I can hardly believe 2016 is almost over, and we are heading full steam ahead towards 2017. The end of the year always leaves me in a bit of a reflective state. Looking over the past year, the successes, and the failures. Looking at the goals, I set for the year and taking stock of my progress towards them.
All this reflecting always causes me to look forward, set new goals, in other words; make a new years resolution. One of my favorite resolutions to hear my friends and family make is that they want to work on their fitness, which as a dedicated gym rat makes me smile. If this is your resolution as well, here are a few things to keep in mind to set yourself up for success.
Make sure you make your new habit stick by make it a part of your schedule. If your evenings are always busy, you may want to add this in at the start of your day. On the flip side, if your morning is crazy getting everyone out the door, you may want to tack this on after work before you do anything else. Whatever works for you, plan ahead, and write it on your schedule or to-do list if that will help. Adding something new is always going to be hard at first, but if you stick with it, eventually it will just become part of your routine, and you will not think twice about it.
2. Choose a convenient location
Before you run out to join the hippest gym in town, think about how the location works for your life, is it close to your home or your office, or is it halfway across town. If you have the focus to work out at home, this is a great option, as you will never have to worry about if you can physically get to the gym, but keep in mind home has many distractions. For me physically going to the gym changes my mindset, at home, I always focus on doing chores or getting some extra work done, or if I am lucky trying to relax. At the gym, it is time to get down to business, and the other people there help to motivate me. I go to a gym located halfway between my house and my office, leaving no excuse to go to work in the morning.
3. Don't make excuses
Excuses are an easy trap to fall into at the beginning of a new exercise habit. Once you make an excuse because you were up late the night before, or are feeling sore from yesterday, you will turn anything into an excuse. Of course, there are extreme situations that may require you to miss a day, but avoid skipping at all costs. Take it easy that day if you need to, but don't skip. I always hear the phrase "never skip a Monday, " and I do not know where it started, but I could not agree more. Start your week on the track, and you are more likely to stay the course.
4. Don't try too much at once
If you have been away from the gym for awhile, don't show up on day one and max out. Make sure you are choosing activities that you can maintain, and as your body adapts, you can and should increase intensity. Listen to your body and learn the difference between discomfort and pain. You want your workout to burn and your body to feel like it worked hard. If you feel lightheaded or like something is wrong, stop or slow down.
5. Allow a rest day
It goes along with not taking on too much at once but also applies when you establish your routine. As tempting as it may be to go seven days a week, give your body a day each week to recover. If you are just starting out, 3-5 days a week is a great safe zone.
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