It is that time of year again, New Year’s resolutions time. After downing eggnog and Santa shaped cookies for a month straight we look into the mirror and realize “I might need to hit the gym…”. Millions of people every year deciding to face this challenge head on, start by signing up for a membership a their local gyms. Sadly, this is where they typically end as well. Signing up for a gym membership is great, but it is only half the battle. So how do you keep from becoming a statistic of gym members who quit going after February rolls around?
Make Reasonable Goals
Let’s start out with the most obvious, make reasonable goals and plans to meet those goals. When signing up for the gym, do you envision yourself coming every day after work, hitting that treadmill for two hours and washing it all down with a healthy protein shake? Maybe you picture yourself hitting the weight rack seven days a week and hammer curling a few 75# dumbbells as your biceps rips your shirt to shreds from your massive gains?
Wake up. The number one reason that people quit going to the gym is because, they set unrealistic goals. They set themselves up for failure before they even start. I always advise people to setup a reasonable goal and a reasonable plan to meet them. You want to work out five days a week, maybe start with a goal of two days a week. When you are hitting those two days no problem, add in a third day! While you may want to be running marathons, start out with a goal of a 5k. Baby steps will always get you where you want to go, just be willing to take the time to get there.
…it takes about twenty one days to establish a habit, a bit less than a month.
Something else you can do to help you keep up your NYR, is to make it a habit. They say it takes about twenty one days to establish a habit, a bit less than a month. I know for me personally, I am a morning person. So for me as a SAHD, I make my gym/workout times the same time and days of the week every week. I made it part of my routine, just like brushing my teeth in the morning, I know that Monday at 8:45 is leg day.
Having a routine that you know you can stick to(thanks to having reasonable and manageable goals), is important as you are more likely to follow through with a habit than just going “when you have time”. If you have a schedule that changes often, find a spot instead of a time/day to workout. Maybe change your drive home so you go past the gym, and it will be easy for you to stop in and get that workout in. The important thing is to be consistent, and make it a predictable part of your week.
The Dreaded D-word, DIET
The other area that people tend to go overboard on is the dreaded D word, diet. They think “I will eat nothing but carrots and gluten free cardboard”, and after a week at most they are gorging on little Debbie snack cakes. First, I hate the word diet, you should never do anything that makes you die. I prefer to call it a Live-t, because it needs to be something that you can live with. The real key to healthy “liveting” is tracking what you eat. You might be surprised to find you are eating more than you realized!
There are many great free and paid for apps you can find for you phones/computers to help you track your foods. You don’t have to give up the foods you love, you just have to be more aware of the foods you are eating. I personally lost almost 200# doing a program where I still ate the meals that I wanted, I just learned to find the right portions and tracked what I ate. If you think it might be to hard to track your food, I suggest committing to just tracking one day, and if that goes well maybe try for a second day. Pretty soon you will find that you have built a healthy habit!
I hope you were able to find some new ideas to help you on your journey. Remember these three key things: to make reasonable goals, make those goals a consistent part of your life, and that it’s ok to take baby steps towards your dreams. Put these ideas together and pretty soon you will find that you have built a healthy habit!