Tips for sticking to those New Year's resolutions.

I hear this statement every January : "this year is going to be different". And every year, around this time, a huge number of people will make new year's resolutions about their health and fitness; with only a small number actually seeing it through beyond the month and even fewer beyond February. In fact, statistics show that 'living a healthier lifestyle' and 'losing weight' regularly feature as the most common of resolutions for the new year (*2).

Research by the University of Scranton (*3) suggests that just 8% of people will stick with their goal this year.

So here are a few helpful tips to see your new year's resolutions become a 'way of life' rather than a disappointment down the track...

Make the decision for the RIGHT reasons :  A New Year's resolution is a mark on a calendar, but does it actually give you a reason to change something or make a sacrifice? Changes to your lifestyle should be made based on what is important to you. And this is why I am not pro-New Year's resolutions as such, but rather a massive fan of deciding to change things in your life for the better.

Your goal may be as simple as wanting to lose a few kilos, to feel stronger or to play with the kids more often without running short on energy. In extreme cases, the decision for some can be improvement to their health to avoid the risk of death. Wanting to stick around for your partner or to watch your kids grow up is a pretty motivating reason for change.

Here are some facts and figures to consider : According to the National Heart Foundation of Australia, Cardiovascular Disease claimed 45,053 Australian lives in 2014 - that's one person every 12 seconds! On top of that, 20,173 lives were lost to Coronary Heart Disease - one life ever 24 minutes and a further 8,623 people died from a Heart Attack (*1).

A lot of these deaths were preventable. Not all reasons for your New Year's resolutions need to be this 'heavy' and here are some really simple ways to help you achieve your health and fitness goals in 2017.

Start small : Let's face it, most people have spent a fair bit of time NOT doing whatever it is they've 'resolved' to do. So if you're just getting back on your fitness journey after a long break, you can't expect to run a marathon in a few short weeks. So start with small, achievable changes and build from there. Try to commit to doing some form of exercise three times a week. If your diet needs fixing, start with small changes at first. Drink water over soft drink, put less sugar in your coffee, avoid sugary cereals for breakfast and replace it with eggs or rolled oats.

Too many people go all out in the first two weeks only to become overly sore, tired and hungry or worse.... injured and unable to continue. As a result, they give it all away in week three.

Each little win will add up to big changes!

Find a fitness friend : A level of "accountability" will help you to keep heading in the right direction when it comes to your fitness goals. We all know it can be easier to let ourselves down rather than someone else. So make "fitness dates". Agree to meet a friend at the gym or for a walk or run. Friends that have similar fitness goals to you are perfect and you can help keep each other motivated.

Make yourself a PRIORITY : Many people see the fitness and health aspects of their lives as a hassle or something they need to 'fit in' to their schedule. WHY? Why do we make our own health and happiness seem like a hassle? We should look forward to improving our health. Make exercise just another part of your day. Try this... your day starts with your gym session on your way to work or ends with a brisk walk with the dog in the evening. Just like going to work it should be part of what you do, give your exercise program the same priority. Talk to your partner and friends about it, explain why it's important to you and they'll understand when you want to schedule in that CrossFit session before a Friday night dinner. You never know, they might just become your 'fitness friend'

Informed food choices and good meal preparation are another important aspect to your health and fitness. I'll never forget the time a friend said to me... "I need to get healthy, I'm going to drink fruit juice instead of soft drink from now on". I led him over to the fridge to show him that the sugar content is almost exactly the same in both. It's not his fault, he genuinely believed that he was making a healthier choice. He just wasn't aware!

Invest in an expert : If you had a leaking pipe in your house, you'd call a plumber - right? Or if your car breaks down, you contact a mechanic. So why not place the same level of importance on your health and make the investment in a Fitness Coach or Nutritionist. Professionals are there to help, support and guide you on your journey, and can provide you with the tools and knowledge to succeed.

Your health, happiness, partners and kids are WORTH the investment - and so are you!

All the best for the New Year. And this year CAN be different!


* References:-
(*2) GO Banking Rates Survey -  
(*3) University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology
Matt O'BrienCrossFit Zelos