If the idea of making New Year’s fitness resolutions has you running (or slowly meandering) for the nearest packet of comfort biscuits, you’re not alone. According to a YouGov research study only 22% of Brits made New Year’s resolutions for this year. That’s only one in five people! And, only a quarter of that group managed to keep them. ‘What’s the point?!’, we hear you say, as you reach for another biscuit. New Year, New Me? More like New Year, New Meh.
Well, who doesn’t want to feel at their best? To have enough energy to keep up with the kids after a long day at work? Or, to comfortably fit into your favourite jeans that have been lurking at the back of your wardrobe for too long? Most of us want to be fit and healthy to get the best out of our lives. We’re looking for quick ways to lose weight. And, this starts to become even more important as we get older.
The reality is that living life comes with its challenges. We’re not perfect beings and the lives we lead, however enjoyable, can take a toll on our health and wellbeing.
How to get fit
So, how can we get back on track? How can we plan for success so that we feel that we’ve achieved something? Feel fitter, stronger, lighter?
From our experience of working in the cycling arena, we’ve come up with Ten Ways to keep your New Year’s fitness resolutions this year. It’s really about reframing how you approach the whole process.
Are you ready?
No, seriously, are you ready?
There’s no point starting any of this unless you’ve made a key decision. And that decision is that you’re going to show up for yourself. Your body shows up for you every single minute of every single day, regardless of what you put it through. Can you do the same and make a promise not to let yourself down? Decide now that this is what you want and you’ve made a really important first step.
Yes! We’re right with you.
Forget about resolutions. Have goals.
Just the word resolutions is enough to put anyone off. Its definition is to be resolute or determined. Which is all very noble and everything but frankly, doesn’t allow for life getting in the way. They can become unrealistic and impractical ideals.
Think about it. You’ve made a resolution to get back on your bike more regularly starting in January. The day arrives, you’re all geared up to go and you look out the window to see a dreary, cold day. Suddenly, staying indoors just got a lot more appealing.
Resolutions won’t help motivate you through this wobble, but goals will.
Goals are defined as being aims or desired results. Do you see how easier that is for you to get aligned with? How your whole system relaxes just a little?
Goals give you something to aim for without you feeling like you’ve failed before you’ve even begun. They allow you to plan, visualise your future success and track your achievements along the way. They’re the difference between you opening that front door and going despite your feelings about the weather, or you settling down to tuck in to that second packet of biscuits.
Resolutions set you up for failure. Goals line you up for success.
Find a fitness buddy
It can make all the difference to have a partner in crime when you’re trying to achieve your fitness goals. If you’re struggling to motivate yourself, you might find that having to show up for someone else is what gets you on the saddle. Find a friend that has shared fitness goals to help keep you on track.
Make exercise a habit
If you’re not a natural exerciser or you’re just out of the habit, it’s time to integrate it in to your routine again. Rather than it being an alien addition to your schedule, try to think of it as exactly the same as any of your other regular habits. You can prioritise it just as you would brushing your teeth for example – it has to get done and you know you’re going to feel better afterwards. And, if you plan ahead of when you’ll be getting on your bike each week, your healthy habit will become more easily established.
Use technology to your advantage
There are some great apps available to help you stay focused on our goals. You can track your progress, share with friends, easily see your achievements and improvements. This can be a great reminder of how well you’re doing when it might feel otherwise. Use apps as your personal cheerleader!
Keep a food diary
You can cycle all you want but if your diet isn’t up to scratch, it will be an uphill struggle. Literally. It’s really easy to not be aware of how many calories we’re consuming during a busy day. Keeping a food diary can help you keep on top of exactly what you’re eating and when. Perhaps you’re eating a lot at the end of the day when your body is struggling to digest it for example? A food diary will give you a lot more awareness of what’s really going on so that you can make some helpful adjustments.
Reduce your alcohol consumption
A nice glass of wine after a taxing day or a long ride can feel like a much deserved reward but it can also be the undoing of all your hard work! You can be putting in a lot of effort, sticking to your fitness plan and watching your diet. Then boom, three large glasses of wine and you’ve just loaded yourself up with 630 calories. Reduce your alcohol intake to give yourself the best chance of achieving those New Year goals.
Don’t push too hard
Just because you’ve decided that your bike is now your friend again, you don’t need to turn in to your own sergeant major. The fact that you’re even getting out there again and committing to your goals is fantastic. Be careful to not push yourself so hard that you’re fatiguing your body and causing it more harm than good. Keep moving forward at a steady pace and you’ll get there.
Employ some professional help
If you really want to go for it and feel that you could do with some objective guidance, working with a trainer can be really supportive. They’ll get you out the house when you least want to (unless you’re really stubborn) and will champion you through the process. They’ll also be able to give you feedback and track where you’re at so you can see yourself getting closer to achieving your goals.
Strava, a social network for athletes, conducted a study that discovered that the Friday of the second week in January is when most people will bail on their resolutions and falter. Apart from not having the benefit of all of our tips above, one of the biggest reasons for this is having unrealistic expectations and goals.
Be real with yourself, your current limitations and your aims. Having been on your bike twice in the last six months and then setting a goal of entering the Great North Bike Ride next month is setting yourself up for ‘Quitters Day’.
It will feel so good to achieve a more realistic plan of getting on your bike twice a week for the next three months for example as opposed to failing at an impossible challenge.
At Halfords we want to be part of your cheerleader team! We’ve got a wide range of accessories, lights, clothing, locks, helmets and fitness trackers to help you achieve your fitness goals in the New Year. We’ve even got Turbo Trainers to help you keep going when you really can’t make it outside.
Make a plan, keep going, champion yourself and be realistic. We’re right behind you!