Going into a new year, hope is high for positive changes. According to a study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology top resolutions include weight loss, exercise, stopping smoking, better money management and debt reduction.
Recently posted by NCSF National Council on Strength & Fitness “Unfortunately for the masses these exciting resolutions seem to lose their steam as major drop off occurs at 5 weeks, 12 weeks, and the rest by 6 months. This pattern seems to replicate itself year, after year, after year. So why do people often start with great intentions, but then fall short when it comes down to sticking with their fitness goals? According to experts, it comes down to a few psychological and logistical challenges inherent to human nature – challenges that can be effectively overcome if properly understood and managed.”
Here are a few things to consider by NCSF while trying to help stay in the gym after the initial excitement of New Year’s resolutions begins to fizzle:
There Needs to Be a Tangible Game Plan.
Many people make vague resolutions like “I plan to get in better shape”. However, having a specific tangible goal appears to expedite success far more effectively. Essentially, vague aspirations don’t work for the average person because they fail to embrace new behaviors – they are just abstract thoughts. The brain cannot focus on abstract goals not tied to specific behaviors; and therefore the efforts necessary to reach the goal cannot become “instinctual”, which is critical for long-term goal attainment.
This tangible plan should be made ahead of time to ensure that all variables are properly accounted for (e.g., time management for tackling the new goal). Thinking ahead of time also allows the individual to fully reflect upon what they want to achieve.
The key is to focus on one specific goal or habit at a time, in a step-by-step format.
Examples: Resolution - “I will eat healthier food” vs. Habit – “I will begin eating fruit each time I have a craving for my favorite pastry”
Resolution – “I will get in better shape” vs. Habit – “I will lift weights three times per week and perform cardiovascular training two time each week”
Don’t let your New Year’s Resolution fizzle, start with a tangle game plan and stick to it.