It's safe to say we're all about ready to bid adieu to 2020 and lean into the hope-filled prospects of a new year. For many, that also means making new resolutions that prioritize self-care, which includes our mental and physical health.
This coming year will simply be different from year's past, which means there are even more curveballs than usual that can potentially sabotage our goals. To help ensure your 2021 fitness goals don't fizzle prematurely, we asked some gurus to share what to do — and what not to do — as you make and work toward your resolutions.
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Set Realistic Goals with Wiggle Room
The best resolutions are tangible and realistic ones. "When working with clients, I recommend setting non-numerical goals," says Dani Schenone, a holistic wellness specialist at Mindbody. "Normally, we set goals to lose x pounds, eat x calories per day, or work out x times a week. This usually ends with us giving up on January 5th because these goals aren't sustainable, flexible, and they are restrictive and harmful in nature."
Instead, she recommends setting goals that are attainable and give you room to ebb and flow. For example, if you love the idea of running then sign up for a program such as Couch-to-5K and let yourself take a day or two off, if needed.
"Allow in this process the flexibility for life stuff," she says. "Release shame or guilt for skipping a day. Simply make the commitment to come back, no matter what."
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Prioritize Long-Term Vs. Short-Term Thinking
"Nobody — not even trainers — are motivated 100% of the time. At some point though, you're going to have to have the self-discipline to know that you set a goal and your daily activity to reach that goal is simply a non-negotiable," says Shannon Decker, a certified personal trainer for Performix House. "You have to believe enough in your bigger picture to be able to prioritize what's most important to you and your ultimate happiness and health."
This "big picture" mindset also helps when you do slip — which will inevitably happen. Frame it as a small blip on a big scale and get back on the saddle tomorrow morning.
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Log Your Progress
Seeing a clear log of what you plan to achieve — and what you've already achieved — is a great way to maintain momentum. "I like to keep a calendar so I can see that I've completed all the workout goals I set for myself for the week," says Decker. "I highlight them so then it motivates me to keep the pattern going." Don't overthink the log. It can be done with literal paper and pen, tracked in your phone notes, or even a white erase board in your fridge.
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Get an Accountability Buddy
"Get a gym buddy, or better known as an accountability partner," advises Austin Brock, a certified trainer and coach, and the co-owner of Slash Fitness in Delray Beach, Florida. "Whether it's your spouse, a family member, or a colleague, having someone else taking the journey with you is a great way to keep your health and fitness goals on track. Especially on those days in March when you are tired and don't want to get out of bed to hit the gym!"