All the best intentions for 2019
Okay, let’s imagine the scenario: it’s the first Monday of the New Year (note: technically, it’s illegal to start a diet mid-week – it must be on a Monday). Over the festivities you’ve eaten your body-weight in Cadbury’s Roses and drank enough alcohol to pickle a hippo’s liver. You feel so fat if you went near a beach, some random marine welfare group would try floating you back to sea!
So, that’s it, you’re going on a diet; it’s time to banish the blubber. But not only a diet, you’re going to get mega-fit as well. Never mind that your current idea of a workout is answering the door to the Domino’s pizza guy. No matter, your mind is made up. You even set yourself a challenge to keep you motivated: a tough-mudder to raise money for endangered tree frogs in Patagonia, perhaps.
It doesn’t matter what, you’re going to change your life. You’re going to be a better you.
However, unless you set the right targets, your trainers won’t see the light of day by the end of the month. (And those poor Patagonian tree frogs will go the way of the Dodo!)
So, in this article, we’re going to offer you our top ten tips on what, and what not to do to stick to your new year resolutions.
‘If your ladder is up against the wrong wall, every step you take gets you to the wrong place faster’ – Stephen Covey – 7 habits of highly successful people
Let’s start with the ‘don’ts’.
1. Don’t do it all at once
Most people set off at full speed, cutting out everything they enjoy and then hitting the training hard – this is a big mistake. First, bear in mind that it’s winter; it’s cold, dark and miserable. For most people this means their usual ‘get-up-and-go’ just wants to go back to bed and snuggle under the duvet. Ease yourself into your new lifestyle: cut out the junk and start your new exercise regime slowly. Because your metabolism is in hibernation mode, the best time to hit a low-calorie, tough diet is when the clocks change. By spring you’ll have been eating better for awhile and already feel fitter. At this point your body will cope better with a low-calorie diet.
Also, because your body will quickly adapt to what you’re doing, try to keep something in the tank. This could be some favourite food that you can take out later or more training that you can add in.
Finally, if you have more than one resolution, then list them in order of priority. Apply the main one first and then gradually bring in the others over the next few weeks.
2. Don’t do it on your own
If possible, involve friends and family for support or join a group, fitness class, etc. Accountability to others can be a strong motivator.
3. Don’t give in at the first hurdle
Weight loss and fitness are often a trial and error process. There’s no perfect system out there and it’s often a case of finding what suits you as an individual.
‘It doesn’t matter how slow you go as long as you do not stop’ – Confucius
4. Don’t detox
And now the do’s
5. Give yourself a specific goal
Aim to complete an event: half-marathon or couch-to-5k, tough-mudder, climbing Mount Snowden, etc. Find a charity that you’d like to support and see how to raise money for them.
6. Break your goals into smaller chunks
Set a manageable weekly or monthly target. For example, you may wish to lose 10kg. So, rather than 1 x 10kg goal, aim for 10 x 1kg target instead.
You may have a long road ahead and you’ll get there easier if you take it one small step at a time.
7. Reward yourself for each step
Put money into a savings account or donate to a charity for every step you achieve.
8. Mark off results on a calendar
Note your successes and failures on a wall mounted calendar. Use a green pen to indicate which days you did well, i.e., kept to your diet or worked out and a red one for days that didn’t. Apart from a visual stimulus, you may also note a regular pattern in why you missed your targets. For example, morning workouts may not be your thing, or you simply can’t stick to your diet at the weekend.
With this information, you can plan around your weaknesses and play to your strengths.
9. Do what you enjoy
We’re regularly asked, ‘What’s the best exercise for weight loss or for getting fit?”. The answer is simple: it’s the one you enjoy.
Fitness-wise, anything that gets you out of breath is a winner. And for fat loss, there is little difference between any type of cardio-based exercise: running, cycling, etc.
So, don’t worry about the supposedly ‘best fat-burning’ training option – it’s a myth!
10. Be consistent
Regardless of your goals, consistency is the most important factor. Don’t try and be perfect because it’s usually a long drop when you finally fall off your perfect pedestal!
For many people, their 2019 New Year resolutions are the same ones as 2018, and 2017, etc, etc. If this is you, it’s worth thinking about what went wrong previously because it’s obvious that it hasn’t worked. So, if you see yourself in this ‘Groundhog-day’ situation, bear in mind a great quote from eminent (and mad-haired) physicist, Albert Einstein: ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results’.
So, if you’re sick of starting all over again, heed our advice, do it differently this year and try not stopping this time. Just a thought!
Best wishes for 2019
Paul & Ann