How to stick to your New Year’s fitness resolutions

New Year’s Day is, basically, the ultimate “I’ll start on Monday” resolution day (even if the first isn’t actually a Monday). It’s the day where people make a list of things they want to improve, quit and/or take on, generally, to make a positive change in their life. And the more popular resolution lists revolve around fitness.

But that list is part of the problem that makes New Year’s resolutions (rather quickly) fall through. That, and unrealistic expectations. If you’re serious about those resolutions, there are a few things you need to do to make them stick.

Set your mind straight

It’s important to be realistic with yourself right from the get-go. Set your mind right and understand that, after one week, you’re likely not to notice any changes and that it’s all about perseverance and constantly being better, even when you’ve reached your goal.

To go to the gym with the mindset of “I want to be able to do 100 sit-ups” and when you get to that point, you’re going to feel accomplished and just stop there. Before you know it, next New Year’s resolutions will have you wanting to be able to do 100 sit-ups… again. When you reach your goal, create a new one and keep moving.

You also shouldn’t overwhelm yourself with 1000 goals to complete in the space of one year. That will only discourage you when you don’t end up reaching them all. And the ones you do manage to get to won’t mean as much and it will be so much easier to give up. And you don’t want that.

Don’t create limits for yourself and know that progress takes time and you will get to them all eventually. Also, there is more than one way to exercise and get fit, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t enjoy the gym.

Don’t hit the gym just yet

Do yourself a favour and, if you’re wanting to join the gym as one of your resolutions, don’t do it just yet. Find a strength and cardio circuit that you can do at home in the meantime. Go for a run or hop on the bicycle for a cycle, but stay away from the gym – especially if you’re a first-timer.

All the frustrations of having to wait for a machine, overcrowded classes and the self-consciousness of having so many people around you will only lead you to quit the gym. But the only reason it’s like that now in the beginning of the year is because everyone there has also made fitness one of their top resolutions. And the chances of almost half of them quitting and slowing down on the everyday gym sessions are likely. Then it will be safe for you to go to the gym and not be discouraged by the masses of people.

Find someone to hold you accountable

It’s not always easy to hold yourself accountable to your resolutions and we all know how easy it is to “justify” a cheat day. For that reason, a good idea is to have someone hold you accountable to your goals and remind you of what you want to achieve. Even if all they do is make you second guess your decision to have the second helping or not go to the Zumba class.

Having someone there to give you the semi-judgemental but for-your-own-good look will make it easier for you to stick to your word by not wanting to disappoint them and, ultimately, your future self.

And someone to tag along with you

Sometimes having someone to hold you accountable isn’t quite enough, you’re your own person and you can do whatever you want.

But, if you add another layer to that outside accountability, find yourself a gym partner who makes your exercise sessions fun and exciting. You’ll find yourself wanting to go and not wanting to leave them hanging on the days you don’t feel like it.

Buy the best gear

And if you want to hold yourself more accountable (by yourself) then invest and buy the best gear out there to support your fitness goals. If you want to go running, get top of the range running shoes. If cycling and spinning at the gym are more your sport, find some high-quality cycling shoes. Invest in a sports watch and keep your sports wardrobe fully kitted.

The reason why you want to do this is that, by spending a slightly more than fair amount of money on these things, you’ll be more conscious about your monetary investment in your resolution. And no one likes to waste money, so there’s some extra motivation right there.

Place a progress board on the wall

Another practice that will help you stick to your fitness resolutions is to track your progress. And not in a little diary that you misplace and forget about, but a large progress board that is placed on the wall or your door where you’ll see it every single day.

Regularly take your measurements (don’t only weigh yourself, it’s not an accurate representation of your progress), list your scheduled classes or workouts for the week, pencil in your mountain bike rides, and you can even keep track of your diet for the week.

Soon, you’ll be able to see the difference in the way you look, the way you feel and through the progress board’s data.