January 7, 2016 at 11:57 am EST | by Gerard Burley
New year, new who?
healthier, gay news, Washington Blade

Adopting a healthier lifestyle is not always a one-year goal, but is something we achieve over time.

Every new year brings with it a sea of possibilities and so here we are once again.

A Nielsen poll reported that more than 60 percent of people last year made resolutions to be healthier in 2015 and 2016 is shaping up the same way. Something about the new year brings a thought that we can somehow achieve things that we never have because this time will be different.

As a personal trainer and fitness coach, this is the time when I see lots of newbies ready to make a change, many who tell me how they fell off the wagon the year prior. Over the years I’ve collected a few crucial tools to help people overcome the lose weight/gain weight, workout/don’t workout, eat healthy/eat unhealthy new years’ yoyo that so many people will go through in the next 30 days. Follow these tools to have a more successful and healthier 2016.

It’s all mental

I know you don’t want to hear this, but it really is way more mental than physical. I swear the actual training of clients is the easy part. Motivating people to want to or care to do it is the hardest part.

The best mental tool or task you can start with is asking yourself why. Why do you want to lose weight?  Why do you want to look better? Why do you want to feel better? Do you really want to be healthier? These are questions people rarely ask themselves before starting a fitness journey and if they do, they many times barely scratch the surface. The answer of, “I want to lose weight because I want to look better” is not the answer that’s going to keep you committed when day 15 comes and it gets hard to stay on track.

You must dig deeper into the whys and feel the emotions that come from how you currently feel. A better answer is, “I want to lose weight because when I am overweight, I lack confidence and don’t feel comfortable in my skin,” or “I want to eat healthier because I want to set a better example for my kids and be around when they get older.” I suggest getting a card for each of your goals and writing down that goal on one side. On the other side you should write down why you want to achieve that goal and make it as real and close to the heart as possible. Post this card by your bed or keep it in your wallet, but definitely put it somewhere where you will see it often. This visual reminder will help you to stay on track when it gets tough.

Build a support system

This may be a close second in importance to success. A supportive network is so important to helping you stay on track and to achieve your goals. One thing I love about Weight Watcher’s, besides that Oprah is now part of it, is that they have meetings where you gain the support of other people. A big part of this may be you figuring out what type of support you need personally. Having a bunch of friends with six packs who workout all the time might not be the support you need.

Maybe joining a group of people who are at different stages of their fitness and weight loss journeys may be better. Maybe working with a paid professional to help walk you step-by-step to your goal may be better. Remember there’s nothing wrong with asking for help.

Your physician can always refer you to nutritionist, psychiatrist, personal trainers and other professionals to help you build your support team. Most people who start working with a professional wonder why they didn’t get help earlier. What type of help you need will depend on your personality and how you are motivated. I’d encourage you to seek support from various networks to help you to stay on task. Meetup.com has a lot of different nutrition and workout groups that can be a great source to meet new people who may work for you.

Plan to fail

I know this sounds weird. Why would you go into a new goal planning to fail? But at times you will fail. When achieving any goal, especially health-related ones, there will always be setbacks, that’s just how life goes. How you handle the setbacks are the true test of if you will reach your goals.

A lot of people go into their resolutions thinking about how they will be super successful, but few think about how they will bounce back from slip-ups.

It happens a lot. You say you’re going to workout five days a week, but then in that third week you fall off. In the fourth week instead of getting back on the plan, you feel bad, end up reverting back to the comfort of food and sedentary lifestyle of before, and voila: bye-bye new year’s resolution. Take time to think of ways that will help to get you back into the regimen. If eating healthier is your goal, maybe you will get back on track by subscribing to a healthy food delivery system like 80fresh.com. If your goal is to workout more consistently, then maybe your plan will be to hire a fitness coach to get you back in the swing of things and keep you accountable. Whatever your plan is, plan to have one.

For most people this is the one time of year that they will reflect deeply about how they can live better, but the truth of the matter is that most people won’t achieve their goals. This is because the majority of people won’t have strong tools to help them achieve them. Adopting a healthier lifestyle is not always a one-year goal, but is something we achieve over time. I wish you success this new year with all your resolutions.

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