We’ve seen this story countless times—motivation is at an all-time high for those first few weeks.
Everything is operating according to plan and then a couple of weeks into the new year, the normal ebbs and flows of life have taken its effect.
Next thing you know, the gym is an afterthought and those healthy eating habits have turned back into convenient junk food and pretend healthy dinners.
But, this isn’t your fault. At this time of the year, people are emotionally susceptible to biting off more than they can chew.
At times, ambition is more of a detriment than an ally. Ambition can lead you to make decisions for the now with no consideration for the later.
Making New Year resolutions are inevitable and valuable. Here are 5 tips to keep in mind as you strive to become healthier and fitter in the next year.
1. Front load your work
From work, family, partners, leisure events, and unexpected events—there’ll always be something that is vying for your attention.
Knowing that life and other commitments can get in the way of your fitness, the best thing that you can do is to future proof your fitness.
To future proof your fitness requires that you front load your work and prepare ahead of time for potential obstacles and distractions.
For example, if you know that getting to the gym after work is difficult, then pack your gym clothes and head there immediately after work instead of needing to go home first. If you have a busy work schedule which makes weekly cooking difficult, then stack the conditions in your favor and meal prep on Sunday to cover yourself for a few days.
Have trouble making time for exercising? Schedule your workouts into your calendar just as you schedule doctor appointments, business meetings, and meet ups.
2. Don’t break the chain
When starting an exercise habit, the most important element is to develop some consistency with it. Jerry Seinfeld at the beginning of his career made a commitment to write one joke a day.
Each day he wrote a joke, he would mark an ‘x’ on his calendar and this meant he was successful for the day. The joke could be awful, but at least he did it.
If you want to make daily exercise a habit, commit to 20 minutes a day in the form of walking, lifting weights, or just something to get your body in motion.
With your nutrition, commit to drinking 8 glasses of water a day or having 5 servings of vegetables. As long as you do something, mark an ‘x’ and keep extending the chain.
3. Make a commitment to playing the long-term game
Playing the long term game is one of the biggest advantages that you can give yourself to succeeding in the long run with health and fitness.
When you play the long term game, you give yourself clarity about what exactly it is you want. Playing the long term game prevents you from chasing short term thrills that only place you further away from the goal in the long run.
A couple of strategies to keep you playing the long-term game is to.
• Ask yourself why three times before making an impulsive decision. This allows you to dig a little deeper into why you think you want to make this particular decision.
• Ask yourself “does this particular decision benefit me in the long run?” If not, then it’s an easy “no”.
4. Find a routine that you love
I’m a big nerd who grew up playing video games. Fitness to me is the same as playing an RPG (role playing game) where you choose your own adventure.
There isn’t one specific way to beat the game (i.e. your fitness goal). But instead, there is a multitude of ways to reach your end goal and it’s mainly up to you to decide which way fits your liking and style.
Many diets will work to help you lose weight. However, not all diets will work with your specific lifestyle and food preferences. This is where your focus needs to lie. Decide which dietary plan suits your palate and caters to your specific lifestyle and fitness goals.
5. Implement the 1% diet
Many of us want to go from zero to one-hundred with a flick of the wrist. With the various Instagram transformations and other rags to riches stories, this seems like the norm. However, instant transformations are anything but that. As I teach in my courses and have learned the hard way personally, slow and steady trumps large leaps and overly-restricted regiments.
Yes, it may work for the short term to implement restrictive planning, but what about the long term. A healthy lifestyle is a game that lasts a lifetime, not just for a few weeks.
Start each day with the objective of only improving by a small percentage (1%).
This entails that you’re taking small and painless steps to becoming a healthier you and most importantly, this increases your likelihood of sustaining and accomplishing your New Year fitness resolution goals.
1% may seem insignificant in the short term, but what about thirty days from now, sixty days, and even a year from now. Now that’s something substantial that will transform your health and life.
Originally published on The Huffington Post.
Photo: Getty Images