It’s a new year. That undoubtedly means it’s time for resolutions, and let’s admit it – you’ve probably included your desire to get fit or stay in shape as one of those.

You might have a rather generic resolution like you just want to get fit or lose some weight you probably gained over the holidays.  Or maybe it’s something more concrete like going to the gym every day or achieving your ideal body weight. Whichever it might be, there are some important steps you can take so you don’t give up on your goal of getting (or staying) in shape.

With the holidays just wrapping up, many guys across the country may have either received a gym membership or exercise equipment or they’ve bought them as part of a New Year’s resolution.  Every January, there’s a spike in gym memberships across the country because of exactly this. And attendance levels are almost always back to their pre-January levels by Valentine’s Day.  There aren’t any statistics about all the bicycles, Bowflexes, and weightlifting equipment that end up in basements and closets over the same period, but if it were possible to gather this data, then seeing a similar trend is not surprising. People make resolutions, and then break them either because life gets in the way or because they never really had the resolve to follow through with them. You shouldn’t cave into this. Rise to the occasion. And here’s how to do it:

Don’t Rush It, But Develop Good Habits Now

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Getting up off of the couch on New Year’s Day seems like a daunting task even if you aren’t hungover from all of the partying the night before. That’s okay, but it is true that developing your routine is an essential aspect of sticking to your fitness resolution, and you probably already know that the most daunting part of any task is just getting started.

Yeah, it’s January, and it’s probably cold where you live. If you’ve decided to take up running or cycling or some other outdoor activity to get fit, then one of the hardest things would be putting on your coat and going out and doing that rather than sitting at home watching the Rose Bowl. But if you can get yourself to do this today, you’re already showing a commitment to developing healthy habits. If you put it off until tomorrow, then tomorrow you’ll also have an excuse, and by the end of next week, your New Year’s fitness resolution has already become a joke. Now, ask yourself: do you seriously want that?

With that said, you shouldn’t rush it either. Don’t force yourself to spend two hours at the gym every day, seven days a week. Overwhelming yourself doesn’t serve any purpose other than making your task all the more daunting. An excessive regimen may seem like a good idea at the time, but you’ll also be more likely to get burnt out and give up on your goal. That is not what you want.

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Confidence is Everything

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There’s nothing more critical to reaching a goal than sticking to a routine, and for that having the confidence to do your task is indispensable. Don’t give in to your fears or inhibitions, and don’t assume they’ll just go away either. Facing them requires confidence, and at the end of the day confidence is paramount to achieving any goal.

Let’s say that you want to be able to bench-press 200 pounds by the end of the year. The first step is believing you can reach your goal, and the next one is committing to achieve it. That means you shouldn’t give up either – it’s entirely reasonable to go through phases where you don’t think you’ll ever achieve your goal. But if you give into such thoughts then it’ll be all but certain that you will not get what you want.

Be Realistic

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If you set fitness goals for yourself that you cannot possibly reach, you’re never going to achieve them also. That does not mean you shouldn’t aim high, but rather it means there’s no way that you’re going to be running eight miles in a day by the Ides of March if you currently have to stop for breath halfway up the stairs. You can have a lofty goal, and you should commit to achieving it, but you shouldn’t set one that is impossible. Doing so is only going to demotivate you, and it serves you no good to want to run eight-minute miles if you’ve not been working out in the last ten years and can hardly sprint past the mailbox.

Don’t Back Out

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Sticking to a routine is the best way to achieve a goal, but sometimes life just gets in the way. That doesn’t mean you should give up, and besides, life does get in the way sometimes. That fact should strengthen your resolve, not detract from it. But let’s be realistic here – many people will give up once they get distracted from their routine. It’s no exaggeration to say that most people end up giving up on many of their New Year’s resolutions well before the end of January. Don’t fall into this trap.

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One way to get yourself to stick to a routine is to make a commitment you can’t back out of easily. A road bike or a gym membership is an investment which you should take advantage of, and making an investment means you’ll have more motivation to utilize it. Feeling lazy or demotivated for a while? That doesn’t mean you should cancel that gym membership or sell off your Bianchi. It means making good use of them and using them as a motivation to meet your goal.

Kick Demotivation in the Balls

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If you’re embarrassed by your weight or not being physically fit, that makes for a pretty good motivation to achieve your goal. It’s not cool to disparage other people for their physical attributes, but let’s face it – if it helps for you to stay motivated on your fitness routine, thinking that “I don’t want to become morbidly obese” is not counterproductive. Just know that fat-shaming is a pretty nasty thing that society does, so don’t judge other people for their bodies. But if it helps you stay motivated to lose 30 pounds and follow through on your routine, then it’s not as outrageous as it would seem if you said it out loud. That being said, don’t disparage yourself – there’s no shame in being overweight, so even if your goal is simply not to be overweight, don’t hate yourself while you’re working on changing that.

January is one of the coldest, bleakest months of the year, and February really isn’t all that much different. That is noteworthy, because conditions like Seasonal Affective Disorder are actually quite common, and they sort of get you down. Don’t let it demotivate you to the point that you can’t follow through on your resolution. You won’t feel up to sticking through on your fitness routine every single day. Acknowledge that to fight demotivation.

Hold Yourself Accountable

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Most people give up on their New Year’s resolutions, and if you fall into this, you’ve got only yourself to blame. No one is going to check whether you’re exercising or going to the gym every day, obviously. You’re an adult, and you’re responsible for your choices, so make sure that you hold yourself accountable for following through on your regimen. Maybe you can remember to do things on your own, but if you can’t, there’s no excuse in this day and age not to set up reminders on your phone. There are plenty of apps and tools if you’re doing something like cycling or running and having a distance-oriented goal. And if that still doesn’t work, ask a friend to join you, because he or she can also be your source of motivation.

If you liked this then check out the authors website for more information at Livin Fresh.

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