New Year Same Me
It is that time of year, the time of new year’s resolutions. Have you kept your resolutions from last year? Will the ‘new you’ last beyond February? Regardless of your answer, we really appreciate how hard it is to stick to a new year’s resolution and make positive changes in your life, especially when it is related to health and fitness. Which is why we have created this article to help prime and prepare you to welcome the ‘new you’ and have the ‘new you’ stay as a permanent resident this time.
"If you don't know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else." –Lawrence J. Peter
First things first, set the goals, before you can plan the route you need to know where it is you want to go. Are you trying to lose weight? Do you want to build muscle? Get stronger? Increase your flexibility? Rehab an injury? Train for a specific sport? Run a marathon?
Now we have the goal, it is time to break that goal down into small, incremental, and achievable steps. Let us say you want to lose weight but have never managed to stick to a diet for over 2 weeks, start with the smallest, lowest activation energy action you can take to push you towards that goal.
Instead of trying to stick to an ultra-specific meal plan right off the bat on the 1st of January, let us make one small change. If you are a drinker of soft drinks and drink 3 cans of cola a day, lets switch one of those 3 cans for a zero-sugar soft drink for the first week of the new year. That one small change will save you 200 calories per day (average cola can 330ml = 200 calories, zero sugar alternative 3-6 calories per 330ml) which adds up to 1400 calories across 7 days. If all other conditions are the same, this could hypothetically put you in a deficit resulting in a net loss of those 1400 calories which is equivalent to 0.4lbs of fat loss. 1lb of fat = 3500 calories approximately.
Week one, 3 soft drinks, down to 2 soft drinks and 1 sugar free alternative, week 2 make it 1 soft drink and 2 zero sugar alternatives and then week 3, all 3 drinks are sugar free. At week 3 we are saving 600 calories per day. At week 4 we can look at making small changes to your meals, if you order takeaway 4 days per week, lets order takeaway 3 days per week and swap the 4th takeaway for a healthier ready meal/microwavable/oven meal. Reason we suggest a ready meal is because there is minimal effort involved and it is an easily implementable change. After a few more weeks of small changes, you can start cooking your own meals, then meal prepping etc. By the time it is March, all these small insignificant changes will add up to some real noticeable results in your body and health.
"Changes that seem small and unimportant at first will compound and turn into remarkable results if you’re willing to stick with them for years."
It really is as simple as it sounds, however it is essential to be patient, persistent and play to your strengths. Depending on what your goal is, it may be hard to build a progression roadmap like exampled above, in those cases, do research, potentially reach out to a coach or a friend with expertise in the field.
Here are some key tips to help you on your journey:
- Track everything: There is an abundance of fitness apps to record everything. How long you worked out, how long you ran for, what you are lifting, how many calories you burned and so on. A notebook and pen also work. Take pictures too! All this data you are storing will allow you to witness the progress you are making. Whether it is comparing side by side photos or seeing the numbers go up or down, having that data at hand will allow you adjust where necessary.
- Always celebrate the win: When you hit your targets, no matter how small, make sure to celebrate and be proud of yourself. Acknowledge it and understand you have done a positive thing for yourself and your body.
- Get support: It can be helpful to have a supportive network of friends, family, or a fitness coach to help you stay motivated and on track. Consider joining a fitness group or finding an accountability partner to help you stay committed to your resolution.
- Do not get discouraged and never give up! It is normal to have setbacks or days when you do not feel like working out or may overeat. Do not let it keep you down for long, if you need to take a break, take a break without any guilt. Once you are ready, get back on the saddle and keep moving forward. Remember who you are right now is shaped by years and years of habits, changing those habits will take time, stay the course and we can promise that you will not regret it.
- Listen to your body: There will be days when you are a little sore but can still push through your workouts, at the same time there will be days where you may NEED to rest and recover. Being able to distinguish these days is important and can be the difference between sustaining an injury which can set you back. This also applies to diet, if you are constantly experiencing extreme hunger, you need to evaluate what you are eating and maybe switch to a higher volume diet to keep you more full or slow down on the calorie deficit to make it sustainable. If you are tired all the time but sleeping adequate amounts, then check your diet, there may be a deficiency you are potentially overlooking in a certain vitamin or nutrient. (Always consult a professional before undertaking any medical action.)
We hope this can help you in your journey this new year. Remember it is important to choose resolutions that are specific, achievable, and meaningful to you. It can also be helpful to break your resolutions down into smaller, more manageable steps, and to track your progress along the way. It is natural to face setbacks and challenges, remember that the journey towards reaching your goals is often more important than the destination. Life is about living and experiencing it each day, it is not a race to the end. Keep a positive attitude, be persistent and never give up. We look forward to seeing what you will achieve in the new year.