Every year when January rolls around, we take an inward look at ourselves and say, “I can be better.” Either dissatisfied with our appearance, our behavior or our general fitness, we commit to improving ourselves.
But for most, making that change is more difficult in reality. Making a plan and sticking to it can be complicated. So the secret is, keep it simple. Here are a few ways to make sure your new year’s fitness resolution actually sticks:
One of the simplest ways to lean out and drop a few unnecessary pounds is to simply eat cleaner. Eating healthier doesn’t just help you drop body fat, but also to improve your focus and provide you with more energy during your workouts.
Start small. Change little things in your diet that can have big results. Try making a few minor changes like avoiding processed sugar or alcohol. Eliminate an item that you find to be your weakness.
And commit to not keeping things like dessert in your house. Other changes like bringing your lunch to work instead of eating out can be particularly effective.
Skip the scale
Another key to successfully changing your body is to develop a deeper understanding of what’s happening as you become fitter. I’m constantly amazed by how many people completely alter their body composition yet don’t recognize the improvement.
Measuring body fat can be a positive metric to analyze your improvement, but avoid the scale at all costs. Weight is just a number, and a deceiving number at that. It can make you question your process and your results. How quickly people forget that muscle weighs more than fat.
Two people that weigh the same can look entirely different. So when you start training and the fat starts melting off and the muscles start growing, don’t fall into the trap of worrying about why your weight hasn’t decreased. Trust in the process and at all costs, don’t trust the scale.
Alter your routine
One of the reasons people struggle with the process is they get stuck in a rut. The same workout each and every day. Pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone is incredibly difficult when your workout routine is simply lather, rinse, repeat.
One of the simplest ways to fast track your results is to find a better fitness program. Altering your training plan is one of the keys to improvement. Results plateau when you do the same thing over and over again. So unless you are in a program that constantly varies your training, you’ll struggle to take the next step.
Consistency is key to success, but consistency applies to your variance, not just to showing up every day. Find ways to always challenge your body.
Pick a challenge
Weight or fat loss isn’t a goal but rather a side effect. It can’t be the sole reason you train. You need other goals in order to find continued motivation. Finding the right reason to train can yield tremendously improved results.
You should lay out a training calendar with a few events over the course of the year indicating your true goals. Events that you know you have to train for. Events that maybe scare you just enough to put in the hard work on a regular basis. Select one event to train for in the short term (in the next three months), one about six months out and a long-term event nine months to a year away.
Having events on your calendar that you’re committed to will keep you focused and dedicated to your training throughout the year.
Train with company
Training alone can be tough. Motivation can be hard to come by. Not just to complete your workout each day but also to get the most out of each workout. With nobody there to keep you accountable, it can be easy to get complacent each day. Training partners can be key.
Find a studio where you can train in a group or a person sharing similar training goals to you. The creativity and intensity of your workouts will increase and the consistency, both daily and in each workouts quality will improve.
You’ll gain newfound inspiration and look forward to your daily sessions. No more monotony, no more plateaus. Other people can help you find a new strength you couldn’t tap into on your own.
Stop making excuses
The most critical key for fitness success comes down to this. You cannot make excuses. If you ever hear yourself saying, “I’m not sure I have the time,” you’re full of it. You’re just lying to yourself to find a way to avoid reaching those goals you’ve claimed to care so much about.
Make a calendar, write down your routine for each day. Your running days, your lifting days, the days you take classes. And stick to it. If money is your excuse, remember, we make money so we can spend it on the things we want. And your health is worth a lot more than your money. You can’t take it with you when you’re gone.
So spend it to extend your life as long as possible and maintain the highest possible quality of life. If perhaps you have another excuse, take a moment to realize that’s exactly what it is. An excuse. And then find a reason to disregard that excuse. You’ll be better for it.
It’s a new year and with it comes an opportunity to take a leap forward with your fitness. But that leap won’t happen if you don’t make some changes — small shifts in your behavior that could have a huge impact. Don’t repeat mistakes of past years. Make some alterations, to your goals, to your eating, to your routine and to your strategy and you may find 2018 is your healthiest year yet.