10 Tips for Sticking to Your New Year’s Fitness Goals
If you’ve ever gone to a gym the first few weeks of January, you know the scene: jam-packed exercise classes and every piece of equipment in use with bright-eyed, highly motivated gym-goers wearing their brand-new workout clothes they got for Christmas. But come February, the gym returns to its pre-New Year’s state of the loyal faithful who have made working out a top priority in their life for the long-term; not just as a short-term resolution. Hey, we’ve all been there! And that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set resolutions. They’re a great way to recalibrate your brain and decide what you want to focus on for the upcoming year. So, go ahead and set those resolutions, but make sure to follow our 10 tips for actually sticking to your fitness goals for a full 365 days.
1. Start small. If it’s been a while since you hit the gym, start small: a 20-minute walk on the treadmill, 15 minutes of weight training, a low-flow yoga class. The last thing you want to do is work out so hard that you exhaust yourself for days to come. Nothing demotivates you more than being too sore the next several days to work out. Starting small and working your way up as your fitness level improves also helps prevent injuries from going too hard too soon.
2. Join a group. When we’re held accountable to other people, we’re more likely to stick to our routines. Joining a walking group or grabbing a buddy for your workouts is a great way to keep each other motivated: when you know someone is expecting you, it’s much harder to cancel on them. Or, if you prefer to work out solo, share your intentions with a friend who can give you a friendly nudge and keep you honest about your workout goals.
3. Test drive your workouts. Working out doesn’t have to be boring. You can and should enjoy working out. The more you enjoy doing something, the higher the likelihood you’ll stick with it. If you haven’t yet found that magical workout that you genuinely look forward to doing, take a week or two to test-drive different workouts: one day, go for a hike. Another day, try a yoga or Pilates class. Keep at it until you find your ideal workout match.
4. Find what works for you. Working out is not a once-size-fits-all situation. While some people may like the energy and commotion of a big gym filled with people, others may prefer working out solo at home with a DVD. Some may find walking or running on a treadmill monotonous, others find it convenient and soothing. Whatever your preferred method of working out is, make sure you take the time to figure out what works best for you.
5. Focus on your feelings. One of the biggest mistakes you can make when trying to lose weight or improve your fitness is to focus too much on the scale. So many variables affect your weight from day to day, week to week that if the numbers don’t move the way you’re hoping they do, you can easily feel discouraged and lose motivation. Instead focus on how you feel after a workout: strong and invincible after lifting weights, alert and energized after cardio, relaxed and mindful after a yoga session. By focusing on how you feel, you’re less reliant on the scale to keep you motivated.
6. Work out for a cause. If you need an extra kick in the pants to get moving and are motivated by doing good for your community, consider participating in an event that benefits a charity. Not only will you raise funds for a worthwhile cause and help people in need, but you’ll also have a specific deadline to focus your training around. One of Vionic Shoes’ favorite events is the Avon39 Walk to End Breast Cancer. Held annually in cities throughout the country, participants must raise at least $1,800 for the charity and then walk 39 miles over the course of two days. It sounds like a lot – and it is! – but the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel when it’s done is incredible.
7. Add it to your calendar. From work meetings to kids’ activities, we keep our most important appointments in a calendar on our phone, computer or refrigerator. So why not schedule your workouts? By carving out a specific time to work out and having a reminder alert you on your phone or computer, you’re more likely to make working out a priority.
8. Treat yourself! Getting in shape takes work! And you should be rewarded for it. Set small weekly goals (e.g., work out 3 times this week) and give yourself a small reward to reinforce your newfound good behavior. Or, every time you meet your weekly goal, put $5 in a jar. Once you hit your longer-term goals, treat yourself to a massage or a new pair of cute shoes.
9. Invest in the right gear. Celebrity fitness trainer and Vionic Innovation Lab member Juliet Kaska says, “Invest in a good pair of walking shoes. They will do wonders for your posture and joints by minimizing the impact of each step. Look for lightweight flexible shoes and be sure to replace them often, especially if you’re walking every day.”
10. Move every day. If you achieve nothing else, vow to yourself to move every day. Whether it’s 20 minutes of dancing with your kids or taking a 10-minute walking break at work, every little bit helps.