How to achieve your New Year’s fitness goals

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Hands up if you’re among the estimated 40% of Americans making a New Year’s resolution at the start of this year. And why not? There has never been a better time to think about improving your fitness and well-being, particularly if you’ve been neglecting your health in favor of indulgence during the festive season. The New Year brings the gift of a clean slate, but keeping those resolutions won’t be easy; it’s approximated that less than 10% of people will actually stick to the promises that they made themselves on New Year’s Eve. Will you achieve your fitness goals?

How can you achieve those New Year’s fitness goals?

Whether you’re feeling inspired to lose weight, would like to adopt a healthier diet, or fancy trying a new kind of exercise, setting some carefully considered New Year’s fitness goals is likely to be your ticket to improved wellbeing. Of course, whether you achieve those goals is up to you. Success is rooted in willpower and a determination to fulfill the targets that you’ve set yourself as the year rolls around. Have you got what it takes to make, and maintain, the required lifestyle changes?

Choose attainable goals

Before you begin your new regime, determine your deadlines and choose practical goals. What would you like to achieve? How long have you given yourself to reach that target? It’s important not to expect too much of yourself to begin with, or you risk crushing disappointment should you fail to reach an unreasonable goal. The great thing about a New Year’s resolution is that it’s yours to interpret. Would you like to lose a certain amount of weight, or simply end the year weighing less than you do now? Resolve to live a little outside your comfort zone. The only way to improve upon your goals is to aim higher, after all.

Find an exercise regime that works for you

Plan, plan, and plan some more. How often will you be able to exercise? Where and when will you be most productive? Consider the kinds of exercise that will work for you, whether that’s walking, swimming, running, cycling, or something more combative. Perhaps you’d enjoy a team sport, or a series of challenges that will test your strength and fitness at various intervals. Try to have a little confidence in your own abilities. Achieving your fitness goals could begin with walking to work or tackling the stairs; your limits begin and end with your imagination and your determination to succeed.

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Focus on your diet

Perhaps the most important change that you’ll make is to your diet; exercising might reap certain rewards, but your efforts will prove fruitless if you’re still consuming large quantities of the things that are bad for you. Think about the things that you eat. What could you cut back on? Where are the biggest changes needed? Consume a protein-rich breakfast on days when you’re likely to be most active, and ensure that there’s plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, and fish available for your meals. Hydration is important when you’re exercising, so ensure that you’re drinking at least two liters of water a day. Similarly, cut back on caffeine, alcohol, junk food, and processed meats – empty calories therein lie. Of course, you should still treat yourself every once in a while. We’re less likely to achieve our goals without a reward or two.

Surround yourself with encouragement

It’s time to use social media to your advantage, and to ensure that your friends and family members are on board with your quest towards a new, healthier you. Research suggests that we’re far more likely to adhere to our resolutions if we’ve made our intentions public, so proudly declare your New Year’s resolutions to anyone who’ll listen; a certain amount of peer pressure can be inspirational. Now would also be a great time to ask a trusted friend or family member to help you chart your progress. Is there anyone who could accompany you to the gym, or join you at a class? Involving somebody in your fitness efforts is likely to increase your success rate.

Above all, remember that any goal is achievable, if you really set your mind to it; with the right kind of attitude, you’re sure to notice a healthier, more determined you waiting to emerge from the shadows of last year’s indulgences. Try keeping a journal of your progress, as each inch and pound lost and skill gained propels you towards new, more ambitious goals. Remember to have plenty of rest between bouts of exercise, and be mindful of your mental wellbeing as well as your physical health. It’s one thing to discover a new you, and quite another to lose yourself in a sea of self-criticism and loathing. Welcome to 2018; may the year ahead be a happy and healthy one for you.

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