The first month of a new year has come and gone, maybe more quickly than you would have liked. We start a new year with fitness goals, weight loss resolutions and high hopes. A fresh, clean slate is always exciting.
A couple months or even weeks in, however, the busyness of life picks back up and the excitement gets replaced with the winter blues or stress. Maybe you’ve found yourself in that exact place — still wanting to make those changes — but feeling the guilt of not following through weighing heavily on your shoulders.
Rather than allowing the guilt and shame to creep in and weigh you down, get ready to fight back. It doesn’t have to be a new year or even a new month to make a change. Make the decision today to make a change. Follow these tips to take you from feeling stuck to living a full, healthy life in 2018.
1. Change your mindset
One reason so many people don’t follow through with a gym membership or reaching their fitness goal is because they think it requires an intense fitness routine. When you have a month’s worth of workouts planned out and they all involve vigorous moves that exhaust you just by looking at it, there’s a small chance you’ll fulfill that plan. Here’s the key: there is a difference between a “workout” and “exercise.” A “workout” involves getting your heart rate up for a long period of time, leaves you breathless and exhausted and probably means you’re lifting heavy weights, jumping high and running fast. Workouts are great and should be part of your routine, depending on where you are in your fitness journey. However, “exercise” is simply moving your body. Taking your dog on a walk, taking a leisurely family bike ride or simply playing with your kids is exercise. Rather than forcing yourself to get a workout done every day, just make it a goal to exercise by moving your body. As someone beginning a new fitness journey, hitting the goal to move your body every day is much more manageable than forcing yourself to do a hard, full workout. Having an “exercise” mindset will keep you moving and keep you from quitting.
2. Discipline trumps motivation
As the group fitness coordinator and instructor at the Newton YMCA, I hear comments about a lack of motivation and I get questions about how I keep my motivation going. The fact is that motivation is not consistent. We all go through seasons of life where we’re riding on motivation alone; motivation from a trip coming up, summertime approaching or a pair of pre-pregnancy pants that don’t fit anymore. There are other seasons where there’s no motivation whatsoever. We would so much rather be on the couch with our favorite comfort food than getting a workout in. This tip applies to both seasons but especially when the motivation is lacking: Rely on discipline rather than motivation. The discipline you need to reach a weight loss goal of any kind is incredible. When you don’t feel like working out, you do it anyway, because you know you’re working toward a result. When your schedule gets busy, you make sacrifices to stay on course. Discipline is like a muscle; the more you work it, the stronger it gets. Start practicing discipline now, and don’t give up. A couple weeks in it will be easier than it is today.
3. Get plugged in
Doing fitness alone is hard and boring. Newton has several ways to get plugged in to a group of people who are in the same place as you are. The Newton Y has classes, programs and activities for all ages and levels from mommy ‘n’ me gymnastics to senior pickleball and everything in between. There are Facebook groups for new moms who are struggling just to get out of the house with their new babies. Anytime Fitness is open at all hours of the day for those on second or third shift. The Newton Public Library partners with the Y to hold a yoga class once a month at the library. Feel free to contact me at Hannah.email@example.com to get more information on any of the outlets I’ve mentioned. I’d love to help get you plugged in somewhere as I truly believe that we were created to do life together.
One last piece of advice: Give yourself GRACE. Your plan will not go as planned. Life will happen and you will be interrupted. You’ll have to skip your workout and you’ll have to eat fast food, if you’re in it for the long haul.
When these days come, don’t beat yourself up for missing that workout or eating a cheeseburger. When you create a lifestyle out of healthy habits, you learn to let life intervene without allowing the guilt in. When those days come, brush it off and start again tomorrow. If you expect perfection, you will fail yourself over and over. Keep your priorities in line, discuss your goals with your loved ones, give yourself room for mistakes, and keep moving when you want to quit.
Contact Bartlett at the Newton YMCA Hannah.firstname.lastname@example.org for help in achieving your fitness goals.