Let me guess, you did that thing where you ran out the door on 2nd January, full of post-Christmas guilt and good intentions, then you joined a gym. Along with about a million other people. This year is going to be your year right? The year you master wellness, get buff, skinny, happy, bootylicious etc?
Well you’ve done something great already. Well done! By taking the plunge, you’ve already started your journey. You’ll never win if you don’t begin. But why do most of us start the year so well and sink into old habits by about mid February? Why are gyms crammed to bursting with eager souls right now and comparatively empty come March?
This wellness guide is meant to help you be one of those who really succeed in their health and fitness aims this year. We’ll help you understand what it takes to turn resolutions into results and make the kind of long term, sustainable changes that really do make dreams come true.
Sustainable Effort Makes Dreams Come True
Health and fitness is a journey, for most people it is a lifelong journey with no definite end, even though there may be significant milestones along the way. It is certainly the kind of journey that’s more a marathon than a sprint. One of the key reasons people fail to achieve what they want from their January gym sign up is unrealistic expectations combined with uneven levels of effort.
Starting out working out 7 days a week and living exclusively on grilled chicken, boiled kale and water is just not going to carry through the entire 365 days of the year. Particularly not if you came from a relatively normal lifestyle beforehand where you had friends, family and tastebuds.
As you get used to your new regime, you can always scale up a bit if you feel you can. This will make you feel you have achieved even more. Whereas scaling down from the 7 day sweat, chicken and cow fodder plan, even by one workout a week, feels like failure and may put you off altogether.
Action Point: Set yourself a couple of achievable goals that you’ll be able to stick to all year. Maybe work out 3 or 4 times a week and commit to having a healthy lunch each day but keeping the rest of your diet more or less the same.
What Gets Measured Gets Done
In this era of wearable tech and there being an app for everything, it’s really easier than ever for us to measure and track our progress. This is far more than just a vanity exercise. That which gets measured gets done. And there’s nothing more motivating than seeing your progress tracked over time. Maybe you started out walking a kilometre and now you can run 5. Maybe you started squatting with an empty bar and now you can do your own bodyweight. Whatever success looks like to you, recording your incremental gains on a goal will make you far more likely to achieve it.
Whilst getting moving in one form or another is central to most wellness plans, it’s not all about numbers of sit-ups or how quickly you can do 50 lengths of a pool. You’ll need to have an honest heart to heart with yourself about how you want to think, feel and behave as well as how you look or perform.
Action Point: Decide the 5 most important things you want to measure about your health, fitness and wellbeing in 2018. This can be anything from cholesterol levels, to your Monday morning moods, to timings and weights in your workouts. Then find a way you find easy to track them each day and week. For some this will be a trusty notebook, others will prefer a high tech wristband that talks to their phone. There is no right way, only what works for you.
Wellness Habits Take Time To Build
Don’t expect to go from couch potato to bikini model overnight. When the fitness industry says new year, new you, they mean the whole year, not just January. Wellness habits take time to bed in and become part of your life. Results that last are also results that take longer than 6 weeks to achieve. Be patient with yourself and realistic about what you can expect to see and when. Here’s a rough guide:
- Measure performance in weeks
- Measure appearance in months
- Measure mental state in quarters
- For your big goals, be prepared to see the full year pass before you tick them off.
Action Point: Make a note in your calendar to check back on your targets over a realistic time frame as advised above. You’ll be amazed at the change if you stop watching the scale daily and let yourself focus on what you’re doing each day, being in the moment rather than fretting about the future.
Don’t Go It Alone
Whether you make new fitness buddies at your favourite classes or enlist a friend or family member to support your new fitness cause, don’t go it alone. If you work with others you are far more likely to succeed. Joining a fitness club like Gym Plus gives you unlimited access to 1:1 training support from a team of friendly, supportive and motivational fitness professionals. But even of you don’t have that on tap, you can still build your own wellbeing support network and lean on them when the going gets tough.
Action Point: Decide who’s on your health and fitness speed dial, clue them in to your goals for the year and the fact that you need them to be with you for the long haul.
We hope that 2018 is a happy, healthy and wonderful year for you and everyone else you know!