The New Year is fast approaching, and many people around the world are going to celebrate by setting some new goals for their physical fitness. Unfortunately, following through on those plans often proves harder to be much harder than it seemed at the time.
Luckily, we’ve got 10 easy ways to help keep you on track this year, and get you into fight shape in 2014!
1. Be Realistic
The easiest way to miss your goal is to make it unattainable. Giving up your favorite food in the whole world or planning on working out six hours a day, seven days a week may be asking a little much of yourself. Look at your schedule and decide when you can spare the time to work on your resolution. Even if it means you can only dedicate two or three hours a week, commit to them and you will be on your way to a fit 2014.
2. Make an Exercise Plan
“I am going to lose 40 pounds,” is not a plan. It is a goal. You are unlikely to reach the goal without exercise. If you already have a personal trainer, make sure it is very clear what you are trying to accomplish. If you are hoping to complete a marathon and aren’t doing any cardio you are going to have a rough go of it.
There are an endless number of exercise programs designed for bodybuilding, weight-loss, racing, fight conditioning (some discipline specific), etc. If you don’t have a plan already, the internet is a good place to start. Find something that sounds like it will fit your needs and stick with it.
3. Prepare a Dieting Strategy
“I’m going to cut down on my carbs,” is never going to work unless you set boundaries for yourself. “Cutting down,” can be interpreted differently for every person. Figure out what it means to you.
Everyone has a different idea of the perfect diet. The truth is that everyone’s metabolism is different as well as their level of food motivation. Programs like Weight Watchers and the Atkins Diet would not still be around today if they didn’t work. Sadly, they don’t work for everyone. Do your research and stick to the plan. Remember to make it reasonable. A whole year without chocolate is not likely, and neither is a kale smoothie for every single meal.
4. Set Milestone Goals
Keep yourself on track by setting benchmarks throughout the year. Maybe getting that first 10 pounds off by February, or being able to leg press 540 pounds by March. These “mini goals” will keep you from slacking on you ultimate goal. It is easy to convince yourself that you will make up for slack during the year, when really you are just getting increasingly off track.
5. Focus Weekly
Make the year long goal a part of your weekly routine. Whether this means making a grocery list every Sunday night or stepping on the scale every Friday morning, do not miss your weekly routine. This will help keep you focused on the commitment you have made to yourself.
6. Write it Down
Keeping a log will help you monitor your progress. Don’t let a bad week or two keep you from making those notes. If your weight goes the wrong direction deal with it, but don’t fail to log it. If you are strength training keep track of your reps and weight. Even if you are stuck at the same weight for weeks, write it down. Once you stop it is extremely difficult to start again. Planners are cheap. So are notebooks. No excuses.
7. Say it Loud
Don’t keep your resolution a secret for fear that you may not attain your goal. Tell someone. Anyone. Everyone. Again, if you have a personal trainer, make it very clear what you are trying to do. You should be doing this anyway, but if you haven’t you should. Tell your coaches, teammates and friends. Even better, just put it up on facebook. Tweet it. People may never even read it, but someone will surely “Like” it, and may be enough to keep you motivated.
8. Be Flexible
Ok, so you were supposed to go swimming today and the pool is undergoing maintenance. Maybe you were planning on a long bike ride and you got a flat tire, or someone is on your favorite chest press machine at the gym. Recognize that there is more than one way to achieve the type of conditioning you are going for. Adjust accordingly. It is good to have options.
9. Zen Time
One area of fitness that is often overlooked is the mental portion of body conditioning. Don’t forget to make time to stretch, meditate, relax and heal your body. This will help prevent injuries, focus your goals and promote overall health.
10. Don’t Give Up
Bad weeks are going to happen. You are going to splurge. You are going to get lazy. You may even get sick or injured. That’s life. Recognize the setback and then push forward. Embrace your humanity and make 2014 your year.