The Year Is Almost Over. Is It Too Late To Chase My Fitness Goals?By Patrick Dale
Published: September 5, 2018
How are your New Year’s Resolutions progressing? Have you lost weight? Improved your fitness? Toned up? Maintained a healthy diet?
Don’t worry – you are not alone.
A lot of New Year’s Resolutions bite the dust as early as the end of January, with most of the rest forgotten by April. That’s why we often make the same resolutions every year; they just don’t stick!
Because of this, lots of people go from one year to the next never changing their behaviours, habits, health, or bodies. They mistakenly believe that the only viable time to make changes is January 1st, and if you break this year’s resolutions, you can just start over next year, right?
Of course, if you repeat the usual start/stop cycle that most of us go through with our New Year’s Resolutions, this time next year, you’ll be right where you are now. You may even be worse off because another year of too little exercise or too much unhealthy eating will have come and gone.
It’s never too late in the year to start
The thing is, you don’t have to wait until January to start working on your fitness, losing weight, or eating more healthily. There is no better time to start than today!
It’s important to remember that exercising regularly and eating healthily are just as important as your ultimate fitness or weight loss goal. Every healthy meal you eat, and every workout you finish not only takes you one small step toward your ultimate goal, it also does you good right now.
As well as helping you to lose weight, healthy eating will:
- Give you energy
- Improve the condition of your skin, hair, and nails
- Strengthen your immune system
- Improve digestion
- Reduce your risk of serious disease such as coronary heart disease and diabetes
In many ways, these benefits are even more important that the number on your scales.
Exercise is much the same; you might work out to tone up and speed up weight loss, but hidden benefits include:
- More energy because everyday tasks are less tiring
- Stronger bones, joints, and muscles
- Better circulation
- Improved mental health
- Better posture
- Better sleep
All of these benefits are additional to your ultimate goal of weight loss or toning up. And you’ll start to experience most of them within a few short weeks of starting.
It’s really not worth waiting until January 1st to get started on your New Year’s Resolutions. Every day you delay means another day you won’t experience these and lots of other benefits.
How to make sustainable changes you can stick to
New Year’s Resolutions tend to demand an all-or-nothing mindset and that is often unsustainable. A missed workout or a couple of unhealthy takeouts are often all it takes to derail your best intentions for another year.
Instead of making the same mistakes again, use these tips to make sure your new healthy habits stick.
- Choose things you enjoy
People are very good at avoiding the things they don’t want to do. It’s called procrastination. In a lot of cases, we can put things off indefinitely if we really don’t like them.
This is especially true for healthy eating and exercise. If you cannot face the meals in your new diet, or really hate your current workout plan, you have the perfect excuse not to do it.
Avoid this problem by choosing things you enjoy. They might not be the “best” according to the media or nutrition and fitness experts, but that’s okay.
For example, low carb diets might be effective for weight loss, but if you really miss eating bread, rice, pasta, and potatoes, you’ll soon break your diet. The best diet is the one you can stick to; not for a day or a week but for the foreseeable future.
The same is true for exercise; high intensity interval training is often touted as the best way to burn fat, but if you dislike such hardcore workouts, you won’t do it often enough for it beneficial. However, if walking is more your thing and you are willing to do it every day, that is a much better choice for you.
- Small changes first
While an all-or-nothing approach to healthy eating and exercise should be applauded, it’s usually unsustainable. All it takes is a missed meal or two and your healthy diet will collapse around your ears.
Regarding exercise, if you do too much too soon, you’ll just end up sore, tired, and missing workouts. Before you know it, you stop entirely.
Avoid this problem by making a few small changes and then building on them as they become habits.
For example, instead of changing your entire diet at once, commit to eating three healthy meals for a week – one breakfast, one lunch, and one dinner. The next week, add a couple more healthy meals to your menu. Continue this process until, several weeks later, all your meals are healthy.
This will be much less of a shock to your taste buds and far more sustainable.
Use the same approach with exercise. Start off with a couple easy, enjoyable workouts per week and increase from there. Regular, light/moderate workouts will always produce far better results than the occasional super-intense workout.
For healthy eating and exercise, sustainability is the key!
- It’s okay to slip up
Unplanned dietary slip-ups and missed workouts happen to everyone. It’s just a fact of life. The thing is not to let a small slip-ups turn into major catastrophes. One unhealthy meal does not have to trigger a week-long junk food binge. A missed workout or two does not mean you should cancel your gym membership and give up exercising entirely.
If you do slip-up, whatever the cause may be, do your utmost to get back on track as soon as you can. Your slip-up won’t derail your progress, but not getting right back on track will. Your slip-up isn’t a failure; it probably wasn’t even your fault. However, not getting back on track straight away probably is, so do your best to stop one slip-up turning into two.
Don’t wait until January; the best time to start getting fit and healthy is now. Don’t even wait for tomorrow – take just one small step today. Go for a walk, eat some fruit instead of a candy bar, or drink water instead of soda. By the time everyone else is making their New Year’s Resolutions, you could be well on your way to reaching your fitness goals.
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