We all know the stories about New Year’s resolutions. Every year, countless individuals at every fitness level make elaborate promises to get in shape, only for those resolutions to shatter within a few weeks if not at the next meal. And even if you have a plan to stay in shape over the holidays, it can be hard to do so when you are tempted by delicious holiday food and dread the prospect of exercising in the snow.
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Everyone needs a certain level of warrior grit to stick to a New Year’s training regimen, but there is far more to adhering to a fitness plan than sheer will. Constructing a solid, intelligent plan is better than pure guts at ensuring your training plan holds up. Here are some basic ideas about how to create a proper training plan for the New Year and stick with it.
1. Set realistic goals
It is not like resolutions to get in shape are the only kind of New Year’s resolution that fails. As Psychology Today notes, one of the key reasons why these resolutions fail is because of the “false hope” syndrome. People set wildly unrealistic goals, only to become discouraged when they fail to achieve them and ultimately give up altogether.
When it comes to setting goals for a training plan, it’s better to be more conservative. No lavish resolutions of perpetual exercise. Set a goal for what you will accomplish over the next two weeks to a month. Once that time period is over, set a goal that takes into account what you actually did. This will avoid discouragement and ensure that goals are something to be followed and not just fantastic wishes.
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2. Set specific goals
Another reason why New Year’s resolutions fail is because people are not clear about what they actually want. They talk about being stronger or skinnier, but they don’t clearly define what that means. Often, people get tired after working for a few weeks, discover that they lost two pounds, declare “good enough” and stop.
Instead, write down your goal in terms of a specific number that you can target. Remember the previous tip and write a number you can achieve within a few weeks to a month. At that point, write down another number. With clear, specific steps, you can actually plan how to become more athletic instead of vaguely wishing for it.
3. Dress appropriately
If you spend your time training outdoors, the thought of braving the chilly air and cutting winds can shut down any desire to exercise.To combat the cold, you need to wear the right clothes, which ensure you are won’t freeze at the start of a workout while also preventing you from burning up midway through.
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The best way to dress for winter is to rely on multiple thin layers instead of one thick jacket or sweater. But you must also make sure the clothing is functional. Many places sell sport-specific attire, and you can get discounts online using bodybuilding.com coupons. That way, you can remove or add layers depending on your body temperature. Also, invest in a good pair of winter gloves, preferably made of polyester with fleece attachments. I personally wear Power Sport gloves from L.L. Bean. There may be better gloves out there, but they work well for the price.
4. Don’t live on salad
It is the holidays. Holidays mean good food. Holidays mean that you may gain some weight and can thus throw off your training regimen.
Your response may be to try to stick to a Spartan diet, but that can make you discouraged when you watch your friends and family enjoying themselves. Instead of disappointing yourself, Julie Periano recommends that you exercise harder after a good holiday meal to burn off the calories.
You may have made a plan over the holidays, but understand that occasional deviations are acceptable. If you try to rigidly adhere to a training plan even at the expense of delights like holiday food, your frustrated self may end up scrapping the plan altogether.
5. Just do it now
We often think of procrastination as “I’ll do it tomorrow,” but that’s not the only form it takes. Another form is “I will work out after these more important tasks are completed.” While this sort of prioritization may seem to make sense, what actually happens is that the more important tasks get replaced with other important tasks, and you never actually take the time to exercise.
If you truly want to stick to a training regimen, the best time to start is right now—not after you finish some articles or complete your daily work, but now. Even if you’re busy, take at least a small step toward working out to show that you are serious. Not exercising at all, regardless of the reason, is the first step toward procrastination and a failed resolution.