This is the time of year when all good fitness bloggers share their strategies for getting through the holidays without gaining too much weight or losing too much ground at the gym.
Much of this advice centres around tips for navigating party food (‘eat before you go out’, ‘alternate alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks’, ‘avoid second helpings’, ‘offer to bring a salad’…) and squeezing in short bouts of non-exercise movement under the guise of having family fun (‘go skating together’, ‘climbing a tobogganing hill burns 300 calories an hour’, ‘ head to an indoor pool and swim laps while the children play’…).
While I believe these bits of advice can be helpful (and I’ve written many posts myself, chock full of tips for avoiding holiday weight gain and carving out time for your Christmas-day workout…), I also think that they completely miss the mark when it comes to really helping people stay focused on their fitness and health goals for the long term. Helping them find not just a new year’s fitness strategy, but an approach that will work for months and years to come.
Most of us start the year off strong.
That’s why the gym is so full in January and your Facebook feed has been covered with ‘New Year’s Fitness’ offers for the past month.
We implement the tips and ‘micro’-strategies offered up, but can only do so for so long before we begin to lose motivation and revert to our previous state.
As the year draws to a close, we fizzle out, hoping, at best, to ‘maintain the status quo’ at the gym or strive for ‘zero net gain’ on the scale.
What if we finished the year as strong as we began it?
What if we shifted our mindset to value seeing a project through to the end?
What if we recognized the importance of being someone who finishes what she starts?
What if we no longer created a ‘new year’s fitness strategy’ each and every year?
I’m guessing that January would be just another month on the calendar. (And we’d see improvement in a lot of other areas in our lives…)
A month in which we’d continue to progress our workouts, improve our health and see the numbers on the scale shift in the direction we’d like. Without the dramatic increase (and subsequent equally dramatic decrease…) in the number of people at the gym.
I challenge you to think back to your January 2016 goals, intentions and resolutions. Be it weight loss, improved health, squatting your body weight or doing five consecutive push-ups.
Remind yourself why those goals were important to you.
If they’ve become less of a priority as the year elapsed, re-instate them to the top of your to-do list for the remainder of the month.
By the time 2017 arrives, you’ll already be well on your way to have re-established positive habits. Long before the January exercisers have done their thing; starting and stopping for another year.
Finishing the year strong is surely your best strategy for ensuring a fit, healthy and successful 2017 and beyond…