Turns out there’s a right way to make New Year’s resolutions that stick. We quizzed several Memphis fitness experts for inspiration, and the good news is that you can apply these principles to almost any goal you set, fitness or otherwise.
Here are seven tips for keeping your resolutions alive longer than your Christmas poinsettia:
1. Sweat the details.
You’re more likely to stick with your plan when you set detailed, realistic goals rather than general ones like “eat healthier” or “exercise more.” “Smart goals include specific, measurable action,” says fitness trainer Lauren Phelps. “If you have a Fitbit and you’re walking 3,000 steps a day, set a goal to walk 3,500 steps a day for the next week. Trying to go from 3,000 to 10,000 steps overnight isn’t realistic.”
2. Find what lights your fire.
Exercise guru Amy Lipscomb, known as the Missfit Trainer, advises getting the right motivation in place. Do you love checking things off a list? Did you buy a slinky little black dress for the reunion? Is it satisfying to beat a friend’s record? It’s important to know what sparks you to get moving. For some, it’s a trainer or friend who’s counting on you to show up. Others prefer an encouraging Facebook group or tracking meals every day for accountability.
For Amy, a streak is a huge motivator. “One day, I realized I had run every day for six months, and that made me want to see if I could stretch my streak to a year. Then I made it two years. I never want to miss a day because I don’t want to end my streak,” she says.
Lauren is visual, and likes planning her workouts on a calendar and checking them off so she can see what she’s accomplished. John Irvine, owner and manager of Iron Tribe Fitness in Memphis, says he loves the competitive spirit of group workouts. “At Iron Tribe, we offer different group classes every day. At the end of the class, your workout is scored based on weight lifted, time or reps. People love comparing their scores to their classmates or even friends who may attend an earlier session. I thrive on that competition,” he says.
Bottom line? Don’t just wing it … find out what lights your fire.
3. Know your limits.
When it comes to improving your diet, it’s good to know how you handle temptation. Can you eat “just one” potato chip or will we find you elbow deep in the bag a few minutes later? Some people feel deprived and rebel when they eliminate all treats, while others need to go cold turkey so their diet isn’t a hot mess. Be honest with yourself about how you’re wired and plan accordingly.
4. Just keep showing up.
It sounds simple, but it works. When it comes to real change, it’s the mundane, day-in/day-out effort that counts. Lauren remembers a client who contacted her last May saying he wanted to lose weight. She estimates he was north of 300 pounds at the time.
“He started coming to my group fitness classes twice a week, and at first, he couldn’t do much of anything but march in place. Many of the exercises were just too hard. But he kept coming anyway, and now his clothes are much too big, and he can do even the toughest moves!” she says.
The moral of the story? Forget the impressive “after” photos and the dramatic reveals on reality TV. Just keep showing up, and the results will come.
5. Overcome setbacks.
It’s inevitable. You’re going to get sick, injured or travel … something will come along and interrupt your exercise and diet rhythm. “Accept up front that you’re not going to be perfect forever,” says John. “Don’t be so hard on yourself if you mess up. It’s bound to happen; just let it go and keep showing up.”
Amy is adamant about consistency. “Never waste a whole day,” she says. “Even if you didn’t do what you planned, do something. Walk around the block. Drink a few glasses of water. And never, ever, miss two days in a row.”
6. Make friends.
John finds that the clients who enjoy long-term success at Iron Tribe are those who make connections and friends at the gym. “When you exercise with your friends, before you know it you’re having fun. When it’s fun, you want to keep coming back.”
7. Forget the calendar.
A fresh start feels great, but the truth is there’s nothing magic about January 1. Real change happens only when you are truly ready, and that can happen any day of the year, says Lauren. “Starting healthy habits when you decide you’re ready reflects an internal motivation. You have to want it for yourself.”
Resolve to explore all of the amazing locally owned businesses and restaurants in Memphis this year. If you’re wondering where to start, let us help! Click here to download our free SB App!