It’s a new year, a time to create health and fitness goals as well as other resolutions. Although goals are well-intentioned, they can create a gap between who you are and who you want to be. Not achieving your goals—which happens to many people—can be detrimental to your self-worth. Even though many people struggle or fail to meet the goals they set in the New Year, it’s still a great time to set objectives. The New Year falls into the “clean slate” category of strategies, representing new beginnings which can be used to support building new habits.
The first thing you need to understand and believe is that reaching your goals is within your control. The second thing is that you deserve whatever positive habit you’re trying to build. Even if you don’t see yourself as a fit person, you deserve to be fit. If you don’t see yourself as someone who eats healthfully, you deserve to eat healthy food. Habits take time to form. Give them time, but you must be consistent in your actions. This is a journey. Remember: Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Consistency is the only supplement you need. If you consistently perform actions which support your habit, you will get results. The following strategies will help guide you on this journey and keep you on track to a healthier, more fit “you.”
Strategy #1: Foundation
The Foundation strategy is a baseline tactic that will set you up for success. They are requirements for a healthy and productive life.
- Getting enough sleep
- Getting enough exercise
- Creating external order (tidy up!)
- Managing eating and drinking
It’s best to create the best environment that will help you be productive and successful.
Strategy #2: Accountability
There are two kinds of accountability, internal and external. Internal accountability is being accountable to yourself. External accountability is being accountable to someone else. For many people external accountability is most helpful, but there are ways to do both.
One of the most popular methods of external accountability is a workout partner who helps monitor your gym goal. You can share a workout calendar with a friend, or use an app to create transparency around your progress with a person or group of people. Working out with a partner is a great incentive to get to the gym—but if you can’t find one, don’t let this stop you. After all, it’s you who will experience the results.
Here are some external and internal accountability methods to consider.
External Accountability Methods
- Sign up for weekly classes
- Get a personal trainer
- Get an accountability partner
- Get a workout buddy
Internal Accountability Methods
- Set a specific goal (lose weight, build muscle, etc.)
- Have a clear and specific workout plan that supports your goal
- Put your gym clothes on as soon as you get out of bed
- If going to the gym in the evening, pack your gym bag the night before
- Setup a reward system for going to the gym
Strategy #3: Monitoring
Monitoring or tracking can be helpful when you’re trying to change or adopt a new habit. This allows you to have real data to understand how you’re doing. Tracking creates awareness. More importantly, you have excellent data recording your journey. Here are a few ways you can easily apply monitoring to fitness:
Use the “Don’t Break the Chain” Method
This method also called the “Seinfeld Strategy” where for each day that you work towards a goal or an activity, you mark that day on a physical calendar as a visual habit tracker. People use this method to keep track of stuff that they want to do every day (“don’t break the chain”). You can easily modify it to suit your needs. If you gym goal is four days a week, don’t break that chain. It’s a great way to stay motivated and to also celebrate your success, visually.
People love wearing a fitness tracker just to know how many steps they’ve taken during the day. In addition to working out, have a target of 10k steps per day. Monitoring in this way helps you get up and go for short walks during the day and gives you the data you need to take action.
Strategy #4: Scheduling
Scheduling is simply putting an activity on your calendar. It has this amazing way of making things happen. When something is in your schedule, you’re more likely to do it. One of the most common reasons people cite for not going to the gym is lack of time. You make time for what’s important to you. If you really can’t make it to a gym, there are plenty of bodyweight exercises that require a minimal amount of room and no equipment. If you can make it to the gym but are short on time, focus on efficiency through high-intensity exercises that will burn a lot of calories fast and get your heart rate up quickly. Something like this can take as little as ten minutes.
The Power of Yes
Keep Moving. There are opportunities throughout each day to move. Take the stairs, walk up the escalator, go for walks, and so on. Look for opportunities in the day to get more steps in and keep moving. When talking about exercise, most people say “I’ll try to do it” but that can be a self-defeating way to go about it. Why try to do it, just do it. There is power in saying, “Yes.”