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Health, Fitness and New Year Goals

Today’s Facebook live discussion focuses on health, fitness and New Year goals and resolutions. Dr. Piere-Piere provided tips on how to stay the course, remain motivated for the year, and reach the target result.

It’s a new year, a new start: How can we maintain our health care and fitness resolutions?

The first thing to do when considering making resolutions for the new year is to set a realistic goal with your current lifestyle considered.  Your resolution needs to add value to your life rather than take anything away from what is currently working in your day to day.  For example, making a goal of working out at a gym every day, when you have children at home to take care of, or trying to fit in a locked time for a run, when you work shift or a non-standard schedule, is not sustainable, and will cause problems instead of benefits.

A reasonable goal that starts slowly, squash expectations that take you from zero to 100 immediately or diving into the deep end before you have learned to swim.  Anything that is rushed, pushed too far too fast, can cause more damage to your health and wellbeing, or to help you to achieve your goal.

Tips to maintain your health and fitness goals:

  • Set small targets – If your goal is to run a 5K, start by walking and running smaller distances and then increase until you reach your mark
  • Start a buddy system – Choose a friend to motivate and hold you accountable, and you for them
  • Reward yourself – It is not all about pushing yourself so hard, or depriving yourself, when you reach a goal, or a subset of your goal, celebrate
  • Schedule rest days – Set a decent pace and remember to rest, pushing yourself too hard for too long causes burnout and leaves you feeling wiped out
  • Avoid beating yourself up – Allow yourself grace, be kind and do not react harshly if you do not achieve exactly you set in stone, be your own cheerleader, and just keep going
  • Track your progress – With a chart or fitness app, keep track of your achievements and measure your progress
  • Set goals important to you – Connect to your goal, and to the end result because there is a feeling of pride and achievement when you are invested in the outcome
  • Stay motivated – Choosing fitness goals by doing something that you enjoy helps, if you like doing it, you will continue come rain or storm, and not become bored and stop
  • Nourish your body – Food, water and plenty of sleep provide a firm foundation for all health and fitness goals
  • Acknowledge days when you feel off – Do not punish yourself for a down day, it is normal, and breaks are necessary to recharge and get rejuvenated to do it all again

When it comes to setting and reaching fitness goals, slow and steady, wins the race while consistency is key. Start slow, and steadily commit to being consistent, instead of jumping head-first with all guns blazing.  Be prepared to start and stop again and don’t get impatient with yourself. Trust the process and imagine the feeling of pride when reaching the end of the year and looking back at all the things that you accomplished.