Many of us treat January/February as a jumping off point to get back into the habit of fitness. But for those of us that have already been involved in creating more healthy lifestyles, what is our new year's resolution? Longevity should be your goal. How can we stick to our previous goals while reinvigorating our drive to better ourselves? We have detailed out some simple things to focus on and new perspectives to give your goals the extra boost they need.
1. It is very easy to focus on how much more work there is ahead of us, but we often times forget to see just how far we've come. If the marathon is 26 miles long and we just finished mile 11, we are so wrapped up in this idea that there are 15 more miles! Instead those involved in fitness, especially those who have only recently begun the journey, need to think back to a time where they weren't even running the marathon at all so to speak. Sure, there is a long way to go, but the sheer amount of determination it took to progress from 0 miles to mile 11 is something to celebrate. Don't forget to stop, take a breath and remember where you were a year ago compared to now.
2. Don't look toward others to judge yourself. There is a very old saying that reads "Don't compare the sapling to the 30 year old tree." It is very unfair to yourself and the individual fitness journeys we all embark on. The 'forest' is filled with those on their own personal progress towards healthier lifestyles. If we are constantly trying to measure up to our peers, we are destine to fail because each body is different, each individual has different strengths and we will not all be aiming to achieve the same thing. Instead only compare your progress to your previous milestones. This way the progression through fitness is more tangible/definable and it become much easier to be proud of yourself because we stop looking at "30 year old trees" and instead look at how we were once a mere seed.
3. Set new goals and set smaller goals. Some have set goals of 'lose 50 pounds!' or 'get a 6-pack!' or 'be able to run a 9 minute mile!' but these goals do not come with a clearly defined duration. In the case of a 6-pack, this could take an individual over a year with proper diet and exercise. Therefore making it a new year's resolution is admirable, but not always realistic if the idea is to achieve it and set something new the following year. Try starting off with incremental goals that can we achieved sooner with a long-term goal in mind without it being make-or-break. Therefore 'get a 6-pack!' becomes 'lose 15 pounds' and 'do 40 crunches everyday' which can be more easily reached on the journey towards abs. By completing the intermittent goals, the long term goal will be achieved naturally.
4. Avoid burnout! If fitness is becoming too much, it may be time to dial it back a bit. That is not to say quit altogether; instead take steps to make it less of a burden or strain on your daily routine. This can go a long way in allowing some breathing room to dive back in when you are ready. Progress is progress! Keep that in mind. Slowing down is not failing. Taking time to refocus, reorganize and find better balance can be the difference between quitting out of frustration and achieving longevity. Fitness is not a destination, it is a journey. Forward momentum can be slowed without losing forward direction.
5. Build a routine that is sustainable! Never take on too many fitness hurdles all at once. People just getting into fitness or those who have been in it for a year or two want to find shortcuts or take on more than they can handle. The best way to avoid fatigue in your fitness routine is through baby steps. Don't make '50 push-ups in a row' your goal when 15 is still out of reach. Don't switch your diet completely all at once. By incorporating small healthy habits/changes over time, your routine will organically evolve into something unrecognizable (in a good way). But if you jump in feet first, you will more than likely reject the sudden shock to your routine.