You know what I miss? Shopping my closet. Because favorite pieces no longer fit. I’m ready to get healthier and focus on fitness in the new year. How about you? Whelp, an estimated 1 in 4 of us who make the decision to get in more exercise won’t be able to stick to new fitness habits for more than a week, according to the Association for Psychological Science. Gym traffic spikes in January by as much as 40 percent, only to taper off in a few weeks. No wonder people who gain weight over the holidays typically lose only half the added pounds 12 months later. I am not trying to be anybody’s fitness fail statistic, so I researched what trips folks up and how we can stay on track. Now, let’s get moving!
Fitness fail: You’re going it alone.
The fix: A date with a girlfriend, partner or trainer makes it harder to skip sessions. Group texts between my sisters are helping to keep me accountable.
Fitness fail: You’re not really ready. Picking up a magazine that has “New Year, New You” on the cover doesn’t count as willpower.
The fix: Think about your goal. Now ask yourself, on a scale of 1 to 10, how bad do I want this? Next ask yourself on a scale of 1 to 10, how confident am I that I can make it happen? If you don’t rate at least a 6 on both motivation and confidence, experts say, select a simpler goal. Also, run the plan by your doctor.
Fitness fail: You’re starting the New Year with old gear. Old shoes could have you sidelined with an injury. A chlorine-faded swimsuit might show off more than your breaststroke.
The fix: Treating yourself to a new tracksuit, yoga mat or pair of kicks helps make your workout routine stick by getting you psyched for your sweat session, sports psychologists say.
Fitness fail: Your mind-set is too macro. Those of us with an all-or-nothing approach often give up too soon. Yup, that’s me. I’ve switched to shorter cardio sessions, which are easier to fit in.
The fix: If you’re new to running, don’t start with a mile. Start with a minute, then walk for a minute or two, and repeat.
Fitness fail: You don’t have a backup plan. It’s raining. The pool is closed. Yoga class is full. Oh, well.
The fix: Arm yourself with workout alternatives before you need them. If I’m too late for Zumba, I’ll get on the cross-trainer. If the treadmills are all taken, I’ll use the rowing machine. If it’s too cold for a walk, I’ll follow a workout video indoors.
Fitness fail: Your routine is so … routine.
The fix: If you’ve been doing intervals on the elliptical trainer all week, try a cycling program. Vary your walking route.
Fitness fail: You don’t reward yourself.
The fix: Celebrate small wins as often as possible. Losing 10 pounds by next month is great, but logging 10,000 steps today will help you get there.
Fitness fail: You’re not having fun.
The fix: If you don’t like Pilates, try karate.
Fitness fail: Your gym bag isn’t packed, which means you’ve set yourself up for a.m. mayhem.
The fix: Swap out the sweaty shorts and shirt for clean togs and towels the night before. Refill that travel-size shampoo bottle. Stow everything by the door.
Fitness fail: Your habit has no hook. You meant to take a short walk, but you forgot.
The fix: Reinforce new habits by attaching them to existing ones. “When I go to the mailbox, I’ll walk around the block before collecting letters and packages.”
Fitness fail: You trip if you skip a workout. The day got away from you after you put a fire out at work. Now all you are exercising is regret, which sours your feelings about fitness.
The fix: Hey, let’s stop sweating setbacks. Tomorrow is another day!