I’m not the biggest believer in New Year’s resolutions because I feel self-improvement should be a year-long affair. If you’ve been resisting making necessary changes, it’s hard to believe you’ll follow through just because you’re inspired by a clean slate, chronologically speaking.
Looking at history, though, it seems to be human nature to view the New Year as an opportunity to move past old limitations and into better habits.
Some 4,000 years ago, the Babylonians renewed their loyalty to the king during their New Year’s celebration. They also vowed to the Gods they’d pay off their debts and return anything they borrowed. (I wish my neighbor, who’s been in possession of my weed-whacker for several weeks, would take a page from these ancient denizens of Mesopotamia.)
Now, are you planning on turning your health and physique around this 2019? If so, below are really effective tips you can use to set and achieve a healthier you.
Set Your Fitness Goals
You know you want to get in better shape. If you want to make a real impact on your fitness level in 2019, though, you need to get more specific. Setting a measurable goal can keep you focused and on track.
Your fitness goal might include:
- Losing weight or inches
- Fitting into a particular size or outfit
- Becoming more muscular
- Regaining lost flexibility
- Improving your cardiovascular condition and stamina
- Participating in an upcoming athletic event, like a half-marathon
Keep Your Goals Achievable
Whatever your fitness goal is, make sure your benchmarks are achievable. If you aim to lose 30 pounds in 30 days, you’re setting yourself up for failure. You’re likely to miss the mark and give up altogether, discouraged.
Pick a more realistic goal instead. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 4 to 8 pounds per month is a more attainable and sustainable level of weight loss.
Aim For Off-The-Scale Results
The scale doesn’t lie, but it certainly doesn’t tell the whole story. For instance, you may be dropping inches instead of pounds as you replace fat with muscle. For this reason, I suggest you start your fitness regime, by measuring places like your:
- Calves and chest
- Forearms and hips
- Neck and shoulders
- Thighs and waist
As you move along in your fitness journey, measure yourself again from time to time. Whether you’re aiming for a trimmer or bulkier form, a change of an inch or two in your waist, thighs or biceps can make a noticeable difference in how you look and feel.
Make A Game Plan
If you want to make a real impact on your fitness in 2019, you need to figure out the steps you plan to take. As French author and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
When I’m crafting a plan to make a fitness fantasy a reality, I like to take a two-pronged tack, making changes in my diet as well as upping my activity level.
Eat For Success
When you start your day with a morning run or a gym session, you tend to feel good — body and mind. If you dive headfirst into a carton of donuts as soon as you get home, however, you’re likely to feel bloated, sick, and a little guilty. It’s the very definition of self-sabotage.
With this in mind, your fitness game plan should include a dietary component like:
- Cutting out bread
- Eating less meat and more vegetables
- Following an eating plan like the Mediterranean or keto diet.
Exercise Freedom of Choice
Your fitness goals will largely dictate the nature of your workouts. If you’re training for a race, you’re going to need to run. If you have more general aims like improving your cardiovascular condition, there are any number of activities that can help you raise your heart rate.
Fitness experts agree that people are more likely to stick with exercise they enjoy, so choose undertakings you like. If you hate running, you might benefit from hiking, swimming, biking or classes like spinning, yoga, aerobics or Barre.
Chart Your Progress And Celebrate Your Successes
From time to time, you’ll want to chart your progress, whether through a scale or a measuring tape. Another good way to see how far you’ve come is to take selfies from several angles at the start of your fitness journey, wearing a swimsuit or exercise clothes.
If you’ve been following your fitness regimen faithfully but don’t seem to be making progress, I suggest you take a new series of selfies and compare them with your first set. It’ll give you an objective view of the subtle changes created by your fitness efforts. Improvements might include things like greater muscle definition, a decrease in visible cellulite or a reduction in those rolls that have developed on your midsection.
Take a moment to acknowledge your successes and, if you wish, celebrate them by treating yourself to a meal in a restaurant or a new item of clothing.
I hope you’re successful at reaching your New Year fitness goals. And one more thing, if you’ve borrowed any garden implements from your neighbor, I suggest you remember those ancient Babylonians and return them!