Keep those fitness resolutions going

We’ve all been there before. January 1st, we’ve made up our mind to be fitter. This is the year when we’re really going to crack it.  We approach the New Year with gusto, trainers or walking boots, swimming goggles or skipping rope to hand, but by February all those good intentions are stuttering. How can you stay on track instead and make 2022 the year to count?

Curiosity  - It’s important that we don’t see resolutions as succeeding or failing but as opportunities to learn along the way.  We can be curious. If you want to do your first triathlon, maybe it’s about learning to swim better first or how to build up your training without injury.

 

You could even make a list. That might include how to juggle work with training, where you might find all your facilities under one roof so that your time management is improved. All of these things can help you stay motivated on the journey.

Break down your goals - You might want to run a 5k as your target but there are steps you can take along the way to ensure you have the right kit and a programme to help you progress. Celebrate the feel-good factor that each session will give you along the way as you build up to your goal.  

 

The physical benefits of exercise are often tangible and measurable. It can help with weight loss, build and maintain stronger muscles and bones, and it can even improve your skin complexion by increasing your body’s production of natural antioxidants.

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Studies have also shown that exercise can reduce your risk of major illness such as heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes by up to 50 per cent.

 

However, it is the positive effect on your mental wellbeing that is increasingly becoming a motivational force for people to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Go into a newsagents’ nowadays and you are likely to see more magazines focusing on mental health than physical fitness.

 

When you exercise, your body releases endorphins – chemicals that trigger a positive feeling and make you feel good, improving your mood and boosting your feeling of self-esteem. This in turn is proven to help combat stress, reduce your risk of depression and even improve your quality of sleep.

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Mix and match your  training  - Doing the same thing every day will soon get boring.  Blended training might see you do a couple of runs of different distances or intensity mixed with a gym or exercise class sessions (including virtual sessions) and a few walks with the family or simply to work of the station and back.

 

Have a clear idea of what you want to achieve - It could be walking upstairs without losing your breath, shedding a bit of weight, boosting your self-confidence, getting back into shape after injury or simply being the best you can be – as long as it is realistic and attainable, having that target and seeing the gradual improvements towards it will help keep you focused.

Finally, it’s all about personal values - Our values reflect the way that we choose to live our lives. Unlike goals, values are not future oriented. They are personally constructed to guide our behaviour, our actions, and inform the activities we choose to engage in. 

Think about the areas of your life that are the most important to you personally. What do you enjoy about them? What makes them important to you? How do you know that you enjoy spending your time in these ways? The responses you provide to these questions offer some insight into the values you hold, to the things that matter to you personally. Using your personal values to underpin your resolutions gives you the best chance of being successful, enjoying the experience of your chosen activity, and will help you to keep you on track when things get difficult (or temptation arises). 

 

So, if in your responses to the questions above you noted that variety, challenge, achievement and planning feel important to you, then creating or committing to a resolution that links values to action (for example, taking up Olympic weight lifting or orienteering or a team sport because you enjoy communicating or leading) would be the best course of action for you to create a resolution that ‘means’ something to you.​