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How to make a realistic New Year’s fitness resolution

December 29, 2011 - Posted by

Millions of people make the same New Year’s resolutions every year. Getting fit, losing weight, and eating healthy are always among the Top 10 of these promises. Sounds nice but sadly only 12% of these millions actually reach their goals.* The aim of this post is to help you make a New Year’s fitness resolution that will actually stick.

Before we talk about goal setting, there are two important pre-conditions we must recognize:

  1. A person should maintain a specific activity for at least 6 months to make it a natural part of his/her everyday life.
  2. Active recreational athletes are mainly motivated by the upcoming race and the feeling of fun/enjoyment/relaxation they get from their workouts.

Now let’s use the SMART principle** to build the architecture for an effective New Year’s fitness resolution.

My New Year’s fitness resolution

MY 1st WORKOUT IS ON ……………………………….

(Today would be perfect – don’t  procrastinate, just get started. It feels so good after your Christmas meals.)

I WILL ATTEND …………………………………………………… RACE ON ……………………………………

(If it’s not your usual distance, don’t choose an epic quest like an ironman triathlon or an ultra-marathon – these are unlikely to come true. For beginners a Nordic walking event, a 5K or 10K running would be a smart choice. You can always upgrade your goal once you get fitter. You can add more races here, but to make exercising a regular habit, 7 months from the start would be a perfect time for the last race in the list.)

TO GET READY I EXERCISE AT LEAST ………… TIMES AND ………… HOURS EVERY WEEK.

(To get fitter it is recommended that you exercise at least 3 times a week for a total of 2.5 hours. However, if you’re overweight and you have been totally inactive until now, 3 shorter sessions adding up to 1.5 hours per week is a smart start. Make sure you keep a training diary to keep your goal in sight.)

THE GOAL OF EVERY SINGLE WORKOUT IS TO FIND OUT WHAT I ENJOY MOST ABOUT EXERCISING.

(The easiest way to avoid routine is to alternate the structure of your workouts, routes travelled and friends you work out with. Take note of what you enjoyed about your workouts. Later you can figure out the pattern of your key motivators.)

DATE AND SIGNATURE: …………………………………………………………………………………….

Now write your own resolution, sign it and hang it somewhere you will see it every day. On your fridge might be a good idea. You have made a fitness promise that you can keep, and the good thing is that it’s about having fun and enjoying. Better health, weight-loss and other benefits are added for free.

 

Footnotes:
* Source: http://www.quirkology.com/UK/Experiment_resolution.shtml
** The SMART principle advocates that successful goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.

Tõnis Saag

Tõnis is the founder of Sportlyzer.com. He was an active sports karate athlete, representing the Estonian National Team 53 times over a 10-year period and winning numerous international tournaments and Estonian Championships. Tõnis was a certified youth coach for 13 years, working constantly with 100+ athletes. Half of that time he was also responsible for their club's development and daily administration. He was also a co-author of the first Estonian textbook for karate coaches and a board member of the Estonian Karate Federation for 2 years. Before starting with Sportlyzer, Tõnis founded and managed functional testing and sports medicine lab Vomax.ee.

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