If you’re the type of person who makes New Year’s Resolutions, we can almost bet that 90% of you have included “do more exercise” on your list. That’s because we clearly all know that part of a healthy balanced lifestyle includes regular exercise, but come February: so many of us have abandoned our ambitious plans.
Why is that? There are a number of reasons, so let’s clear those up right now, and find ways to address them:
- You make them too ambitious/unrealistic. “EXERCISE EVERY DAY” you scribble down on your list of resolutions. But then, life gets in the way and you find yourself only exercising twice a week and then not at all. Make your plans realistic: if you don’t exercise at all, schedule in three sessions per week and get that under your belt before you even think about increasing that number. Consistency is more important than anything, so keep at it.
- You’re not ready to change your habits. You can make all the resolutions in the world but if you’re not mentally ready or excited to change your habits, you simply won’t be able to keep them. If you’re planning on waking up 45 minutes early to exercise, have you mentally prepared yourself to turn off the alarm clock and hop out of bed? Spend some time considering these changes, motivating yourself mentally to take physical action.
- They’re not specific enough. It’s all very well saying “exercise more”, but this is too vague to be helpful. Get into the nitty gritty and write down “go for a 30 minute run three times a week” instead, so you can plan specific activities that achieve your wider goal.
- Think small. Running a marathon is a noble goal but will seem unachievable if you’re currently doing a couple of 5km runs a week. Set smaller goals like “complete a 10km by April” and then once you’ve done that, set the next goal, working closer and closer to your marathon dream.
- Be accountable. When you’re only accountable to yourself, most of us are more likely to quit or abandon our plans. Find a friend with similar exercise goals to you this year, discuss them and make a concrete plan as a team, scheduling weekly sessions together.
- Celebrate successes. Humans are simple creatures really, and we like to be rewarded for our behaviour! Whether it’s booking a pedicure as a reward for a full month’s exercise or buying yourself a new pair of gym pants once you’ve done that first 10km race, celebrating small milestones will help you achieve much bigger ones.
Write down your exercise resolutions and pin them somewhere you can see them every day, like on the fridge, on your mirror or on a noticeboard in your living area. Above all, have fun exercising and soon it will seem like less of a chore, and more a positive part of your healthy and happy life.