The new year is fast approaching, and while making health and fitness-related resolutions are quite common, adequately preparing for them is not.
It may seem like you can wait until January 1 to get healthy, but if you don’t start planning now, you're setting yourself up for failure.
Here are five simple ways to kick-start your New Year's resolutions.
1. Find a workout you like.
Figure out what kind of exercise you want to do.
This is very important because you have to enjoy what you are doing, or you will not stick with it.
If you hate cardio, find a program that focuses on lifting weights.
If you hate the gym, find a program you can do at home.
If you love yoga and pilates, find a studio that offers at least three to five classes a week.
Remember: Consistency is key.
2. Set realistic, specific goals.
You need to have very specific goals.
A goal of, “I want to lose weight” will never work. You need to get very specific.
Want to lose weight? Great!
Want to tone a certain body part? Great!
How many inches do you want to lose?
Want to build muscle? Great!
How many inches do you want to gain?
These are very important questions to answer.
And again, if you have no idea what you are doing, find a coach or a trainer to have a consultation with.
Be sure to make goals that fit your skill level.
If you’ve never run before, don’t set a goal of running a race within a couple of months.
If you’ve never lifted weights, start off with some cardio.
If you’ve never exercised regularly, make sure you choose a beginner program and don’t dive right into something like P90X, which is very advanced and will kill your motivation.
Also, when setting your goals and plans for your resolutions, the most important aspect is to be realistic.
If you make a goal of losing 50 pounds in three months, you may be setting yourself up for failure.
A pound a week is doable, with guidance and consistency, but that's about as fast as you can expect to lose weight in a healthy way.
Don’t get caught up in fad diets or trendy workouts. Just stick to the basics.
Find a plan that fits your lifestyle and that is made up of an exercise style you enjoy, and let whoever is helping you set realistic goals.
3. Pay for it now.
Don’t wait until January to start shopping.
You need to get it set in stone now, so you're 100 percent ready to go on January 1.
Find a gym, a yoga studio or a workout program you like and genuinely feel you can stick with, and pay for it within the next two weeks.
Once you have that part accomplished, you can get your mind set for following through with it come January.
Treat yourself to some fun accessories that you will need for your plan as well.
Joining a yoga studio? Buy a new yoga mat with a fun design that you love.
Going to start running? Buy some new running shoes that fit like a glove.
Going to start a weight program? Buy some new dumbbells to use. Get a heart rate monitor and some workout clothing.
Ask for workout things from your friends and family for Christmas presents.
Get yourself excited to use these things, and it will be much easier to jump into it come January.
4. Ask for help.
I’ve mentioned this already, but if you are a beginner, you will need guidance.
If you go to the gym and wander around from machine to machine, you are never going to get results, which will make you very discouraged and you will lose interest.
This is a major reason people don’t stick to their resolutions.
Trainers are an amazing resource, but they can get expensive.
To cut back on the cost, ask your local gym if it has trainers on staff.
Their staffed trainers can assess your goals and fitness levels and get a program laid out for you, but you will have to complete it on your own.
Beachbody has some amazing programs by some great celebrity trainers that guarantee results you can do at home, and every program comes with your own personal coach to help you through it.
Having support and accountability is extremely important to sticking with your plan.
There are way too many resources out there for you to waste your time and not accomplish anything.
Figure out what works for you, and go after it.
5. Don’t overdo it this month.
It is very easy to get into the mindset of, “I will get healthy in January, so I’m going to enjoy myself now.”
This is setting yourself up for failure.
The further you have to go to get to your goals, the harder it is going to be.
Think about that.
If your goal is to lose 20 pounds and you put on five during the next few weeks, that’s five extra weeks of work that you just assigned to yourself.
You don’t have to skip the holiday parties and libations, but moderation is key.
That pie might be delicious, but is it really worth adding an extra week onto the work you will have to do next year?
Eat small portions, try to stick to the healthier items and don’t overdo the alcohol.
Making a plan now, and getting your mind ready to execute it, will help you tremendously when trying to set and accomplish health and fitness goals in 2016.
Follow these steps to start preparing now, and remember to ask a professional for help.
With a little help and preparation, 2016 can be your healthiest year yet.