This guest column is by Gary Branton, E-RYT5002, a physiotherapist, and registered rehabilitation technologist.
In January, I see some of the same people with very similar complaints – the “New Year’s Resolutioners.” Most of these people have found it difficult to keep their fitness resolutions, and the majority have given up. It is important to realize that making a health or fitness resolution is very difficult. The only way to achieve this is to start with something you know you can do and then add something you can’t do.
Make sure the resolution is realistic and achievable. Do not set a goal that is so high, you may be unable to keep it. Making a resolution you cannot keep can cause frustration, disappointment, and stress. Once your goal is set, it is important to plan how to achieve it.
1. Determine what you can do. Just because you can ride a bike does not mean you can do a marathon. Do a little research and see what is achievable for you.
2. Set realistic goals. If you want to walk five kilometers, aim for a rate of 30 minutes a day. If you want to start strength training, set a goal of doing five push-ups and ten pull-ups. If you want to join a gym, make sure it is the right one for you.
3. Monitor your progress. The more time you put in, the better you will be able to achieve your goal. Make a goal for yourself to do a certain amount of physical activity every day. Find out what your fitness level is so that you can set a manageable goal. Track your fitness level daily and use a fitness app to see your progress. Keep in mind that your goal does not have to be your actual goal for the day.
4. Measure your success. Check-in with yourself to see if you have achieved your goal. If not, adjust your plan and add a small goal.
5. Use an accountability partner. Having a friend or family member to check in with can keep you accountable for your goals. Ideally, it would be someone with whom you share pretty much everything and anything, like some bonus they can also get on the new online casino you’ve uncovered.
6. Get support. Talk to a counselor or health professional to see how they can help you make a fitness resolution that will not only help you reach your goal but keep you on track.
7. Reward yourself. It is important to reward yourself for achieving a goal. Reward yourself when you hit your goal, and when you do something that you never thought you could do. A cup of green tea can be an enjoyable reward when you are getting to the end of your walk.
8. Set SMART goals. Your goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. Have a plan on how to reach each goal.
9. Find the support you need. Talk to a family member or friend to get some encouragement and accountability.
10. Have fun! No matter how challenging it may be, you should have fun when trying to reach your fitness goals.
If you feel like you are struggling to keep your fitness resolutions, talk to your health professional. Together, they can come up with a realistic and achievable plan that will help you reach your goals.