By Phillip J Schiefer | Submitted On January 14, 2016
It's that time of the year when people vow to make changes. Maybe it's time to quit smoking, learn another language or take that kickboxing class you've been putting off all of last year. Regardless of what it is, you want to improve yourself in one way or another. One of the most common resolutions that people make is to get in better shape. It's no coincidence that January is the month when gyms rack up the most enrollments. How many of these new members will you see still see there in April? If you really want to make changes, do it in a way that will set you up for long term success. Don't flip a switch and decide that you're all of a sudden a fitness enthusiast. That's a recipe for failure. Here are five ways that you can make your new venture a successful one.
Create a Plan
Plan your day from beginning to end. From the time you wake up to the time you plan to retire for the night. Plan the day and times for laundry, grocery shopping and so on. Once you've done that, pick three days that you cleared your schedule to exercise for 45 minutes. It can be at home or at a gym so plan commute time accordingly. If waking up early before work is your best option, plan to get to bed earlier so you can wake up ready to go. If you plan to go after work, bring a gym bag to work so that you don't have to stop home afterwards. Once you consistently go three times a week, try adding a fourth day to the mix.
Make Gradual Changes
Bad habits didn't develop overnight and they can't be undone in that manner either. These toxins that we rely on have addictive properties that are hard to shake. The probability of quitting smoking by going from three packs a day to none at all is highly unlikely. Just like with everything else, it takes time and a consistent effort. The same goes with eating sugars, drinking coffee and a sedentary lifestyle. Take small steps in the right direction. Start with reducing the amounts of sugars you eat. Make a goal every week to eat less and less sugar. From drinks to foods, gradually phase them out of your diet. While doing this, try to sneak some exercise into your routine. If three times a week seems extreme, try two times, maybe for thirty minutes to start. Then lengthen your workouts and up your weekly visits as you get more accustomed to that lifestyle.
Set Goals For Yourself
Set goals to eliminate bad foods from your diet, to get to the gym and to improve your current fitness level. Allow yourself 50 grams (if you consume more than that) of sugar for the week and 2 gym visits. Practice pushups until failure. If you can do 6 repetitions at the moment, set a goal for to reach 10 repetitions in three weeks for example. Keep setting new challenges and new goals that will build on your previous results. Not only will it keep you more engaged in your workouts, it will let you track your progress.
You held a plank for one minute for your first time. You're excited, now challenge a friend or coworker to do the same. You did it, now see how long it takes them to do it. Maybe a weight loss challenge, who can do the most pushups or hold the longest plank. The more people engaged, the easier it becomes. You may even find a gym partner, which is the best way to push yourself through those rough days that you probably wouldn't make it. You can't let your gym partner go alone, they need you!
Don't Listen To Bad Advice
If you seek advice or nutrition counseling, go to a professional and disregard what anyone else has to say. Follow their advice and see where it leads you over a three month period. Don't give up after a week because you aren't seeing results. Only take advice from one person at a time. If you hired a personal trainer or dietician, take their advice and their advice only. The more people you ask for advice, the more contradictory information you will receive. Everyone has their own opinion or some silly fad diet that worked for them or how to build muscle or lose weight. Don't look for shortcuts or a quick and easy fix because there aren't any. Pace yourself throughout the journey and enjoy each step you take.
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