- Kelly Sundstrom For the AJC
The new year is quickly approaching, and with it follows your usual list of resolutions that probably includes starting a workout routine. You may have attempted (perhaps unsuccessfully) to keep a health-focused resolution in the past in order to lose weight, feel great and have more energy. However, for one reason or another, your plans fell through and you ended up falling back into your old, comfortable routine.
If you wonder why keeping a New Year's resolution to work out never seems to work out, you're not alone. In fact, it's estimated that 80 percent of people give up their New Year's resolutions by February. Don't let this statistic include you. To really let this be the year you finally take control of your health and fitness, it's important to change the way you're approaching your goals.
Before you get started, shift your mindset with these tips to help you succeed.
Find your ideal workout fit.
Not everyone is destined to become a competitive runner, yoga guru or weightlifting champion. To really stick with a fitness plan, it's important to discover the exercise method that you enjoy and that works best for you. This might mean that you'll need to try out a few workout styles before settling on one. To start off your resolution, schedule many different workouts during the week. One day you could try speed walking around your neighborhood, and another day you can join in on a kickboxing class. After a few weeks, you'll get to know which exercises feel the most enjoyable, effective and functional for your body.
The biggest hurdle is just getting started.
When it comes to sticking to a fitness resolution, it's all about motivation. Getting started is the hardest part, but motivation builds quickly once you actually get your body moving. Create a plan that includes a motivational booster to jumpstart your interest in working out. For some people, wearing the proper workout clothes can help them get in the workout mood. For others, it could mean driving straight to the gym without letting any negative thoughts sabotage your plans. Whatever you can do to simply get yourself started can make all the difference.
Make exercise a priority.
You could find a hundred and one things to do in a day, especially if you're running after little children and balancing a busy work schedule. However, in order to succeed at your fitness goals, you have to make exercise a priority, just like everything else in your life. This might mean changing how you view working out, and how important it is to fit into your daily routine.
Enjoy your cool down.
A lot of people think that cooling down isn't necessary, and they end up skipping this vital part of an exercise routine. Not only is cooling your body down beneficial to your cardiovascular system, but it also helps your muscles and joints become more flexible and less prone to injury. Cooling down can also help you stick with a workout plan because you can treat it like a reward for a job well done. Make sure to set aside at least 5 minutes to stretch, relax and breathe after each workout.
Fitness is a journey, not a destination.
Perhaps the most important tip to help you follow through with your New Year's resolution to exercise and stay fit is to think of your goals as a journey, not a destination. Achieving lasting weight loss and fitness is a lifestyle choice, not just a short-term goal to lose a few pounds before summer. Enjoy every workout, every bead of sweat, knowing that with each day you're becoming a healthier, stronger you.