Nothing says “New Year’s Resolution” like committing to head back to the gym, but as the months roll by, sometimes our dedication to reaching our goals fades. Having just reached the half way point of the year, now is the perfect time to recommit to yourself and your fitness resolutions. Whether you merely paused your fitness regimen for a holiday or you are resuming regular exercise for the first time in months, it can be difficult to get back on track.
Use these seven tricks from Mii amo’s Lead Fitness Instructor, Michelle Elton, to help you refresh and refocus your fitness goals.
1. Reshape your behavior. Every year, countless people set New Year’s resolution goals; however, many people do not make their goals realistic enough. A realistic goal is one that is focused more on creating a healthier lifestyle than working your way down a to-do list. If you focus on making behavioral changes before piecing together the details of your workout regimen, you are more likely to achieve your goals.
2. Create a Plan. When you plan ahead you are more likely to follow through with establishing healthy habits. Creating a plan entails more than simply scribbling “go to the gym” on a Post-it note and sticking it to your alarm clock. Michelle recommends packing your gym bag and preparing breakfast and lunch for the next day. Taking the time to do these few things the night before will set you up for success and help keep you accountable.
3. Be consistent. In order to reach your fitness goals, you must make exercise a part of your daily life. The human body craves consistency. If you intend to work out from 8:00 to 8:45 a.m. Monday through Thursday, write it down in your planner and treat it as an inflexible appointment. Soon your brain and body will happily fall in line, and you won’t need to set reminders for yourself. Regular sleep and meal times will further solidify your new fitness regimen.
4. Use momentum to your advantage. Focus on making small, positive changes. When your behavior makes you feel better, you will feel confident and want to keep going. If you are planning a bigger change—say, going from being sedentary to working out five days a week—consider starting with a few small, fail-safe moves. You will have a much easier time saying “yes” to 15 minutes of interval exercises at home than to an hour-long session at the gym.
5. Track every workout. Why are store rewards programs so successful? Because nothing drives us forward like seeing what we’ve already racked up (stopping halfway to a reward feels like losing free money, right?). At the same time, seeing small milestones in ink is an easy way to build fitness momentum. If keeping a fitness journal does not appeal to you, try simply making a check mark on a calendar for every day you work out. It may not seem as detailed as tracking your measurements or heart rate, but if you see that you have hit the gym every day this week, you are less likely to break your winning streak when an excuse comes along.
6. Plan on some catch-up. It is common for people to overestimate their fitness level when starting or restarting a training routine. Rather than making assumptions about your ability level, start slowly so you can gauge your strength. Choose a lighter dumbbell for your first few deadlifts. Warm up with a week of active stretching or sit in on a beginner’s class before you resume intermediate yoga. The good news is that it probably won’t take long to bounce back to your optimum fitness level. A slow start will prevent fatigue, excessive muscle soreness, and injury you risk when pushing yourself too hard.
7. Think wellness, not weight loss. Why? It goes back to focusing on behavioral changes instead of the particulars of a program. When you think about overall wellness as the reason for advancing your exercise efforts, you’re more likely to choose a sustainable program. A hyped-up, trendy program may look good on paper, but you may not be comfortable with what is required to keep up with it.