The new year is here already, and for many of us, new fitness goals for 2022 will be top of the list. In fact, over 40% of UK adults will vow to ‘exercise more’, with many saying they want to lose weight and to take a more proactive approach to their health.
Yet while resolutions are a great way to focus on what is important, come February many are broken or forgotten. To avoid falling into that trap in 2022, here are my top tips for making health and fitness based commitments you can stick to.
1. Start small
Making a series of small changes is much more sustainable than one massive, life-altering
change – especially if you have family members who aren’t on the journey with you. Get off
the bus a stop early, take the stairs not the lift, walk or bike to work and school, order one
less takeaway a week or take an exercise class after work. Starting small is especially
important if you don’t currently exercise or move much.
It can be tempting to try to change every aspect of your life or to work on every area of your
health and fitness all at once, but if you set too many goals too soon you won’t be able to
commit 100% to each one.
3. Set actual goals
Goals need to be specific. Without a specific goal to aim for we often get lost along the way.
It’s one thing to say, “we want to lose weight” which is vague and easily forgotten compared
to – “we want to lose 1 stone for a wedding in March” which gives you something very
specific to aim and plan for.
4. Be reasonable
Yes, we may want to run a marathon by next week, but if you set the bar too high, it could
possibly be unachievable within that time frame, making you less likely to stay positive and
work towards it. This can be very demotivating. Be realistic and honest with yourself and
you’re more likely to keep it going long after the New Year has passed!
5. Involve everyone
If you want the family to be fitter, healthier and spend more time together, then you need
to get them to join in too. If you make plans on their behalf, you might find that they resist.
However, sitting down and planning out what you all want to achieve and how to get there
will mean you work together as a team – whether you have common goals or not. It’s
always easier to keep going if you have support and it’s always simpler to do something if
everyone wants to do it!
6. Make a plan
One of the biggest reasons people fail to keep to their resolutions is that they focus on what
they want to achieve, rather than on how they’re going to achieve it. Goals are great, but
we also need to plan how we will get there – and think about what we need along the way.
For example, if you want to run a 5k you might first need new trainers, a dedicated running
programme and perhaps need to build up a bit of stamina at your gym.
7. Measure and evaluate
Having something to measure against enables us to see our progress and motivate
ourselves as we see how far we have come. Instead of saying, “I want the family to lose
weight”, you could plan for you all to lose half a stone by the family holiday in June, for
Make sure you have a way to track you progress – photos, weight charts and fitness trackers
all help. If you’ve met your goals, then make more. If you’re struggling, re-adjust so they
don’t seem so unachievable that you give up hope and lose motivation.
8. Make your goals fun
Keeping to resolutions and making life changes can be hard, no one denies that. However,
you’re more likely to stick to your plans if you make them fun. Working out with a partner is
one sure fire way to keep you motivated! You won’t want to let each other down. Changing
your routine regularly is also great for keeping your interest.
9. Don’t beat yourself up
Life happens. We can’t always plan for what’s around the corner and health, family and
work can take priority over a resolution. If you fail to meet some of your short-term goals,
don’t beat yourself up over it – however, it’s a good idea to see why you didn’t meet them
and look at ways you can readjust your plan or goals, so you won’t make the same mistake
Overall, New Year is an amazing time to make a change, there really isn’t a better and more
motivating time. But remember the tortoise and the hare? Slow and steady always wins the
race! Don’t put pressure on yourself, every little helps! (as Tesco would say!) It’s true, even
a little bit of exercise, no matter how small, will always have a great positive effect on you,
and your future self will thank you for it.