Why your New Year Resolution should be your NOW Year Resolution.
The fitness industry can see up to 25% of it's annual business being conducted in the first 8 weeks of the year. This surge in demand is mainly driven by post-Christmas weight gain, and a plethora of New Year's Resolutions, made in good faith, but rarely adhered to beyond early Spring. In fact, as little as 8% of New Year Commitments are actually achieved, meaning most of us will continue to put off what we can do today, until Jan 1st of the following year - a never-ending cycle of non-achievement. And in the case of health and fitness, this can only lead to a gradual decline as a result of continuing sedentary behaviours.
Given the statistics then, January 1st is surely the worst time to be setting goals for a new and refreshed lifestyle. After all, what will have changed then, compared to now? You'll still have the same barriers: too little time, work and family commitments, social engagements, niggling injuries. But in addition, you'll also have new, and even bigger hurdles: the gym will be packed at peak times, your PT will be fully booked, and your favourite fitness classes will be over-subscribed. So much for a stress-free start to the New You!
And avoiding the crowd isn't the only problem with new year fitness endeavours: Over the years, I've noticed many January starters embark on their fitness journey with far too much enthusiasm; taking an all-or-nothing approach, in order to make the quickest gains. Going too hard too soon can lead to an increased risk of injury, and might make exercise much less enjoyable, especially for the de-conditioned; eventually leading to a lack of motivation and perpetuating the cycle of resolution failure.
It needn't be this way though. Physical activity can start at any time, not just January 1st, and something is always better than nothing when it comes to exercise. Don't be misled by the 'go hard, or go home' mentality, because only very few of the exercisers that follow this mantra will actually stick around long enough to make meaningful long-term changes. Instead, look at ways you can start right away - and enjoy it. Yes, that means TODAY! Have you got time for a 10-minute brisk walk? Can you find 5 minutes to pump the tyres up on the bike that's been holding your garage wall-up for the last 5 years, and actually ride it? What about blowing the dust off that P90X DVD, and giving Homes Under the Hammer a miss for a day? If we're honest with ourselves, most of us would say yes!
And if you have a bit more time to dedicate to self-improvement, but are unsure about what exercise is right for you, then investing in Personal Training is a great way to get started. A good PT will start you on a graduated programme that will help build your confidence, and is designed in a way that ensures exercise becomes part of your life, and not just a flash in the pan. Starting with a PT now will also give you a hugely motivational head start, and will make those Christmas parties, and all that come with them, seem all the more deserved!
Thanks for reading.