace or prepared.
So here’s an example of a few months’ goals that will encourage you to work out, if you want to focus on BionicGym fitness.
Avoid Too Specific
I know that above, it seems like my goals are super-specific because I break them down into such small categories. But actually, they are really flexible and they allow a lot of wiggle room. If I were to say “exercise for 30 minutes 6 days a week” then that might be a little too rigid. I have no motivation to go past 30 minutes and if I have to miss a day because I’m sick or something, then I feel like the rest of my week is shot. Even if I exercise every other day, I still won’t reach my goal of 6 days a week, so it won’t feel very fulfilling even when I’m working my hardest.
Lots of people say that you should have a measurable goal, and saying you want to work out 6 days a week definitely is measurable, but with the problem, I stated above, it’s not always a good thing. You might need to be a bit creative and instead make a goal like, “get your heart rate up to ___ every day.” This means that you don’t necessarily need to be plugged in for 30 minutes if you can’t find the time. It means that you could run in place or sprint a block or jump rope or do burpees. If you don’t have the time or energy to do a full workout, at least you will get your heart rate up for a while during the day.
And honestly, that is the hardest part of a workout, is just getting started and getting your heart rate up. So once you do that, the likelihood of you doing a full workout goes up exponentially.
Focus on Dos Rather Than Don’ts
While I understand getting rid of certain foods that make you feel bad, not all sugar is bad. In fact, sometimes it is necessary to get the burst of energy that you need! And there are a lot more sugars out there than just processed, granulated sugar. But enough about sugar!
The point is when you focus a lot on what you can’t have then you start to feel really restricted. When your girlfriends want to go out for dessert or you go to a birthday party, you end up feeling quite lonely because you’re the only one not eating and eating is a social event! Maybe it shouldn’t be, but it is. So instead of focusing on what you can’t have, focus on what you can have!
You might wonder, “Well, how can I reach my goals without cutting things out?” Instead of saying “No sugar for a year” (since this is the goal I’ve obviously latched onto) say something like, “Whenever I crave sugar, I’m going to drink a full glass of water and a bowl of fruit.”
This way, you aren’t just telling yourself no, you are coming up with a solution to your problem.
The problem isn’t necessarily the sugar; the problem is how you handle sugar. Do you have a hard time controlling your cravings? Do you have too much sugar around your house? If the problem is really that you buy too much candy, then make it apply to that. “Whenever I want to reward myself with buying candy, I’ll reward myself with a pack of gum instead.”
This goes into identifying the problem and fixing it rather than just restricting yourself.
Figure Out Good Rewards
Speaking of rewards, our brains are hardwired to want rewards all the time. Have you ever had a big salad for dinner and decided you needed to reward yourself by eating a larger than a normal bowl of ice cream?
It can be difficult to switch your body off of food rewards since most of us have been rewarded with treats our entire lives. Treats are fun! There is such a huge variety of them to choose from and they are relatively inexpensive. So what are some things you can reward yourself with instead of treats?
- HEALTHY treats, like trail mix or fruit leather
- Work up to a clothing goal like new pants or shoes
- Fruit to put in your water
- Watch one of your favorite shows or podcasts
- New nail polish, chapstick, mascara, etc.
- 5-minute dance party
- 10-minute stretch
These are all good rewards that won’t affect your waistline much and are pretty affordable!
- There are a lot of social media communities that you can join if you want to constantly have a resource for encouragement on days where you don’t want to exercise.
- You can also join a club like Weight Watchers where you actually meet in person and have weigh-ins. Some people have a tough time with this kind of public progression, but it can be very motivating.
- There are challenge groups that you can join if you have a fitness tracker, where you can see your personal friend’s progress daily or you can join one with people you don’t necessarily know.
- Similarly, nutrition tracking apps like “Fitness Tracker” can connect you with all your friends from social media and you can encourage each other, build groups, and check each other’s progress.
- Or you can always just have a trusted friend that you can use to encourage each other to stay up with your goals.
If you don’t feel comfortable having all your personal fitness broadcast on the interwebs, then you might prefer to do personal check-ins. In this case, you will need to be very dedicated and be a person who takes yourself seriously. It can be hard to hold yourself accountable if you are the type of person who tends to go easy on yourself. So here are some rules that I follow to keep myself accountable:
Make A Spreadsheet
There is something about having a visual spreadsheet that can get you motivated to accomplish a goal. You can always SAY you want to get a six-pack, but until you actually sit down and write the steps that you need to do to get there, it probably won’t happen. You also feel a huge sense of accomplishment when you can check something off of a list. Working out for 30 minutes a day is great and you will definitely see improvements, but if you don’t check it off a list, you can start feeling down or as if you’re not doing enough.
It’s good to have a visual reminder that you are one step closer to your goals.
Have Predetermined Rewards or Punishments
I mentioned good rewards earlier, but they really are essential to getting to your fitness goals. Everyone has days where they wake up and don’t want to get out of bed. Everyone has days where they want to skip their workout. So what is going to push you through those rough days and get you to work out even when you don’t want to?
If it’s a reward or a punishment, it’s totally up to you. Just make sure that it is something that will motivate you enough to push forward.
Visualize The Thing That Drives You
Working out to lose weight is not a great long-term driver for me. I’ve realized this as I start to get a little older. When I was younger, vanity might have been enough for me to get myself out of bed and work out. But everyone plateaus after a while and it is hard to get over that hump and stick with it. I found that my motivator is not necessarily what my body looks like, but what my body FEELS like. I have some family history, as most people do, of some health problems, and most of them can be avoided with a healthy lifestyle. When a person in your family is suffering daily because of something that is likely in your genes, it can really get your butt out of bed and working out.
Take Yourself Seriously
You would never just skip out on a client, a doctor visit, or an appointment, so why do you consistently let yourself down? You are the most important person to yourself, so keep your appointments with yourself.
Act like working out is part of your job. You have to realize how important your health is and that it is something that has to be maintained every day. Without taking yourself seriously and keeping your appointments with yourself, you will always put yourself on the back burner.
When it comes down to it, if you want to keep your fitness resolutions, you have to trick your mind into wanting it bad enough. All of these tips above help you to reason with your mind when you are having a weak moment–which we all have. You have to predict what your challenges are and find a solution to them ahead of time so that you will be prepared when you want to fall short of your goal. And try to give yourself some grace! We all have days where we feel under the weather or it’s just not in us. Just don’t feel like your goals are completely worthless if you miss a day. Instead, pick yourself up and keep going. Every choice you make matters, so keep making good choices and you’ll see improvement.