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How many times have you’ve made a New Year’s resolution, only to break it a few months later? The problem is that most times our resolutions are too broad, or we set the bar too high. For example, one of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to exercise more. While that’s a perfectly good goal, it’s very vague and doesn’t give you much to look forward to.
“I want to exercise more.” – What do you mean by this? Do you want to go to the gym every day? How long do you want your exercise sessions to be? A more appropriate goal would be, “I want to work out every day for at least an hour.”
Start out small
Now that you’ve pinpointed your ultimate fitness goal for the new year, it’s time to break it down into several goals that you can actually achieve. It may be easy to declare that you’d like to exercise every day for the new year, but if you don’t currently do any sort of physical activity, this would be very difficult to accomplish.
“I want to work out every day for at least an hour.” To make this easier on yourself, start out by exercising for 10 minutes a day. Yes, just 10 minutes. Try not to look for an excuse, saying you don’t have enough time or you’re too tired after a long day at the office. By starting out small, you can slowly work your way up to 30 minutes of exercise a day to 45 minutes, and eventually to an hour. Before you know it, you might even surpass your original goal and exercise much longer than you intended to.
Find what you enjoy
Now you need to figure out what type of exercise you want to do. You can run, do yoga, lift weights, use an exercise ball, ride a bike, play tennis; the list goes on and on. The main thing to remember is to choose something you’d enjoy, i.e. don’t run if you hate running. Don’t force yourself to do a certain activity if you’re not even remotely motivated to do it.
Also, keep in mind that the gym is not for everyone and you shouldn’t go just because you feel like that’s the main place to exercise. You might feel more comfortable working out at home or at a neighborhood park.
Many people give up on their New Year’s resolutions even before February rolls around. Part of this reason is because people are so pumped to get started and have this “all-or-nothing” mentality that sets them up for failure.
For example, if your goal is to lose 30 pounds by the end of the year, you can’t expect to see immediate results only after a week of exercising or changing your diet. And going back to our daily hour workout resolution from above, you shouldn’t get discouraged if your busy schedule only allowed for half an hour of exercise. That just means you need to work out an extra half hour the next day.
An easy way to stay motivated is to share your resolution goals to your loved ones. They can help you reach certain milestones and to ultimately, accomplish your long-term goal.
Making a New Year’s resolution is simple, but actually achieving one can be challenging. Just remember that a new habit forms when you are committed to it. Start simple and gradually improve yourself along the way.
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