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What’s Wrong With Your New Year’s Resolution

What’s Wrong With Your New Year’s Resolution

Hitting the gym is by far the most popular New Year’s resolution out there. Everybody wants to get fit, and we all want to make sure that our friends know about our goals. That is, until gym visits become less and less frequent, and that New Year’s resolution turns into a New Year’s flop.

Instead of setting a vague, boring resolution about going to the gym more often, why not set a specific goal? Aim to do something that is either gonna happen or not happen, with no half-hearted middle ground. Here’s everything you need to know about setting a clear, achievable New Year’s resolution, and going through with it all the way.

Be Specific

Here’s a bad New Year’s resolution: I’m going to be better about my health. It’s bad for a few reasons, but it’s worst offense is vagueness. Vague resolutions have no clear terms or ending conditions. Going through with them isn’t very satisfying because you can never quite tell when you’re finished, and when you’ve achieved your goals.

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Unclear goals aren’t as good for you either. In the example above, doing better about your health could mean any number of things, and none of them are necessarily big changes. It could just mean that I’ll eat less candy which, while good for me, isn’t that big of a change in my lifestyle. I could do a lot better just by aiming to achieve a more specific goal, like finishing a triathlon by the end of the year.

Find a resolution that interests you and has a clear finish. Something like I’m going to finish an Ironman race this year has an unmistakable ending. You’ll have satisfied your goal when you complete that Ironman.

Aim High

Lofty goals like the Ironman will be great for you whether you achieve them or not. Just training for a triathlon will be a lot better for you than eating less candy, even if you don’t end up getting to the finish.

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Aiming high doesn’t have to mean picking some seemingly unattainable goal, and the challenges that your resolutions give you don’t always have to be centered around hard workouts and stressful diets. Whether your resolution is to go big with a Coast to Coast Walk, or hit a moderate goal like hiking in Torrey Pines, picking something that challenges and betters you is what matters.

Find the right resolution that will challenge you in areas that you want to improve, and set unmistakable goal posts to track your progress.

Prove It

New Year’s resolutions are most well-known for how often people fail at them. Setting up a means of proving your success, both to yourself and others, makes you stand out and keeps you honest. Something like a personal vlog is a great way to keep yourself accountable and celebrate your success, or learn from your failures, with others. By vlogging weekly about your progress, you leave a record that you can use to go back and see how far you’ve come. You will also build an audience that you don’t want to disappoint and that sense of responsibility can help motivate you when the going gets tough.

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Who knows, you might even become the next Youtube star. Internet sensations have certainly erupted around less noble causes.

Plan Ahead

New Year’s resolutions are made at the very start of the year, usually in the dead of winter. For most people, though, this is one of the worst times to make progress on a New Year’s resolution, especially a dynamic one that involves more than just hitting the gym. It’s going to be hard to train for that triathlon in sub-zero temperatures.

By using your time wisely you can take care of some essential prep work without boring yourself to death on a treadmill. For example, if you’ve never done a triathlon before, you probably don’t know what kind of wetsuit you’ll need for the swimming portion. The perfect time to research this kind of stuff is when you’re stuck at home, so you don’t find yourself unequipped the day before the race.

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Making commitments now can also help you incentivize yourself to put in the work when the weather improves. If you’ve done a lot of prep in the winter, you won’t want to let that work go to waste when springs rolls around.

New Year’s resolutions are famous for not getting done. But, now you know everything that you need to do to make sure that your New Year’s goal doesn’t become another New Year’s flop.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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