We Asked Pete Fisher, Director of ATP Personal Training to Give Us His 5 Top Tips For Sticking To Health And Fitness New Year’s Resolutions.
Sticking to your New Year's Resolutions doesn't have to be difficult! If you follow the sensible tips below you won't struggle when building new healthy habits to stick with long-term.
What are your top 5 tips that you know will help people stick with their New Year’s Resolutions, even if they’ve failed in previous years?
These are the tips that I've found work best with myself and with clients. I suggest trying all of them as they are all complementary and combined will help this be your most successful year when it comes to keeping your resolutions.
- Set clear goals based on habits, skills and behaviours rather than just an end result
I notice that most people don’t put enough thought into establishing their goals properly. The more vague the goal the harder it is to measure progress towards it. It’s important that you know why you’re exercising and what you’re committing to, then you can accurately measure the return on investment of time, energy and resources.
This doesn’t mean that you should research endlessly before you begin, that’s a clear form of procrastination. There is no perfect diet, and no perfect program so don’t waste time looking for them, and you should be ready to change your approach as your body and health changes.
I recommend that you pick 2 or 3 measures to track consistently.
- Morning body weight is non-negotiable if your goal is weight loss - you’ll collect valuable data that allows you to make informed decisions.
- I usually suggest that clients track their daily steps count as an easy indicator of general activity, although a lot of smart watches offer more sophisticated measurements these days.
- Finally I recommend tracking food intake in a way that works for you: This could mean tracking your calorie intake and macros (for example by using MyFitnessPal), or it could be as simple as self-assessing for compliance based on certain rules that you stick to. Whatever approach you take the key is to adjust based on the feedback generated by the tracking measures you chose.
- Find an accountability partner
At the start of the process it is important to have an accountability partner - someone to help you stay accountable to your goals. This can be vertical-accountability from a coach, or horizontal-accountability from a friend, colleague or partner. Having someone to hold you accountable is the secret ingredient that converts intention into consistent action.
- Enjoy the process
If you enjoy eating meat, don’t jump into Veganuary. If you enjoy having a glass of wine don’t commit to a teetotal existence. Build skills that are relevant to you, your lifestyle and your values.
The more you feel that you are making sacrifices the more you will subconsciously reward yourself in the future and the harder it will be to make your new, better habits stick. Whatever your goals, make sure that the road map to achieving them is one which you can enjoy or at least grow to enjoy.
- Forgive yourself when you slip up
Just because you miss one workout, or have a day when you eat food that you didn’t intend to eat doesn’t mean that you should give up on your goals or feel discouraged or disappointed with yourself. Get back into it the next day and you’ll soon be back on track. Almost nobody sticks to a new lifestyle perfectly, so you should expect that there will be a few bumps along the way. If you allow yourself to get back up whenever you temporarily slip-up you’ll quickly learn that persistence is more important than perfection.
- Look for the positives
We experience our daily lives based on our own perspective. If you choose to focus on negative aspects of anything you are much more likely to give up than if you try to keep your focus on the positive progress you do make. This is how I live my life, and it makes dealing with unforeseen circumstances and adversity much less stressful.
What is the biggest mistake that people make when it comes to sticking to a New Year’s Resolution?
People put too much pressure on themselves to see immediate results without actually putting measures in place to objectively gauge the outcome of these changes.
Eyeballing progress in the mirror won’t cut it.
Measuring your progress gamifies the experience and greatly increases your chances of success by helping you notice the gradual changes in your body.
At ATP Personal Training we help clients in a number of ways. We help them to gain clarity around their goals, we work with them to engineer a strategy that is realistic but ambitious and we help clients to execute. Most people are full of good intentions and we help to transform these good, but vague intentions into disciplined execution.
"If you allow yourself to get back up whenever you slip-up you’ll quickly learn that persistence is more important than perfection."
We recommend our personal training programs as the best way to put your New Year's Resolutions into action and stick with them the whole year round! We can help you will all aspects of achieving a healthy lifestyle, from diet, lifestyle choices and habits, and of course exercise, all in an effective but sustainable way.
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