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The Fitness Zone

Should I Be Making a Fitness New Years Resolution?
December 17, 2015

It’s the last day of the year. You’re on the cusp of a fresh 365 day period where anything is possible.

Have you made your new year’s resolution?

The New Year’s fitness resolution

Around the world, new health and fitness regimes are the most popular type of New Year resolutions people will make. We all know that vowing to do something at midnight on the 31st of December doesn’t magically improve our chances of achieving our goals, but it doesn’t implore us to reflect on our past selves and think about what more we want to achieve.

What were the highlights of last year? What mistakes did you make? What needs to be changed? What to you want to achieve?

Our ambassadors and fitness experts know a thing or two about productive goal setting, and have teamed up to bring you their thoughts on New Year's resolutions that focus on health and fitness goals.

“New year’s resolutions are great for some people”, says current Australian Institute of Fitness student and ambassador Hayden Quinn, “but I don’t like to push myself around that time of year because it’s the only chance I get to re-charge.”

What Hayden does recommend is using the holiday period to start planning how you are going to achieve your goals for the year ahead. “Use the downtime to find a group of people that also want to run 10km or do 10 chin-ups for example,” Hayden says. Whether it’s a Facebook group message to encourage each other through or a weekly gym session together, ensure you take the time to make a plan for success.

Australian Institute of Fitness graduate and ambassador Michelle Bridges suggests limiting how much you take on. “Set no more than one or two goals for the New Year” says Michelle, who advocates a balanced approach to change.

“We have all tried the ‘all or nothing’ approach, and it doesn’t work,” she says, “so it’s important that you set yourself up for success this year.”

But how can you avoid throwing in the towel come March?

Michelle recommends us to “embrace when the wheels fall off.” It’s fine to let go of focus - you’re human after all. Keep this in mind, as it may influence what New Year's resolutions you have and how you decided to implement them.

Australian Institute of Fitness Master Coach Thamsin Dunn says resolutions aren’t the problem. “Many people will tell you that New Year’s Resolutions don’t work,” Thamsin says, “but it’s not the resolution that doesn’t work – it’s you.”

You need to avoid the emotional rush that’s typical of this time of year, and instead ask yourself some tough questions.

“Find out why the goal is important, how you will achieve it, who will help you and when you want to see results by,” Thamsin says, “only then can you formulate a realistic path to success.”

So, what is the best way to achieve your New Year fitness goals? There are a few key things to consider to ensure you choose your goals wisely and make sure they are attainable.

Stay motivated

There are so many great tips out there which can help you stay motivated. Popular ones include using an old photo of your former self to compare progress to, and including the weight you’d like to achieve in your goal. Another popular tip is having a role model whose physique, motivation and dedication you aspire to have yourself.

These suggested tips will inspire you to have goals and motivate you to reach them, but achieving success will also require discipline from your end.

Discipline will help you maintain your momentum even when your motivation is low, will strengthen your willpower overtime, and inevitably help you reach your goals. When determining your goals, set a schedule you’ll stick to and force yourself to carry through with your schedule, even when your motivation levels are at an all time low.

Build habits

When you want to make a change to your lifestyle, it’s not always the best option to quit something ‘cold turkey’ and make immediate, massive changes to your lifestyle. These kinds of changes are likely to be too restrictive compared to your current way of living, and inevitably you’ll most likely give up and revert to your old ways.

Instead, work towards your ultimate goal by creating small habits and changes you can easily maintain. Slowly adopt more and more overtime, and eventually you will shape the lifestyle you truly want for yourself. For example, one way you could improve the quality and nutritional value of your food is to pack your own lunch during the workweek. You can slowly progress into making this a habit by doing it everyday.

Change your environment

Whether you realise it or not, there will be things in your immediate environment that influence how you feel and will react to your fitness changes and health goals. Start your journey by looking at the things around you. Make a note of your environment, both at work and home, and remove things that might hinder progress.

If you want to cut down on your sugar levels, it’s important you remove confectionaries and other sugary treats from your line of sight in your home (or stop buying them at all). Making a small change like this will help you to stick to your bigger goal.

Invest in some joggers and work out clothes. Hang or store them in your bedroom where you can see them. This will trigger your memory and remind you of your New Year’s resolution - and will ultimately be one trick to keep you on track. 

This content is not intended to be used as individual health or fitness advice divorced from that imparted by medical, health or fitness professionals. Medical clearance should always be sought before commencing an exercise regime. The Institute and the authors do no take any responsibility for accident or injury caused as a result of this information.

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