Written by Imane Dodo
Image by @Yitty
We start the new year with strong intentions to crush our goals and stick to our routine. Alas, winter and life often get in the way, and before you realise it your plans have fallen through the cracks (A for effort and planning though huns!). It is particularly difficult to stay motivated when you can just be curled up at home eating your favourite food and watching Netflix. There are common mistakes you can avoid to make this year feel different, and get this fitness thing going for good.
1) Have a clear & simple plan
First, it is critical to reflect and define what you truly want to get out of your fitness journey and why. Being clear about your why is what will keep you going. Huns, set goals that you can truly achieve given your body type and the effort you are willing to put in. It is totally unrealistic to commit to losing 20kg in a month if you only have an hour or two to workout a week (that’s extreme but you get my point). Be honest with yourselves and have a clear and simple plan. Online research, and/or professional advice are both solid ways to start planning (having a bad plan is better than having no plan).It is critical to have a structure (e.g. know what days to work out and what to do on each day). Planning prevents you from having to think through exercises to perform every day, which makes you less likely to stick to your routine when life starts to become overwhelming. Set your workouts as a non-negotiable part of your day. A lot of people put unrealistic timelines to their goals, which adds stress and disappointment when things don’t go as planned. Have a timeline, but stay flexible and prepare for a long term change, because fitness takes time.
2) Find an accountability partner
An accountability partner, like a friend, a partner or a personal trainer can help you stay motivated when life gets in the way. It is easier to show up when you know someone is waiting for you at the park in the morning than having to do it alone. Set yourself up for success, we all have amazing intentions but it is extremely challenging to prioritise fitness when things start getting hard. In addition, build the internal mechanisms to not be an all or nothing. You missed a workout today, not the end of the world. The importance is to get back on track immediately, and not let time pass based on falling off plan once or twice. In the grand scheme of things, it is not going to matter that you missed one or two workouts. Be clear on your why, and remember it when you start slacking. It is normal to have doubts when things get hard, but you owe it to yourself to show up for what you want. We all fall through because life happens, the most important thing is to keep going.
3) Find an activity that you love
Lori Harvey has convinced us that pilates is the ONLY girl but really, find what you genuinely love and works for you. The hype fades, and at the end of the day it’s you against yourself. Find activities that make you excited, and I guarantee you there is more than one way to reach your dream body. Fitness that feels like a chore is less likely to stick. It is a new year, experiment with new activities, even the ones that do not seem attractive at first sight – who knows, you may just find a new found love in activities like tennis or pole dancing. Mix different types of workouts like gym, running, swimming, cycling and Pilates to keep it interesting.
4) Document your progress
Recording your progress is a solid way to keep motivated. It may take a bit longer to start seeing progress initially but it is a great feeling when you start seeing the fruits of your labour. Take progress pictures and videos every week that you can look back to when doubts arise. Seeing how far you have come is really important when you feel like giving up. Change becomes addictive, and the more you see progress, the more you will want to keep going and show up for yourself.