December 10, 2021 4 min read
As the countdown begins to a New Year, many of us will make resolutions, promising ourselves that we will become fitter, lose weight fast, read more books, watch less television…the list goes on. But how many people keep those New Years resolutions?
Well, the data is not encouraging. Four out of five people who make New Year’s resolutions eventually break them, according to a study conducted by time management firm FranklinCovey. Worse, a third won’t even make it past one month. Yes, that’s right. Keeping the resolution till even the end of January is a challenge for many people.
According to motivational gurus and behavioral psychologists, many resolutions fail because of a simple reason: the resolution was created not because it was truly meaningful for you but because society (or someone else) was telling you to make that change. Other factors that lead to failure are that the resolution was too vague, or you didn't come up with a realistic plan to achieve it.
So, is there a strategy you can adopt that will increase your chances of being in the small minority that actually keeps their resolutions, especially those linked to health and fitness? Here’s the good news. There are actually several strategies to nudge you towards fulfilling your fitness and weight loss goals for the coming year.
Let us take at a closer look at 7 such strategies:
An ambitious aim will not only inspire you but also make others cheer you on. An audacious goal could be anything from competing in a marathon to losing 50 pounds. With hard work and a support system, you can achieve these goals, according to an article by Harvard Health Publishing. You might find others joining you in training as you work towards your dream.
Start with small, easy tasks that are guaranteed to succeed. That is how you move forward towards your next step. It is not a smart idea to treat easy choices with contempt. Remember, your aim in the beginning is to get started, to show something on the board, a sign that you’re moving ahead. There is no harm in enjoying the ease with which you complete these initial tasks. So, break down the ambitious New Year resolution into small tasks, and start with the easily doable ones, this article says. If you are looking to run a marathon, start with a simple jog around the park—and have fun doing it.
By adding a competitive element to your fitness goal, you can set yourself up for success since there is a specific reward at the end instead of a general sounding ‘getting fit’ or ‘losing weight’. You don’t need to be a competitive person by nature. The idea is to create conditions to put in your best effort. And a contest brings out the best in many people. Make sure you sign up for the event in the first week of the New Year, so that chances are higher that you don’t eventually back out.
Posting your resolution on social media with the vague hope that ‘putting it out there’ will make others keep track of your progress may not work practically. After the first few days of enthusiastic comments, it will be hard for others to sustain that enthusiasm on your behalf. Instead, you need a trusted aide, family member or friend to check on you at regular intervals, at least in the initial weeks. Telling someone who is invested in you that you’re following your new diet and haven’t gone on a chocolate-eating binge makes a difference, because now the two of you are in this together. According to the American Society of Training and Development, having a regular workout buddy will increase the likelihood of you meeting your fitness goals by a whopping 95 percent.
Keep track of your small successes. Short-term goals are easy to meet, and every small accomplishment will boost you further and bring you one crucial step closer to your New Year fitness resolution. So, if your medium-term goal is to lose 50 pounds, keep track of every 5 pounds you lose—and don’t feel shy of celebrating (smartly) each time you lose another 5 pounds.
This doesn’t mean eating an entire box of candies (if improving your diet was your New Year resolution) and nullifying the effort you've put in over several weeks in losing those pounds. Instead, reward yourself by treating yourself to something you really enjoy without contradicting your resolution. So, for instance, if you’ve pledged to eat better in the coming year, you can reward yourself by picking up a snazzy new T-shirt or treating your friend to a day at the amusement park.
By planning your weekly healthy eating schedule ahead of time, you will ensure that you don’t easily stray from your goals. And yes, the schedule should include breakfast, lunch and dinner. To spice it up, add healthy, low-calorie snacks to the plan. You can do your grocery shopping based on the plan. This not only helps you stay focused on your fitness goals but also saves a lot of time as you don’t have to worry about what you’re going to eat before every meal. Also, change the healthy menu. Experiment with different foods and recipes every day, so that your taste buds are in agreement. Healthy does not mean boring.
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