If you made some New Year’s fitness resolutions, maybe you’ll stick to them. Maybe not. Maybe you plan to cut 10 pounds, finish a Tough Mudder, or enter your first triathlon. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. But rather than bowing out in the first quarter due to lack of motivation or willpower, separate yourself from the masses and actually stick to your resolutions. With a little guidance, you can transform aspirations into long-term habits that extend beyond the first few months of the new year. Here’s six tips plus one app to help you do just that.
Enlist a Buddy
We’re hard-wired to be social. It’s in our DNA. There’s no medal or reward for working out solo, day-in and day-out. Sure it’s cool to be self-sufficient and it’s nice to never work around someone else’s schedule, but the benefit of finding a workout buddy is that you’re more likely to stay consistent with your training (nobody wants to be the guy who bails). Plus, there’s a good chance you’ll actually have more fun than going at it alone.
Got your eye on a new surfboard or the latest GPS running watch? There’s no shame in that. It’s hard not to be seduced by all the latest fitness gear on the market. But put your money back in your pocket and make yourself wait 30 days. Say what? Yep, make a pact with yourself that you’ll get those new ski goggles only after you complete a month’s worth of consistent progress toward your new year’s fitness resolution. And then, once you’ve achieved that, reward yourself. Though it sounds strange, there’s nothing wrong with “encouraging” a disciplined mind.
Write Down Specific Goals
Bet you’ve heard this one a million times: Write your goals down. Have you actually done it? Doing so makes you think in detail about what it is you want to achieve. And rather than something generic, make your goals specific so you have a finish line to work toward. Reshape the typical “I want to get fit” resolution to something like, “I want to run a mile in under eight minutes and do 10 pull-ups.” Oh, and once you’ve come up with a couple of specific goals, put them where you have to look at them every single day, like on the fridge or on your bathroom mirror.
Use Social Media to Your Advantage
Some people love to hate on social media. They say it creates jealousy, FOMO (fear of missing out) and in some cases, depression. Well, there is a silver lining if you can use the platform to your advantage. Post about your fitness resolutions and goals: See if you don’t have more than a few of your friends and family (and even strangers if you have a public account) cheering you on. Who knows, you may even inspire some of them. Plus, there’s a key internal byproduct when we make our hopes and dreams public: accountability. If you tell your entire network about your plans to run a marathon in 2020, it makes it more difficult to skip a workout and potentially fall short. There’s something more compelling about lacing up, facing the elements — and then posting a photo post-run of your workout in the snow. Don’t believe it? At last count, 7.1 million posts on Instagram were posted with the hashtag #motivationmonday.
Sign Up for Something
Speaking of running a marathon, perhaps one of the best ways to stick to your fitness resolutions is to sign up for an event and get it on the calendar. Maybe it’s a marathon, maybe it’s a 5K. Not into running? That’s also not a deal-breaker. There are tons of adult sports leagues, yoga classes and boot camps that you can register for. Check with your local gym to find a list of upcoming classes.
Life happens. If you get sick and need to take a week off of training, or you get slammed at work and literally can’t carve out a block of time to get in the pool, acknowledge it and move on. Literally. Get back into your routine as soon as possible rather than staying away because of one small blip. Allow yourself to mess up rather than getting caught up in the need to be perfect.
Way of Life App
Spotify can help with motivating workout tunes (they’ve got an entire section of playlists under their Workout section). If you need another push, download the Way of Life App. It’s a simple and easy-to-use app that allows you to track anything and everything you can think of. Are you drinking enough water? Are you sticking to your weight training routine? The app helps you track your behavior and shows you trends via graphs over periods of time. It’s available for both iPhones and Android devices.
Erin McGrady is a freelance photographer-writer based in Asheville, N.C. Follow her adventures at authenticasheville.com and on Instagram at @e.mcgrady