New year, new … sigh. I don’t know about you, but the start of a new year can be a lot of things for me: exciting, fresh, intimidating or sometimes just scary. I have felt all the emotions when Jan. 1 arrives. We put so much pressure on ourselves to change something on that date instead of a random Tuesday next month.
I’m here to tell you that no matter where you find yourself, whatever date it happens to be, today can be a new start in your health and fitness journey. All feelings are valid when approaching a time of change, which can start with the New Year or any day you choose. Here are a few tips to help you start, change or maintain your health and fitness journey.
STEP ONE: JOT IT DOWN, AND CONTINUOUSLY AFFIRM.
Do you have a specific goal, fitness or otherwise? You should! Want to eat a wider variety of whole foods? Get stronger in the gym? Feel better in your clothes? Run faster for that next race? Pick one, write it down and be specific.
We make these goals in our minds, but we often fail to put them on paper and keep them in front of us. When you write down what you want to achieve, put it somewhere where it stays visible, or take it with you; don’t hide it!
If you do, you may as well never start. Think of how it will feel, smell, and even taste when your ambitions are realized.
I like to start my day by saying affirmations with my goal in mind. Most times, I say them out loud in the car while I’m driving with my favorite song jamming in the background. I have a few go-to podcasts that keep me motivated to achieve my goals, too, and I end most days with 15 minutes in a good book.
STEP TWO: PICK A STARTING PLACE.
Bear in mind that somewhere to begin can be a physical location or a specific date. Since we are at the beginning of a new year, let’s focus on a physical location. If you’re reading this on a random Tuesday, pick a date you have in mind. The gyms, fitness studios, and boot camps are packed at the start of the new year, but don’t let that get in your way.
A few of my favorite places to kick off or refine my fitness goals include my home, a gym and a 24/7 fitness studio. I love having a workout space in my garage for days when I don’t feel like driving to a gym or my littles are home. It’s harder for me to get motivated to workout at home versus going elsewhere, but it’s a great way to keep me accountable. Going to the gym or a fitness studio is fun because someone here likely will help keep you accountable.
STEP THREE: CHOOSE YOUR PACE.
How fast do you want to achieve your goals? Be realistic! Saying I want to lose 20 pounds by next Tuesday is neither realistic nor sustainable. Bigger goals like that require a steady pace over a longer period. When you achieve things at a pace that’s realistic, you are more likely to maintain your gains once you’ve achieved them. For weight loss, I consider a pound a week a realistic pace.
If you want to make better food choices, adding one healthy veggie or fruit a week makes the change sustainable versus adding a lot at once.
The good news is you can pick any time of year to create new fitness goals. Write it down, pick a place and choose your pace. Start with one goal at a time. It’s either one day or day one, and I hope today becomes your day one.