January is the easiest month to stay fit. The juices are still running, the resolutions are still fresh and the targets look achievable. You cut down on carbs and sugar, work out to videos downloaded from YouTube or register at your local gym or sign up for spin class. You’re on fire! Every tweet and post has #FitFam in it. You look with disdain at ice cream and turn your nose at chocolate. Nothing can stop you.
Now that we are in February, you can see the benefits of your sacrifices. You don’t puff as much climbing up the stairs to your office, your thighs no longer catch fire within the first ten minutes of your video workout and you can walk past the pizza place without sparing it a glance. You’ve made it, right? Wrong. This is the time to be most careful because it’s when you tend to become less vigilant about keeping up the routine. And once your vigilance levels drop, you slowly slide back into bad habits.
Why do you think most #FitFam goals rarely make it past January?
Here a few tips to help you stick to the plan and achieve your fitness goals.
- Keep it simple: Don’t try to do too much at once. Pick the exercises that you enjoy and don’t involve going long distances, like dancing or skipping. This way you can build up to more strenuous exercises, like running and long distance walking, especially if you haven’t exercised for a long time. You can also work your exercise into your daily routine; like stopping one bus stop away from yours and walk the rest of the way or run up the stairs instead of just thumping wearily.
- Use good habits to overcome bad ones: Habits take a long time to form and one month is not enough time to get rid of them. One of the ways to get rid of bad habits (like eating late, not drinking enough water, etc) is to form new ones to replace them. For example, you can add making your dinner before leaving for work in the morning to your daily routine. So when you return home, you don’t need to start planning a meal on the spot. Plan your workout days/times. Don’t beat yourself too much when you fail, just don’t give up. Remember, habits take a long time to form.
- Get a friend involved in your plan: Having someone who shares the same fitness goals is a sure way to keep going. You can make plans and check on each other’s progress, and encourage each other as well. A little external prodding doesn’t hurt.
- Turn your fitness goals into a lifestyle: Fitness goals can sometimes have an expiry date. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. While your goal might be to loss a certain amount of weight over a period of time, there is a chance that once that time passes and you achieve your goal, you’ll put the weight back on.