Set meaningful goals to achieve big fitness goals
“‘I want to lose weight’ or ‘I want to be more fit’ are aspirations, not goals,” says psychologist Susan David of Harvard Medical School in Boston. “A goal is something specific and measurable.”
Those goals also need to make sense to you personally. There’s a lot of cultural pressure to look a certain way or participate in trendy workouts, like Peloton, says Dr. David. Don’t compare yourself with others. She says focus on what’s important to you and what makes you feel good, rather than what everyone else is going through.
She says that achieving your fitness goals really comes down to making changes in your daily habits. “You need to have a strategy in place to meet your long-term goals,” says Dr. David.
I’ve learned to make a big New Year’s resolution, as well as a road map for how to achieve it by the end of the year. To stay on track, I’ve also come up with a few hacks, from buying new running shoes to booking vacations I need to train so I stay motivated. Here are 10 tips that will help you follow through with your 2022 fitness goal.
Create an environment that sets you up for success
If you cite your setting to encourage good habits, you’re more likely to follow through, Dr. David says. “Put your running shoes in front of the front door or lay your exercise clothes next to your bed to remind you of what you intend to do.”
guess the odds
We all have temptations that sabotage our workouts. Pay attention to situations that regularly cause you to skip workouts. If you know you’ll be exhausted after a late Zoom call and want to watch Netflix instead of exercise, commit to a short workout and then a movie, says Dr. David. More often than not, once you start moving you’ll feel better and exercise for longer than planned.
find your passion
Finding an activity that excites you is important. Every year I make a resolution to try a new sport or workout, be it golf or Zumba. Jill Henderzahs-Mason, a physical therapist at the Healthy Living Program with the Mayo Clinic Rochester, Minn., suggests adding new activities to your calendar monthly. If you have no idea what you’re passionate about, start by making a list of what you like and don’t like, says Chris Walloon, co-founder of the fitness company We Art of Wellness in Park City, Utah, and Miami. . , “If the thought of walking indoors sounds terrifying, it’s probably a sign that you’re an outsider and you should try a hike,” he says.
make it social
Whether you join a running club or commit to a weekly walk where you phone a friend to talk, that social commitment can help you stay on track. “Walking with a friend is one of the best things we can do for mental and physical health,” says Heather Harrington, co-owner of Compass Fitness in Denver. “You do physical exercise while letting go of your stress and worries.”
have a backup plan
I treat my workouts like work meetings and schedule them in my week. But that doesn’t mean that unexpected turns don’t unfold, derailing my good intentions. I’ve learned to make backup plans, so if my hour-long workout can’t happen, I have 40-, 30-, and 20-minute options for getting back home. I’ve taken many of those at-home workouts from recent columns.
Surround yourself with a supportive community
If you find yourself skipping workouts to join coworkers for Happy Hour or to join friends for a beer-soaked football-watching weekend, there are more health-minded people to help you stick to your routine. Might need to find friends. A workout buddy creates accountability and makes exercise a social affair. This could be a close friend or stranger who visits your boot camp regularly, says Ms. Harrington. She says that when you join a group class and miss a workout, people will reach out to you to ask where to hold you accountable.
invest in your workout
I know that if I splurge on a $25 yoga class reservation, I do everything in my power to make it to class. “If you’re motivated by money, prepaid classes and workouts can help you stick to your routine,” says Ms. Harrington. “Sign up in advance so it’s on your calendar.” Investing in expensive gear like new running shoes or a tricked out road bike can also be an incentive.
Make your workout a means to an end
There is exercise, and there is training. If I pay a race fee, I’m inclined to work out four days a week so I can do well in that 5k or half-marathon. If you’re not competitive, try to book a vacation around an activity that requires a certain level of fitness, whether it’s a weeklong hiking trip in Wyoming’s Grand Teton or skiing in Colorado. Have a trip
Gamify your workout
Gadgets and technology like Garmin, Fitbit and Strava allow you to track your workouts and compare your progress with yourself or with others, says Ms. Harrington. “If you know you’re encouraged by the competition, some of the latest tech-focused fitness gadgets can inspire you with regular performance updates,” she says.
pass yourself sometimes
Many times people don’t achieve goals because they have all or nothing, says Dr. David. Change is a process, and being compassionate towards yourself is important. “People think that keeping ourselves off the hook is a failure or a weakness, but it often gives us the ability to regroup and focus again,” says Dr. David.
share your thoughts
What are your tips for sticking to your resolutions? Join the conversation below.
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