If December is the month of excess, then January is the time to purge.
Or at least that’s the theory. But if that is the case, why do so many people fail to stay on track with their new year commitments to lose weight, get fit and generally get into a better routine?
Rather than throw out your good intentions with the last of the chocolate wrappers, the following tips will help you to establish a routine that will support you in achieving your 2016 fitness goals.
Find an activity that you enjoy
Exercise is difficult. It makes your muscles ache, it leaves you short of breath and sometimes it even hurts. That’s why it’s essential you find a form of exercise that you enjoy. There’s no point pounding the pavements if running isn’t your thing. That’s a sure fire way to put you off exercise for good. There are so many ways to get fit, from attending fitness classes to increasing how much you move in any given day. The key is to find the kind of exercise that you like; the kind you look forward to doing and motivates you to push yourself a little further each time.
Schedule your workouts as you would any other appointment
The thing about working out is that you need to make the active decision to do it. It’s far too easy to use the ‘I’m too tired/stressed/busy to workout’ excuses. That’s why you should schedule exercise time and, where possible, stick to it. If you tell yourself you are going to go to the gym every Monday and Thursday at 7pm, put it in your diary and do it. Treat it as an appointment that can’t be moved and that will help it to become a habit. The more regularly you do something the more likely it will be to become part of your weekly routine.
Set realistic goals
Slow and steady wins the race. Set goals that are achievable and you will be so much more likely to reach them. If you tell yourself you’re going to exercise five times each week and you only manage to workout twice, you’ll end up feeling deflated and disappointed that you didn’t achieve your goal. This will make it much more likely that you give up rather than form positive habits.
You can improve your fitness without even leaving your living room
You don’t need an expensive gym membership or fancy equipment to keep fit. You can improve your fitness from the comfort of your very own living room. The internet is choc-full of free fitness videos, blogs and guides with ways to achieve your goals without even leaving the house. Knowing you don’t need to fork out your hard earned cash to establish a good fitness routine can sometimes be the most motivating factor.
Keep track of your achievements and reward yourself
For those of us with smartphones, there’s a smorgasbord of apps out there to help you get into a fitness routine. From those that track how many steps you take in a day, to the ones that help you keep track of your calorie intake, these tools are useful for giving you a better impression of how fit you are and what shape your eating habits are in. They’re also great for highlighting your achievements, and reaching your daily target can be infectious and motivate you to do the same or more the next day. As you get in the habit of monitoring these applications, you’ll become more aware of what it takes to establish a good health and fitness routine and enable you to stick to it.
The steps above are all strategies I’ve implemented to help me establish and maintain my approach to fitness. For me, it’s not about losing weight but being fit, healthy and the best possible version of myself. I hope you will find them useful too and they will help you establish a fitness routine that is both fun and manageable.
Chiara is an editor who likes the simple things in life; a cup of tea by the fire, travel, and spending time with friends and family. She also can’t resist the lure of Scandinavian decor and has a penchant for anything warm and cosy. You can find out more about Chiara and follow her adventures on her blog, Wine and Olives.