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New Year’s Resolutions: how to stick to them

Group fitness class
Monica Matys
Written by Monica Matys

Making resolutions on January 1st is well known. What’s not so well recognized is January 17th: Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day. Yes, there’s an actual day for that! So if you’re already slipping on those workouts, hopefully this blog can help you turn things around before this mid-month opt-out.

Over the holidays, a family member said something that’s stuck with me. As many of us were bemoaning the aches and pains that seem to inevitably accompany life, he chimed in with this: “I’d rather feel sore from a workout than just general aging.” Aha! It makes sense, doesn’t it? If you needed a little motivation to keep you going, make this your mantra as you read on and hopefully, keep those running shoes by the front door.

So where to start? Well a definite place to fail is by setting vague goals. Saying you want to get fitter, or be more physically active, won’t get you far. What will is being clear about what that looks like. Decide what activity you are going to do, how long you’re going to do it and when. Mark it in your calendar. Tell a friend. Use a fitness trackers or app. Shout it from the rooftops! Having a specific goal, and being publicly accountable for it, helps a lot.

The next step is actually taking a step. Or jog. Or swim. Whatever you are planning on doing, start small and stay humble. All too often, people race out of the gate too quickly and burn out, or lose momentum because results take time. Fitness is a long road – and hopefully a lifelong one – so no need to rush it.

If you’re not sure where to start, or what’s safe for you, definitely check in with your doctor to establish a plan of action. This is particularly important if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or take medications regularly.

Once you get the green light, ask questions of those already experienced in the activity you are interested in, like group fitness instructors or trainers. They can help you establish good form for your chosen activity, and can advise about any specific equipment you may need. Nothing will set quash your good intentions faster than an injury.

To keep it all going, have fun and find your inner kid! If you walk by any playground, movement is something that comes intrinsically to children, so let them motivate your actions. If activity becomes another chore, you’ll avoid it. Also mix up your fitness routine to avoid boredom and possibly overworking certain areas. Whether cardio or weight training, the best choice is one that you will actually do on a regular basis.

Going back to great quotes, this one’s a favorite: “You can’t outrun your fork”. All the hard you work you put in can be easily sabotaged with the wrong dietary choices. Physical activity requires proper fuel and hydration, and you’ll get the best long-term results – and energy to keep going — if you work all of these factors together.

So here’s to seeing January 17th come and go! Aim for January 24th instead — which happens to be Compliment Day — and give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back.

About the author

Monica Matys

Monica Matys

Monica Matys is a Communications Advisor at Sunnybrook.

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