'Tis the Season for Fitness Resolutions

Simple tips to making your fitness resolutions stick in 2016

Half of us will make a resolution for the new year and about eighty percent will fail. When it comes to setting a fitness-related New Years Resolution, the failure rate is even greater. How can you set yourself up for success in 2016? Here are my tips -

Understand that the typical resolution(s) fail for a many of reasons but have a few key themes involved. The biggest failure theme is failing to plan the success of your new endeavor. Typically planning is pushed back until the alarm clock goes off on January 1 and, after a long evening of revelry, you expect yourself to leap out of bed and into your resolution. You hit the snooze button on your alarm clock and your new goal. You realize you're not "feeling it" today and go into January 2 feeling a bit guilty and unaccomplished. The downward spiral has begun!

Avoid the "I'll start tomorrow" attitude, or pushing back beginning action towards your goal. You suddenly find yourself looking bleary-eyed at the start of your resolution (and your mirror) on January 1 with a goal and no idea how you're going to do it. The result; guilt, and an overwhelming instinct to return to comfy old habits.

What can you do to prevent the resolution failure spiral?

Start planning your new habits now

  • Inventory your gear. You're not going to get anywhere without the proper gear. Worse, you could end up injured. Research the proper footwear for your newly desired activity. You may want to get fitted a a local running specialty shop for shoes. Tell the staff what your plans are so they can direct you to the best shoes for you. Do not skimp on shoes. Sore feet will not get you where you want to be!

Following shoes on your assessment list should be socks, bra (if appropriate), and outerwear. Again, a little research will go a long way and you don't need to empty your bank account. I'm what you might call a "dumpster runner" - I run in whatever I have around at the time. None of it matches and most of it was purchased on the cheap. The key is to get clothing made from moisture wicking materials and layer for maximum benefit in cold weather.

Make the necessary purchases before you turn the calendar page. Remember to take time to put the stuff on...just to get the feel for how your new gear fits and works.

  • Assess your time and money budget. Print a few monthly calendar pages from your computer and plot out when, where and how much time you plan to train. While many people use the calendar on a Smartphone, putting your schedule on paper gives you a more comprehensive look at the first month of your training. These planning pages become the foundation of your training diary (more on that next post)

  • Choose a venue for your activity. If you're joining a gym, go there in advance to get a feel for the place. Visit at various times of the day including the timeframe you plan to exercise. The staff should be able to tell you when the busy and slower times are. You'll also want to be aware of any special classes going on that may limit your activity. Classes being held in the pool may keep you from lap swimming and spinning classes may delay getting on the bike trainer, for instance.

Simple tips to getting started

  • Just a day or two of planning and dress rehearsal will go a long way towards keeping your fitness habit on track. Hold a few "dress rehearsals" If you plan to train in the morning then get up a little early each day just to get your body used to it. Slip into your training gear. Make the most of this time by going over your gear or even driving to the location you plan to train at. 
  • Plan your route to the gym. Practice driving to the gym in your morning and evening commute. Get a feel for parking and how long it will take you to get in the place. 
  • Map a few routes. If you're like me you'll be training outside all year. Take the time now to plan a few routes to run or bike. Walk or drive those routes in advance of your start dates to get a feel for what they look like at the time you plan to be there. You'll avoid unpleasant surprises and feel comfortable by doing a few preview visits. 

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