Every time the calendar turns to a new year, countless Americans make a resolution, get up from their couches and purchase a membership at a local gym.
That commitment to get in shape might last … for a month or two. Alas, 73 percent of people who make fitness-related New Year’s resolutions end up giving up before reaching their goals.
Don’t let this be your fate. Following are five tricks for keeping your New Year’s resolution to get fit.
1. Keep your goals small and specific
Getting in shape can be a daunting task, which is why it’s often best to set small, specific and — above all else — realistic goals at the beginning of your journey.
Too many people set overly ambitious goals that do not allow for the occasional misstep.
Instead of creating a goal to exercise seven days a week, try starting with 4-5 days. Instead of looking at the big picture of wanting to lose 30 pounds, start with a goal of 5 pounds. Or even just 1.
Think of your resolution to get fit as a marathon, not a sprint. With a little time, effort and patience, you’re bound to cross the finish line.
2. Put money on it
Apps like HealthyWage enable you to set a weight-loss goal and then bet on it. In short, if you reach your goal, you win money. However, if you miss the mark, you lose money.
There is science behind wagering on your own weight loss.
3. Make fitness a priority
Regular physical activity can help to control your weight, strengthen bones and muscles, improve mental health and mood, and reduce the risk of certain diseases. It can even help increase your lifespan.
So, why shove exercise aside for less important activities?
Instead of putting your physical and mental well-being on the back burner, make fitness a priority. Schedule it into your day as you would a doctor’s appointment, lunch date or important business meeting.
4. Don’t go it alone
You’ve probably heard the old adage “strength in numbers.” Well, working out with one or more pals can help strengthen your body and your relationships.
It also can boost your resolve to stick with a fitness plan.
Exercise partners provide a powerful combination of support, accountability, motivation and, in some cases, healthy competition.
5. Mix it up
Variety is the spice of life, and it also adds zest to any exercise program. Research shows that varying your workout routine can improve your odds of sticking with it:
Shaking things up can also help prevent those dreaded weight-loss plateaus. Varying your routine keeps you physically challenged, which prevents your body from adapting to your exercise routine.