You know the type. January 1st they are so gung-ho about staying healthy, eating right, keeping fit. They go all out for 3 weeks, are feeling great about themselves, and then all of the sudden, BAM. Out of nowhere comes the first inkling of burnout, de-motivation, and downright laziness. These are natural human emotions, however, it is COMPLETELY within your power to overcome them. Some tips to avoiding the burnout and how to turn the annual new years resolution into a life-long plan…
1. Set goals. Start with goals that are more easily accomplished, then progress on to long-term goals. Positive reinforcement is a great motivator, so keep a goal sheet handy and continually check off your accomplishments.
2. Start slowly. Rushing into fitness is a sure fire way to experience worlds of pain, frustration, and possibly injury. Take it slow, build your strength up, shake off the rust, and then go full-force.
3. Variety. Instead of making a goal such as, “I want to run 3 miles everyday”. Try thinking along the lines of, “I want to do 45 minutes of cardio everyday”. This will give you the option to run, bike, swim, play tennis, etc. Keep variety up to keep burnout low.
4. Have fun. It’s commonsense that if you like what you are doing, you are more likely to do it. Find activities you actually like. If you hate swimming, don’t force yourself to swim. There are plenty of exercises out there to keep you in shape and sticking to your resolutions.
5. Make physical activity a daily routine. There are always a million and one reasons not to do something. Not enough time, too tired, something else came up, etc. Schedule your workout as you would schedule a hair appointment, or doctor’s visit, or business meeting. Put it on your schedule and STICK TO IT.
6. Put it on paper. Write your goals down and put them on a piece of paper than you can look at everyday. If you ever feel the urge to skip that day’s exercise, just look at the paper and remind yourself how you felt when you first wrote those goals down. Don’t disappoint yourself.
7. Seek Support. Invite a friend along. Join a club. Join a team. Take a class. Fitness is more fun and engaging if you are doing it with a partner, not to mention there is also another level of accountability when you are working out with a friend.
8. Track your progress. People who see the fruits of their hard work are more likely to continue with that hard work. Write your weight down, note your decreasing waist line, chart your strength increases, do whatever you have to do to make your progress be known. Knowing that progress is being made is the greatest motivator of all.
9. Reward yourself. Take the time to relax after your workout sessions. You should feel tired, yet cleansed. Congratulate yourself on doing something for the positive; something that will help you live a long and healthy life. This is your life, you deserve to live long, happy, and healthy. External rewards are also effective. When you reach a milestone, reward yourself with a new pair of shoes, Ipod, or any other item you have been wanting.
10. Be flexible. The number 1 thing that kills a person’s desire to add health and fitness into their lives is their reaction to road bumps. Everyone will hit a period where they don’t want to go to the gym, or they get sick, or work is just too much, and they have to take a week off. Taking an extended period like this off will often kill even the most determined individuals. The key is to realize you are not perfect, nor do you have to be. Be flexible and realize that you will need a break like this every now and then BUT it does not mean you should give up on your goals completely. Force yourself to get back into the gym after an extended break and things will get back to smooth sailing once again.