With the New Year upon us, it seems resolutions are on everyone’s minds with hashtags, tweets, and facebook statuses proclaiming new fitness and healthy-living goals for 2014.
Unfortunately, however, many people make the mistake of attempting to make too many drastic changes with their New Year’s goals. The key to changing habits is making small changes and focusing on one thing at a time.
Here are 9 easy ways you can move toward your 2014 fitness goals.
1. Make your goal so small (at first) that you can’t mess up.
The mistake many people make after the new year is dreaming too big. Now don’t get me wrong – vision is super important – but if you shoot too high you will only get discouraged. The key is to start small, build consistency and confidence, and then increase your goal.
Want to form a running habit? Try running just 10 minutes a day. Yoga? Do 10-minute yoga routines. Once you master those, move on to something more challenging.
2. Focus on exercise that you ENJOY.
Too many people make exercise a chore, something that they have to do to say they did it or to lose extra weight.
Wrong wrong wrong.
You should exercise because you love it. Intrinsic motivation should drive you. Begin by doing the exercise that you love. Once you begin letting joy guide you, you will be exercising more often in no time.
3. Hold yourself accountable.
Many people make the mistake of keeping their goals to themselves, but all keeping your goal a secret does is decrease the likelihood that you will meet it.
Instead, try joining a support group. Tell your friends or family. Once you tell someone, either virtually or in real life, you will be more motivated to get it done, whatever it is.
4. Choose consistency over length of workouts.
It’s a mistake to workout for 5 hours once a week, when you could exercise 30 minutes a day. Consistency helps build a habit, and helps your body grow accustomed to exercise regularly.
Choose small, consistent workouts over long, irregular ones.
5. Reward yourself with [healthy] positive reinforcements.
Psychology teaches us that positive reinforcements are more motivating than negative ones. If you want to build a habit, encourage the habit you want to build.
Love smoothies? Reward yourself with a low-sugar fruit smoothie, not a 700-calorie sugar bomb. Love chocolate? Reward yourself with some healthy dark chocolate, not an entire package of Oreos. Love socializing? Reward yourself with just one or two low-calorie cocktails with coworkers after work.
6. Focus on ONE fitness goal at a time.
One of the cons to big dreaming is the desire to take on too much. The trouble with this is that the more goals you add, the easier it becomes to get distracted from your goals.
There is only so much energy that can be invested in goal-setting; the more goals there are, the more limited the energy. Instead, pick one goal to focus on, and add more when you accomplish that one.
7. Write it down.
Studies upon studies have supported the power writing down goals has. They key is to write down what you want to accomplish.
Want to form a running habit? Write: I will run for 20 minutes every day. Yoga? I will attend yoga class 3 times a week. Then, DO IT.
8. Be specific.
A mistake many people make is producing over-generalized goals. They might say “I want to be fitter” or “I want to get better at yoga.”
Instead, make your goal as specific as possible, breaking it down into small steps. Include how many times per week, what exercise, how long, and any other relevant details.
9. Cultivate a positive mindset.
Positivity is the key to any ambitious vision. Without positivity, you can’t achieve nearly as much. A positive attitude becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: when you believe you can accomplish something, you make the attempt, and put in the work necessary to get it done.
Try soaking up positive quotes, videos, and mantras to motivate yourself to accomplish your goals.
What do you do to stick to your fitness goals?