January is the month of new goals and new beginnings. To start the new year with good intentions, many people choose to set resolutions for the months ahead. The most popular New Year’s resolutions revolve around living a healthier lifestyle. This could be anything from eating better, going to the gym more often, or losing weight.
According to research, 39 percent of adults set health goals for the year, but only a third of them stay on track after the first month. If you’re one of those people who’ve found themselves losing momentum with their fitness goals, there’s still hope to get back on track. Ben Lucas, trainer and founder of fitness center Flow Athletic, shares his thoughts on setting realistic and healthy fitness goals, with tips for removing barriers and staying motivated long-term.
Lucas identifies several key reasons why individuals fail to achieve their weight loss and fitness goals.
Setting realistic, achievable goals is critical. Lucas recommends sticking to a SMART approach, with goals that are specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and timely. “Even if you have a big goal, break it down into small, achievable goals. If you want to lose 10 kilos, start by going to the gym four times a week to celebrate. Follow a healthy meal plan and celebrate losing the first A 3kg. Start small”
Once you’ve set achievable goals, the next step is to establish a routine and develop habits that ensure long-term success. “If you hate running, don’t run. Try something else; the important thing is to find fitness and diet options that are convenient and fit your lifestyle.”
It’s also important to manage expectations in a way that makes your journey sustainable. You probably won’t gain 15 pounds overnight, so you probably won’t see significant changes in the short term either.
“When a person feels like they are not achieving their goals, they get frustrated and usually don’t try again for a long time. I tell my clients to expect to see nothing for the first four to six weeks. Just show up …Enjoy feeling better; enjoy the energy you get from living a healthy life. Sooner or later, if you stick to the plan, you will see results,” Lucas said.
The trainer also pointed out that it is also important to pace yourself. “They can try too hard in the first week and burn out or get injured.”
If you’re still not sure where to start, Lucas says embrace the unknown and remember that once you’ve taken that crucial first step, things will get easier. “Don’t overthink it, just get started. Hire a coach, join a gym, create or find an eating plan that resonates with you,” he says. “Write down a plan and jot it down in your journal, like any other appointment.” Keep it as is. If you missed the session, please come back tomorrow. Don’t wait a week.”
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