Stocksy Txp169d3de86Oc300 Small 4925849 E1674491069927

5 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Fitness New Year Resolution

So you set a lofty fitness resolution for 2023, and now that your initial burst of motivation is gone, you’re finding it increasingly difficult to get yourself to the gym. Maybe you started the year strong, but a bump in the road derailed your plans, and you just can’t find the inspiration to pick up where you left off.

What gives?

According to Namaste Fit yoga instructor and bodybuilding competitor Tara Elisabeth Stewart, relying on motivation alone to carry you through the year is a recipe for disaster. “Motivation is so fleeting,” says Stewart. “It’s really discipline that’s going to get you where you want to go.”

If you’re finding it difficult to stick to your fitness goals this year, you’re not alone. A survey by Sundried found that 95 percent of New Year’s resolutions are fitness-related, and 43 percent of people expect to abandon those goals before February. If you don’t want to fall into that camp this year, make sure you don’t inadvertently undermine yourself.

5 sneaky ways you might be sabotaging your fitness resolutions

1. You set unrealistic goals

A vague New Year’s resolution (for example, “walk more”) can be difficult to stick to, as it does not have clear parameters. Concrete milestones can be motivating, and without them there is little to look forward to.

Stewart suggests making your New Year’s resolution SMART—specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. “You need to be clear about what your goal is, why you want to achieve it, and that it’s measurable so you can track it and see your progress,” she says.

“But don’t make it so overwhelming that you can’t do anything about it,” she adds, “because then you just get frozen.” A decision that is too daunting can leave you feeling overwhelmed. If you’ve never run a straight mile in your life, try to complete a 5K before the end of the year, not a marathon.

“In the new year, people are very excited, and that’s the energy I want to see,” says Megan McWilliams, a certified corrective exercise specialist through NASM. “But when we are excited, we can determine potential [a goal] it’s just so massive, and then get mad at ourselves for not being able to make it happen. I would rather see slow and steady, day-to-day things that bring you joy, to achieve a goal.”

If you think your decision needs a little refinement, it’s not too late to make an adjustment. Backing away from your initial ambition isn’t a failure—it’s a smart way to really set yourself up for success.

2. You have an “all or nothing” mindset

Slip-ups happen. Maybe you slept in one morning and missed your workout, or you caught the flu and had to skip the gym for an entire week. Or you just weren’t feeling it and gave yourself an extra few days off.

Stewart, who has been training hard for months to compete in bodybuilding competitions, says to be patient with yourself and approach deviations in exercises as small speed bumps. Think of your New Year’s fitness resolution as the accumulation of consistent hard work, not just one session or one week.

“I like the quote that says ‘it’s a marathon, not a sprint,'” says Stewart. “When you think of it as a lifestyle change, you’re constantly moving forward. And even if you take a step back, that’s okay. As long as you get up and go the next day, and you keep up with your goals, a tiny slip isn’t going to throw off your progress.”

3. You train too hard, too fast

McWilliams says that proper rest and recovery can extend the life of your fitness goals. Betraying your body’s signals to take breaks can lead to injury and both mental and physical burnout.

“Listening to your body is going to be huge, and a lot of people want to fight that,” says McWilliams. “Trust yourself, listen to your body and adjust when something feels bad for you. It’s going to keep you more consistent within a movement routine, rather than fighting it.”

Workout challenges like the viral 75 Hard Challenge are loved by many because of the quick results, but according to McWilliams, maintaining the required level of intensity can be too difficult for the average person.

“When you set out to do something really intense, you’re much more likely to burn yourself out,” says McWilliams. “That’s why it’s important to find goals that feel achievable and sustainable, that you think you can do consistently for a long period of time.”

4. You go it alone

Gymxiety is real, and if you’re going on a fitness journey for the first time, going to the gym alone can be intimidating. Throwing yourself into a new environment without the support of a friend or the guidance of a trained professional can be overwhelming. If your budget allows, consider attending a beginner-friendly class, or hiring a personal trainer to show you the ropes.

Stewart, whose love of yoga blossomed after joining group classes, says that friendly camaraderie can keep you motivated to keep coming back. “Once I got involved in the community, it made it so much more fun,” she says.

When it comes to sticking to our goals, Stewart adds, having an accountability partner (or two or three) can help you stay consistent. “If you don’t have someone holding you accountable in some way, no one is going to say anything to you if you take a day off,” she says.

5. You choose the wrong exercises

If you want to get fit this year, focus on forms of exercise that you actually enjoy. After all, there is more than one way to get fit. If you hate running but want to get more cardio in, consider exploring other ways to get your heart rate up, like Zumba or rowing.

Because if you dread your workouts, you’ll be less likely to stick to your goals, and may even damage your relationship with exercise altogether.

“Find out what sounds interesting to you, and try it,” says Stewart. “If you try something and it absolutely doesn’t resonate with you, why do it? You have to find your thing.”

McWilliams, whose training revolves around the tenants of body neutrality—the idea that you don’t have to love your body as it is, but appreciate everything it does for you—agrees, saying it’s best to choose workouts what you “think you will be able to do, and also what you are going to do enjoy do.”

Related Posts