Happy New Year! We hope you had a nice Christmas break and are looking forward to 2020.
As is traditional this month many of us resolve to live a little healthier, kick a bad habit or commit to learning something new. Interestingly, this resolution setting tradition goes back to the time of the Babylonians and was continued by the Romans as they made promises of good conduct for the coming year to Janus, the god of beginnings and endings.
Today, New Year’s resolutions can be an important part of our lives, helping us to self-reflect, to set personal goals and serve as a health and wellness check-up. So how do we set great goals and turn them into habits that will see us through the year?
Here are our top tips:
1. Time for self-reflection
Often New Year’s resolutions are made on a whim, when we have reached our tolerance limit after the excess of Christmas. Once the festivities have calmed, our bodies need time to recover from the blood sugar dips and tiredness which can leave us feeling anxious, moody and down. And this isn’t the best time to set great, realistic achievable New Year goals.
Instead, this year take some time to reflect on what you have achieved in 2019, what needs to change in 2020 and why this year will be different. Go for a walk, try some breathing exercises or simply have a long hot bath and reconnect with yourself. Think about:
- What did you do in the past year?
- Where you made progress and what was holding you back?
- What do you want to be different in a year from now?
2. Set specific goals
Next, it’s time to get specific. Research has shown that those who make specific commitments for the year ahead are more likely to be successful in actually implementing them. Shortlist the resolutions that are most important to you.
Write these down and then map out the steps it will take to get you there. If you break down these into a month by month list with one line items you are scientifically more likely to increase your motivation to complete each one by one.
So, for example, if your goal is to lose weight and exercise more in 2020 your list for January might look like the following:
- Go for a 20-minute walk three times every week throughout January
- Download a health and fitness app and start tracking calorie intake and exercise
- Aim to drink 8 glasses of water a day
- Limit high sugar snacks to twice a week
- Buy new trainers
- Book a guest pass at the local gym
Allow for flexibility in the list and edit it as you need to throughout the month. Then build on January’s success and create a new one for the next month and so on.
3. Motivating yourself to complete each step
Then it’s time to actually implement your plan. Make sure to write each of the steps from your monthly list into a diary, notebook or app in the form of a checklist. Take your time doing this as it will be an invaluable tool in helping to motivate you.
Checking items off checklists actually releases small amounts of dopamine in our brains that motivate us to keep checking off more items. Amazingly, we humans are fuelled by progress!
And be sure to share your goals with family and friends who will essentially act as your support network. Pick the people who will be the best source of emotional support for you, for example, someone who you know you can complain to without judgement or someone who will cheer you up when you’re finding a particular step on the journey tough-going.
4. Reward rich experiences
So you have taken the time to self-reflect, thought about the goals you can realistically achieve and have written them down. Then you have spent time creating checklists and started ticking off the easy ones. But how do you sustain this willpower and keep it going throughout the year?
The answer is creating reward-rich experiences. For example, if your goal is to exercise more and improve your fitness try joining a group exercise class, a sports team or working out with a friend. Research has shown that by linking social connections to the activity itself our brain views the interactions as more enjoyable and rewarding. Find something you really enjoy doing and it won’t feel like a task.
Why not try some new classes and find some that are both fun and challenging to keep you motivated to attend every week.
5. Stay on track
Finally, by tracking progress we naturally become more purposeful about the task at hand. And when we can see the value in what we have done, ie start to see small improvements or successes, it keeps us motivated to keep going.
For example, a lot of people who aim to lose weight often feel disheartened within a few weeks of starting a new health and fitness plan because they aren’t seeing results. However, it could be that they are not using the correct measurements to track their progress.
At Gym Plus, we help members to understand their body composition and teach them how to effectively monitor and measure their progress in the gym. Using the Tanita body composition scales and the FitSense App, you can track your overall weight and:
- Body fat %
- Metabolic Age
- Water retention %
- Visceral fat
- Bone density
Furthermore, we provide all members with a free check-up every six weeks with a Gym Plus trainer to help monitor your progress and keep your programme fresh and challenging.
Finally, remember over time, it’s the consistency that strengthens your willpower and will help you to see your goals through to the end. In fact, research has shown that willpower, just like a muscle, can be strengthened over time. The important thing is you keep going, show up each week and create a healthy routine that fits into your lifestyle.
Become a member of Gym Plus in January and save €39 with NO JOINING FEE and make your New Year’s resolutions a reality in 2020.
You will fit right in at Gym Plus. Gym Plus is a warm, welcoming and diverse community who help each other to achieve their goals, through friendly trainers, teamwork and technology. Want to try us out for free first? Grab a guest pass HERE.