If you're in the habit of making resolutions, I'd like to share a few thoughts that may contribute to making them more successful. I've made a lot of resolutions myself over the years and I've been party to more weight or fitness related ressies than I care to mention! So many people fail time and time again because they set unrealistic targets for themselves - don't achieve them - hate themselves for failing - and start all over again. It's an endless cycle that can leave you reaching for a quick fix which is where the marketing companies, pyramid scheme sellers and magazines and tabloids come in to hoover up your money with the latest 'miracle' diet/pill or piece of equipment.
So what's the answer? Keep it real. Be specific. Get back on the wagon if you fall off.
'I'm going to the gym every day starting January'
If you're just starting out in fitness, twice a week is a good place to begin. Pick 2 days and put the training sessions in your diary as appointments - if you do not prioritise your training it'll always be the first thing to go when there's time constraints and diary clashes.
You need time to rest and recover, if you train every day from the get-go, you'll burn out in a few weeks and you're more likely to give up. Build up your frequency and when you become hungry for it, when 2 days is not enough, when you're craving more of that delicious, post-training happy feeling, then go to 3.
If you're a regular at my gym, you may want to think about increasing your sessions this year or adding swimming or yoga for a complimentary exercise programme. If you want to set a goal for this year - talk to me next time you're in the gym.
'I'm going on a diet and I'm going to lose a stone by...'
Whatever 'diet' you choose, may or may not work for the duration but what I can guarantee you is that as soon as you stop it and go back to eating the way you did before...you will go back to the weight you were before.
There is no miracle shake, powder or pill. The only long term solution is to buy, prepare and cook food yourself (or have someone do it for you if you're lucky) with fresh ingredients. In my opinion, doing this 80 percent of the time and eating out/snacking/socialising the other 20 percent is a realistic target once you're up and running.
Avoid processed food and beware of low-fat or 'diet' options as it usually means there's something else in there that isn't very good for you to make it taste better (like sugar).
'I'm going to stop eating carbs...'
Why? Because bread is the devil? You needs carbs in your life, especially if you're doing exercise! You need fat and protein too. Learn as much as you can about food, if you have access to Netflix or You Tube, there are some great documentaries out there such as Hungry for Change, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 2 and Forks Over Knives, check them out.
My fitness pal is a useful, free app that helps you understand what's in food and how much of it you need. It can also help with tracking a realistic weight loss goal. I'll give you a demo at the gym next time you're there if you're interested.
Set realistic, short-term fitness goals (random examples-discuss yours with a trainer or coach)
I want to be able to comfortably run 5km in 8 weeks
I want to get through a full 3 minute round of boxing on the bag within 1 month
I want to be able to lift 20kg in each hand at the end of 12 weeks
'I missed training on Monday and Wednesday so I may as well skip Friday and start again next week'
The same thing applies to your eating as your training...if you mess it up, START AGAIN NOW. It's as simple as that, keep doing it until you get better at it. Don't wait till next week or the beginning of the month or tomorrow - START AGAIN NOW. If you get to Wednesday and all is going to plan but then CAKE, well you know, START AGAIN NOW. Get out of the habit of postponing things until conditions are better - life is way too complicated for that.
The trouble is...
If you struggle with self motivation, try making an arrangement with a friend or someone from the gym - to pick them up or meet them as a way to help you stay on track. Use a jar and put a pound in it every time you train - buy yourself a new pair of boxing boots or trainers when you've reached their price in training sessions. Sign up to a course of sessions instead of single sessions at the gym or join a skills course like the Women's Beginner's Boxing Course.
Tear down as many barriers to your success as possible before you start and good luck with those resolutions.