Start the Year Right!

Here’s How You Can Get Back on Track with your Fitness Goals

By Adline A. Ghanistart the year right main

It’s the beginning of a brand, new year and you’re not proud of the fact that you’ve fallen off the fitness bandwagon over the holidays. You may be feeling bad about it but don’t be too hard on yourself — it happens to the best of us!

The fact is, we can get derailed from our fitness goals after a month of indulgence during the festive period or due to something more serious, such as a hectic work schedule, a personal setback or health issues.

Whatever the reason, you can always get back on the fitness track. Here are a number of useful tips to help you rev up your workout routine and successfully maintain it in the year ahead.

Set Specific Goals

Rather than dwell on being overweight and unfit, set your sights on the goals you would like to achieve. Whether it’s 30 minutes of cardio or two laps in the swimming pool each day and whether you want to lose five kilos or 15, write down your goals and keep them somewhere visible, like taped to your desk, dressing table or fridge. Seeing your goals daily will help keep you motivated.

Create a Plan of Action

You’ve got your goals, now you need a plan. Like all solid structures, you need a dependable framework to build upon. Like it or not, you will have to make changes. Ask yourself, “how am I going to reach my goals?” then start rearranging your schedule to allocate time for your workouts. You can also get back to eating healthier meals by stocking healthy foods in your refrigerator or pantry.

Just Start Already!

Procrastination is a major enemy of fitness plans. The trick to tackling it? Just start! Begin by finding small daily methods to regain your strength and stamina. Remember brutal workouts aren’t the best solution if you’re just getting back to your fitness routine. If you do too much too soon, you’ll run the risk of burning out and giving up. So keep a slow and steady pace — especially in the beginning.

Keep Going

Keeping the momentum going is absolutely imperative. To prevent your workouts from stagnating, exercise regularly and avoid long pauses between them. Decreasing the intensity of your workouts is far better than stopping completely. Sticking to your exercise routine will make it a habit and if you make exercise a habit, rather than a chore, it will come easily to you.

Follow the 30-Day Rule

Speaking of habits, how do we build positive new ones and overcome the negative old ones? One way to forge positive new habits is by following the “30-day rule.” For example, commit to brisk walking — even it’s just for 15 minutes each day — for 30 days. By doing this daily for an entire month, you’ll find that exercising will become a natural part of your routine.  If you’re still hesitant about making such a time-consuming commitment, think about it this way: expensive equipment can’t make you get up and exercise but good habits certainly can!

Look Forward to Enjoying It

Exercise may feel like an unpleasant, laborious task right now but once you get going and those endorphins are released into your bloodstream, you’re going to start to enjoy it! You should also look out for ways to keep your exercises fun. You can try joining a dance class or opt to work out outdoors, in the sunshine. Change things up once in a while and try new workouts. After each workout, be sure to evaluate what you liked and what you didn’t.

Buddy Up

If you’re finding it hard to stay motivated enough to get started or to keep going, it’s the perfect time to team up with someone. It’s a tried and true method! There are countless benefits to working out with a buddy. For example, on top of starting a fitness habit together, you’ll feel happier about exercising and you’ll be able to keep each other going and going.

Do It for You

Why exercise to impress others? They’re not doing the hard work — you are! If you’re stuck in the mindset of working out to keep up appearances, it’s time to reevaluate your fitness goals. You should exercise for yourself, to be healthier, to build confidence and to challenge yourself. By exercising to feel good and have a great time, you’re more likely to stick with your fitness goals.

Use Exercise to De-stress

Stress is a part of modern life and it’s important to keep your stress levels in check; particularly for the sake of your long-term health. The hard truth is, stress is detrimental to your mental and physical health and it affects your whole body. An effective way to combat the effects of stress is by exercising regularly. Physical activity releases “happy hormones” that improve your mood and keep blood and oxygen flowing through your body. Keep this in mind the next time you’re tempted to skip your workout and veg out on the couch.

Know Your Weaknesses

What’s your personal “kryptonite”? You should know it, face it and find ways to overcome it. Do you often fall off the fitness bandwagon because you don’t have enough time? Is self-consciousness keeping you from hitting the gym? No matter what causes you to abandon your fitness goals, know that you can identify them and take the necessary steps to make improvements.

Keep Track

With exercise, it’s often hard to see immediate results. To stop yourself from feeling demotivated keep a record of your exercise routine. As time progresses, keep pushing yourself harder, so even if you’re not aware of it, you’re becoming faster and stronger. The longer you stick to the programme, the better the results. From more push-ups and sit-ups to additional time and increased speed on the treadmill, every improvement counts.

Care for yourself

Overall fitness isn’t just about a buff body and amazing stamina. Besides regular exercise, you need take care of yourself in other ways too. You can choose to eat right, sleep well, spend time with your family and friends, read books, have fun, play, listen to music, dance, be spiritual… the list goes on and on. You’re not an exercise machine,so be sure to love yourself inside and out. Also, open yourself to enrichment and enhancement in every way possible.

Last, but not least – DON’T GIVE UP! Your physical fitness may have gone off track but don’t start telling yourself that you’ll never get back in shape. A defeatist attitude will get you nowhere, so keep your head held high and hang on to a positive mindset.

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