January 7, 2020

New Year, New You?

We’re all being inundated with invitations to join health clubs and start that new diet and detoxes, because this is the time of year when everyone’s thinking, “this is the year I’m going to have that great body that I’ve always wanted!” We set these goals and then usually by the third week of January, we’ve given up on all of those new year’s resolutions. I’ve never set new year’s resolutions because they’ve never worked for me. And research shows that they actually don’t work for most people. However, if you’re thinking that you want to incorporate more fitness and exercise into your everyday routine, then I’ve got some great tips today on how to actually achieve those fitness goals that you want to achieve this year.

1. Ask yourself why? Why do you want to change your fitness levels this year?

Maybe you’re happy with your fitness levels, which is great, or you want to go to the next level, or maybe you’re not working out at all. Research shows that one of the number one contributors to our psychological wellbeing is daily exercise or fitness.

There’s a difference between exercise and physical activity and the research shows that it’s actually an increase in physical activity that improves your psychological wellbeing.

So what’s the difference?

With exercise, we think we have to be going to the gym or doing CrossFit or HIIT, achieving a certain level of cardio in order to be psychologically healthy. In fact, what the research shows, is just moving your body, stretching out the fascia, which is the connective tissue between your muscles, is good for you. And when you’re moving your body every single day, it actually does improve your psychological wellbeing.

When you decide you’re going to increase your physical fitness, do it for yourself. You’re going to do it because you love yourself and because you want to improve your wellbeing. For me, exercise is not about having that perfect body. When I talk about having a great body, I don’t mean that I’m perfectly chiseled or perfectly thin or a little bigger where I want to be. I just want to feel great in my body. My body is far from ‘perfect’ and I don’t care. What is most important for me with my physical activity and my fitness, is that I feel great in my body, that I feel strong in my body, that I feel amazing and sexy no matter how much I weigh or whether I have wrinkles or not, I just want to feel good.

As you start to embark on your fitness goals, think about, what is it for you? What do you want to achieve? Focus on feeling great and vibrant in your body. When you’re always thinking about, achieving fitness goals to look good, you’re never going to get the reward that you want because the next day you’re going to go out and you’re going to see one of your friend who’s the same age as you, who has a body like she’s a 16-year-old. Then you’re going to compare yourself to that person and you’re going to be disappointed. So forget about it. Do it for yourself and do it because you know it’s going to improve your wellbeing and your happiness levels.

2. Start with physical activity that you love.

You love to go for a walk with the dog in Sherwood forest. Go and do that. You love to do hot yoga. Go and do that. You love to dance. Get out to a club and go dancing. Do something you love because that doesn’t take any effort, there’s no resistance, there’s no energy that you have to put out. When someone asks me to go dancing I say, yes! There’s no resistance. When someone asks me to go for a walk with the dog, yes, I love that. There’s no resistance. Start with something you love. There’ll be less resistance.

You might think walking the dog is not going to get you healthy. Yes, it does. Walking is a really good form of physical exercise. You’ll find after you’ve done it for a while, that you’ll be able to do some higher-level things after that.

3. Performing some sort of physical activity takes energy and motivation.

Understanding that you have more of that energy in the morning. When we think about the whole research on self-regulation, is about finding that energy in yourself to do something that you might not be so motivated to do. If you start sending yourself love, you’ll be more motivated.

If you want to take yourself to the next level and you’re a little bit uncomfortable with it, then started at the beginning of the day. You have more self-regulation energy at the beginning of the day than you do at the end of the day. You also have to understand that our self-regulation muscle becomes depleted every time we self-regulate. I you’re trying to set 10 different goals at the beginning of the year, you’re going to eat right, you’re going to exercise, etc., you are depleting way too much of your self-regulation energy. Start with one thing.

For example, you want to start exercising in the morning. There are a few hurdles you have to get over. If you’re not a morning person, you now have to find the energy to wake up early. Then you have to find the energy to get your workout clothes on. Then you have to find the energy to actually leave the house in the cold, for example. Then you have to find the energy to actually get on the bike or treadmill. All of these things take a certain amount of energy. If you really want to start with baby steps, start by just getting up in the morning. Don’t do anything else just for two or three weeks. Just get up early in the morning. After two or three weeks of that, your body is going to be in a new rhythm. It’s going to be on a new clock and it’s going to be easier for you to wake up in the morning. Then make your way outside to go do something. If you’re going to go for a walk or if you’re going to go to yoga or you’re going to go to the gym, whatever it is you’re going to do, that’s the next step.

Remember, you want to start with baby steps. This is why it might take a while. If you start to do these things gradually, they will become more habitual for you as you go and it’ll be easier for you to ease into your fitness routine.

4.  Do it with friends.

Monday nights I want to go to yoga. I have a friend that does Monday night yoga, so I’m going to start doing Monday night yoga with her. I had a friend I was doing Wednesday afternoon swimming and I did that every single week with her for a long time. It’s called social accountability. We are social creatures. We absolutely care about being with our friends and feeling socially connected. Doing exercise with our friends makes it more enjoyable, it’s more pleasurable.

We have that accountability piece. When I did my Wednesday afternoon swims with my friend Angela, I did not want to disappoint her by not showing up or saying I don’t want to go this week or it’s 20 below. I just decided I don’t want to disappoint Angela, I am definitely going to go. You can also build in the social accountability is by stating it on Facebook, putting it out on social media. Feel great and congratulate yourself every time you do something. When you put it out on social media, you’re much more likely to actually achieve it because you know you’ve kind of publicly put it out there.

5. Show yourself self-compassion.

Show yourself self-compassion. Don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t make it out that night, just try again the next day. Don’t worry if your waist isn’t what it “should” look like or your butt size is not what it’s “supposed” to be. It’s this is not about what you look like. This is about loving your body and feeling good in your body. Care less about what other people think and care more about what you feel about yourself in your body. That is what is going to carry you to being, having a healthier life, having longer health in your life. It’s not about increasing your lifespan because if you have a poor quality of life in those final years, then how is that helpful?

You want to be increasing your health span to where you’re actually feeling vibrant and healthy longer in your life. Being self-compassionate is very, very important. Tell yourself every day that you love yourself. Speak to yourself kindly and understand that we live in a world where we are being inundated with all of these images of what we should look like, should hate that word look like. Do it for yourself. Do it because you love yourself and you will feel vibrant and sexy and strong. Trust me, believe me. It’s true.

All right guys, good luck with your fitness goals. And if you want it, I love it when you comment below.

Share with me what do you do to implement your fitness goals?

What do you do to achieve them?

I’d love to have more ideas and tips, please post them below.

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