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New Year's Resolutions

This year, is my year ‘zzzzzzz’

How many social media statuses will say “New Year, New Me”? When most people see this they roll their eyes and gently shake their head in disapproval as it's the old cliché where people makes these New Year's Resolutions, smash it for a couple weeks making sure everyone knows that they're exercising and eating healthy.

And then like a phantom, it's gone. No more map my run statuses, no more pictures of their food, no more selfies at the gym, and the good intentions have evaporated. But why does this happen year after year? Why are people not following through with their resolutions? Granted, I'm not speaking about everyone. Some people follow through with their commitments, making the necessary sacrifices to achieve their goals and create the new lifestyle they want.

Good Intentions

Let's look at this from a generic New Year's Resolution of “I want to lose weight.” Someone who has gone from zero exercise, a heavy festive period of alcohol and a bad diet wants to lose a certain amount of weight. Let's always stay positive. So, first off they have great intentions, wanting to make a positive change in their lives and hopefully they would have put some thought into this and it's not just a spontaneous choice.

The first Monday of January is here and with that comes the first exercise session of the year. It either goes great, thoroughly enjoying it and the endorphin release; or despising the new environment, feeling intimidated and anxious. That is just two ends of the spectrum and you may not fall into either but you get my point!

Why People Fail in their New Year's Resolutions

From not training at all to exercising 5 times a week is a massive change in your lifestyle, it's not just the exercise you've changed but your diet needs to compliment your output. Your sleep will be different, your digestion, your water intake, variables that people don't think about. My suggestion would be to easing into this change. This doesn't want to be a quick fix; this wants to be a lifestyle change. Start off with training twice per week, getting into a rhythm, waking up some muscles you haven't used in a while, and plan your workouts.

From my experience this has a much greater chance of success. You may want to go to the gym everyday but look at this like a different kind of New Year's resolution like giving up smoking. If you smoke 10 cigarettes a day and then suddenly you completely quit, the likelihood of you picking up the habit again is very high. Going cold turkey is hard to keep up and if you fall off the wagon once you're most likely to fall off again. So think of this in terms of exercise, from never going, or going once in a blue moon to smashing yourself and going 5 – 7 times per week. The likelihood of you being able to sustain this is low. And when I'm talking about sustaining, I'm talking about forever, not just for 3 months.

How to Stick to your New Year Resolutions

So what's the best way to kick start your resolutions and make it a lasting new lifestyle choice? To get the most out of your new experience I would advise the following…

  • Go with an experienced friend – Being a novice is nothing to be ashamed of, we all start somewhere. Going with someone who knows what they're doing will help you feel less intimidated and can offer you advice on workouts and how to use equipment correctly.
  • Accept your introduction session – Every gym will or should offer you a complimentary session with one of its trainers. Use this as a chance to ask as many questions you have, there is no such thing as a dumb question! Learn from them, listen to what they have to say, what advice on programmes and classes that would be beneficial for you. And be prepared for the pitch from them to make you a regular client, which could be a perfect match for you
  • Don't bring your phone – Leave all distractions in your locker or at home. Bringing your phone will kill your intensity, have you distracted and your workout just won't be as productive.
  • The Basics – Bring a towel, bring a lock, bring water, and wear the correct clothing. I've seen people train in jeans and I don't understand how they could possibly be comfortable. Come in what makes you feel comfortable, my suggestion is trainers, shorts or leggings, and a sports t-shirt.
  • Focus on yourself – As humans we will look around and compare ourselves to others, its natural. Try and get out of that style of thinking, we will all be at different stages and our bodies will react differently to certain exercises so don't just copy someone because you think they look good. They may have years of experience on you and what they're doing could cause injury to you.

You're Accountable for what Happens Next

The main thing though is to enjoy yourself, it will have such a positive impact on your life as the benefits are huge. I will leave you with some tough love though. The fact that it takes hard work, sacrifice, and discipline which is where so many people fall and tune out.

This is going to be hard and it's going to take a lot of work but the payoff is awesome. Take it or leave it. I promise you if you take it, your life will go up a level and you'll only look back to see how far you've come.

Steve Ahern,
Personal Trainer for Muscle Food

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