As we head further into the year, it’s easy to let our well-intentioned New Years Resolutions start to slip.
You may have over-trained in January and are now finding more excuses not to hit the gym. Or, you might have exhausted yourself in the kitchen meal-prepping complicated dishes and are now finding yourself reaching for UberEats a little more than you should be.
However, it’s a great idea to think of challenging periods like this as a blessing, rather than a curse. Try to see them as an opportunity to jump some hurdles and flex your willpower muscle to ensure you keep living a fit and healthy life – because after all, it is a lifestyle, not a destination!
With that in mind, let’s take a look at five ways you can stay focused on your exercise regime throughout the year.
1. Make specific, realistic goals
If you haven’t yet had the chance to write down your goals for the year – now is the time! Try to make your goals tangible and quantifiable, e.g. “I want to lose 10kg by my birthday in October” rather than “I want to lose weight this year”.
On the same note, one of the most motivating things you can do is make sure your goals are realistic and genuinely achievable. This will make sure you aren’t pushing yourself too hard physically and be a great mental booster when you can celebrate your achievements!
2. Shift your perspective
Another great way to stay focused on your fitness regime is to shift your perspective. If you’re thinking like someone who has been a bit of a couch potato and doesn’t really like exercise, then you’re probably more likely to fall back into old habits.
Try shifting your perspective to that of an athlete or someone who loves to exercise. You’ll be surprised how convincing your brain can be, and you might just find yourself waking up rearing and ready to get to the gym!
3. Train with a friend
Bringing a friend along to the gym with you increases your chances of staying focused on your exercise regime, as well as being fantastic for your mental health. You’re much less likely to cancel your after-work yoga class when your friend is saving a mat for you, and having someone to chat to in-between weight sets can also mean you’ll be less likely to get bored and quit.
Spending quality time with friends, whether it’s in a gym or not, is also fantastic for our stress levels, making us feel calmer and improving our overall mental health. See the gym as an opportunity to catch up on the week, see what’s been going on in your friend’s life and ask R U OK?
4. Consider the roadblocks
As the year goes on, it becomes easier to let things get in the way of your exercise routine. Mitigate your ‘roadblocks’ by considering what might disrupt your training at the beginning of the week and coming up with already thought-out solutions for each issue.
Know you’re going out to lunch with work colleagues? Take a look at the menu and make your mind up about what you’re going to eat in advance. Might be raining later in the week and won’t be able to get out for your planned walk? Bank on heading to your Anytime Fitness club and hitting the treadmill instead.
5. Remember why you started!
After all that, the biggest thing that can keep us on track with our exercise regimes throughout the year is thinking back to the reasons we started in the first place. Instead of thinking back to a ‘thing’ you wanted to achieve, try thinking of an ‘intention’. This word gives a much broader focus and allows us to see the impact fitness can have on our lives holistically.
For example, instead of thinking “I wanted to lose weight”, think “I wanted to be able to choose clothes more easily and feel comfortable when travelling”. Or, maybe instead of “I wanted to quit drinking”, think “I want to be more present with my friends and family and feel better about myself”. Focusing on our intentions makes us feel energised, connected and empowered, and can be the boost we need when we want to improve our lives in the long-term!