A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Scranton found that 23% of people quit their new year’s resolution after just one week. Only 19% of individuals are actually able to stick to their goals for the long term (at least two years, in this study). We want to help you avoid becoming one of these negative statistics - but if you’ve already stopped pursuing your goals for the year, know that you’re not alone and it's not too late to start again.
So what can you do to keep yourself motivated throughout the year? Especially when you’re feeling demotivated and meh (which happens to all of us at some point or another).
1. Join a fitness challenge (online, offline or hybrid)
In this day and age, there are a plethora of online and offline challenges that are designed to keep you motivated while invoking your competitive spirit. So joining one can be a great way to get you started on your fitness journey.
Why join one?
- They can give you a clear goal to work towards, anything from preparing to run a 5km race to reaching a million steps within a particular time frame. There are plenty to pick from. Depending on the type of challenge, you’re required to create a short term plan that will enable you to hit those milestones.
- Having a milestone to reach could inspire you to work out more often - eventually, your body will adapt and your current challenge will become a lifelong habit that you can sustain even after the challenge has passed. Doing something regularly is how habits are formed, so depending on the length of your challenge (it is said that it takes 21-30 days to form a habit!) - it can change your entire relationship with fitness.
- Challenges not only keep you excited to stay active but are also a way to be part of a community that keeps you competitive and accountable. Training alone can be isolating, and often leads people to quit due to feelings of demotivation. So having a supportive group of compatriots all working towards the same goal can really empower you to stick with the plan you set out to achieve. They are there to push you past what you think you’re capable of and to do a little more every day.
- Find fun fitness activities that compliment your personality
Getting active doesn't have to be boring and tedious, so it's important to acknowledge that not everyone can find that enjoyment by lifting weights at a traditional gym. So, why not find an activity that keeps you moving while having some fun.
This could be anything from swimming, cycling, rock climbing, dancing, hiking to kickboxing. Pick your passion. Many people tend to quit training because they fixate on doing the same old workout routines again and again. If you choose to do something you enjoy, then you're more likely to sustain it in the long term. It's important to have fun whilst getting fit, this makes it easier to go back and carry on with an activity if it already complements your personality. Move away from the mindset or belief that there is only one way to train. Whichever activity you choose, it needs to blend in with who you are. Put the personal, back into training. You can also take a Health Fit test to learn which activities your body responds to the most, to help you optimise your journey for more effective results.
- Your training plan should fit into your lifestyle
Not everyone can sustain a routine that requires them to be up at 5 am daily to run a 10k before they get on with their daily lives. Make sure that you’re flexible and realistic when it comes to how much and when to train. For some people, fitting in a quick 30 min workout at lunchtime works best, or going for a swim in the evening is more manageable.
Don't try too hard to set up a schedule based on generic notions of when the best time to train is. Everyone‘s “optimum” time is unique. Make sure your fitness plans align with your personal schedule so that you can succeed at reaching your milestones at your own pace. It makes it a lot harder to try to force-fit your lifestyle into your training schedule. Find a balance that works for you. According to experts, you just need to ensure that you get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity.
- Include a mix of different activities
Boredom can quickly become a barrier to achieving your fitness goals. It's all fun and exciting at the beginning of a fitness journey when you are still pumped about the idea of a "New year. New you". But once the everydayness of life sets in, the same old training regimen can start to feel tiresome - eventually leading to finding excuses to not train as often, if not quitting altogether.
This is why it can be helpful to mix and change up the activities you do to keep things interesting and novel. If you’re someone who mainly trains at a gym, why not join an outdoor Bootcamp or a yoga retreat with some friends over a weekend to add the excitement back into training. Doing something different can serve as a reminder of why you started in the first place. That change of scenery can also give you the boost of motivation you need to refocus and recharge.
Something different can also challenge your body so that it doesn't get too comfortable and cause stagnation. This can also mean challenging yourself to try one new workout or physical activity every month.
- Listen to and work with your body
We know how exciting the early stages of training can be as the year begins, and you just want to quickly achieve your goals in no time at all. Just remember that this is not a marathon - getting into fitness is a lifelong commitment to yourself and your body. Don’t push your body too hard too soon, or to the point of burnout. When you feel tired, take the time to rest. Sleep enough hours to give your body the proper chance to recover and recharge every single day.
This principle is about learning what your body needs and when it needs it. Even with the small things like listening to your body when it feels like a walk instead of a run, this can ensure that it also gives you what you need to keep going throughout the year. When in doubt, always remember that our bodies are incredibly intelligent, we just need to be intuitive and listen to what it is telling us it needs. Be it giving it more liquids or nutrients, or being a feeling of fullness, or exhaustion, those factors are personal and essential to the holistic functioning of our bodies. By being intuitive and listening to your body cues, you can get the most out of it.
We hope this helps you to keep pushing throughout the year as you achieve more of the goals you set out for yourself.