With every New Year comes flurries of determined resolutions, and we’re no stranger to them as most seem to relate to getting fitter (or slimmer). Especially after the Christmas season, it’s a time for people to step back, take stock and consider how their physical health could be improved. The same way you might take stock after a heavy party, an indulgent holiday or a particularly big cake. But how many of us make these promises to ourselves and don’t follow through? It turns out that those who do make their commitments at New Year are more likely to see results.
What’s so special about New Year’s resolutions?
This is a time of year when everyone is in the same boat. We all get to look back at the past, consider the present and look forward to the future all at the same time. When you make a New Year’s resolution, you do it alongside everyone else, and you let it be known. And when we’re all in this together, and the failure to achieve becomes something public, then we’re more likely to follow through. Don’t take it from us, though, this great video from Dr Mike Evans can tell you a little bit more about how it works:
How to get fit in the New Year
So how do you leverage that New Year’s resolution to achieve your physical health goals? How do you stay on course to getting fit? Here’s a few tips from us here; lessons we employ at all times that are especially true to anyone looking to take up fitness now, as a course of improvement.
1. Set realistic goals – There’s two important facets here. You need a concrete goal to aim for, a target, to give you focus. Otherwise your resolution becomes vague, and easily dismissed. If we’re talking about improving your knee health, for instance, something specific to aim for could be achieving a certain number of squats a week, achieving a certain depth in your squats, or adding weight to what you already do. The second facet is making sure it’s realistic though. More on that below.
2. Set manageable challenges – Break your goals down into small challenges that you can overcome. Give yourself stepping stones, not one giant hurdle, and you’ll not only get there a piece at a time, but you’ll build confidence as you achieve as you go. Those using sissy squats to banish patella maltracking, for example, would be unwise to aim straight for the long range single leg version of the exercise. Instead, small incremental goals to increase distance from the wall from session to session would be the better approach.
3. Don’t do it alone – Let people know what you’re aiming for. You don’t have to ask for help, but you do have to commit, to own your challenge and hold yourself accountable, not just to yourself but to others around you. Keep your challenges a secret and you can give up without anyone noticing. Make it public and you’ll find it easier to keep yourself motivated.
4. Keep track – Make a record of what you want to do, and what you achieve as you do it. Write down the results of your exercises, so you can map your progress – and so that you can continue to amend your targets. When rehabilitating a knee injury, this record might be comments about how you felt about different elements of your technique during an exercise. For example you might make a note about tightness in your ankles during squats. This will serve as a reminder for next session so you can experiment with a new soft-tissue mobilisation and note down whether it had any positive effects.
Stick to these four points and, by keeping your challenges specific and open, you’ll find achieving those New Year’s resolutions that much easier. And you’ll be in better health than you ever thought possible.