7 tips for maintaining your goals beyond January

Health and Fitness

How to keep fit even as the New Year gloss wears off

You’re either one of those people who regularly makes New Year’s resolutions, or you don’t. While I’m firmly in the latter category, almost half of all adults say they make yearly resolutions. However, only about 10 per cent of people manage to stick to them.

And what’s usually top of the list? You guessed it – losing weight. Personally I think any time of year is a good time to make changes and set goals, but there’s no denying that January is a time when health and fitness becomes a priority for many. So how can you stick to your health and fitness goals once the gloss of the New Year has worn off?

1. Be realistic

Simplicity is key. If you haven’t exercised for a long time, simply committing to walking or moving your body three times per week may be enough. Your goals should be achievable and realistic. As your fitness increases you can set new goals and try new things.

2. Set goals

Lots of people I speak to about fitness say they’d like to “get fit” or “lose weight”. But it’s not specific enough. Setting clear goals like “swim twice per week and do one weights session” or “make four home cooked meals every week” is more specific and directly related to what you want to achieve. Look up SMART goals if you’d like more information.

3. Partner up

Find a friend who has similar goals or who likes to exercise in the same way. Having a buddy who you can make plans with is motivating and can help you stick to your training goals.

4. Sign up for a mid-year event

Committing to a mid-year event can help keep your fitness aspirations on track. Whether it’s running, cycling, swimming or anything for that matter, having an event to work towards is always motivating. The New Zealand Running Calendar is a great place to start. If running isn’t your thing, then get googling and find an alternative.

5. Be kind to yourself

It’s okay if you can’t keep your resolutions – remember only around 10 per cent of people do. Every day is a new day and an opportunity to start again. Changing your mindset is important. If you see exercise as a chore, then you’ll never enjoy it. Rather than focusing on losing weight, aim to move your body every day and focus on the mental benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Rid yourself of exercise guilt and focus on the positive changes you’ve made.

6. Understand what it takes to make and break a habit

Habits are hard to make and break! It’s important to have an understanding of what makes you tick, of common traps you fall into and barriers that usually crop up when you’re trying to make a new habit (or break an old one). There’s a great video by Charles Duhigg that explains just how complicated habit breaking and making can be. It’s a great place to start and may even help you be a little kinder to yourself (see above tip).

7. And lastly…..you don’t have to join a gym

If gyms aren’t your thing, then don’t join one. Find something you enjoy doing and stick with that. There’s no point forcing yourself into a gym if you really don’t like it. Instead of spending money on a gym membership maybe you’d be better off investing in an outdoor personal training session, or a new bike, or something that will make you happy to get moving.

KATE MAYHEW
Kate Mayhew is a journalist and fitness enthusiast currently embarking on a career in the fitness industry. She is studying a Certificate III in Fitness through Personal Training Academy. 
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