As January comes around again and New Year's resolutions have been set; we are all bombarded with endless posts, adverts and slogans chanting “NEW YEAR, NEW ME!”. Having detoxes, extreme diets and overly intense or just plain bizarre workout trends shoved in our faces to supposedly help us attain this “new” version of ourselves, when in reality these extremes are rarely sustainable and most have gone back to exactly their same routine by mid January (if not sooner). And so most people don’t even make resolutions anymore - because they simply can’t stick to them.
But why do you need to be a totally new you? Why not put your focus into just being a better version of you. To everyday just be 1% better than you were yesterday and by January next year you’ll be in awe of how much you’ve grown. Obviously you can start any day of the year, but everyone gets a good boost in the new year, feeling like a fresh start and wanting new, healthier habits to motivate them through the January blues. Top of everyone’s resolution lists is almost always “Start going to - or get back into - the gym.” Here are some top tips of small, sustainable things you can do throughout January and continue through the rest of the year to really help you become the very best version of yourself in 2022:
START SMALL - pick one thing you want to become part of your routine e.g. “I want to start stretching every morning.” This is a really good habit to start with and will do wonders for your physical and mental health regardless as to where you are in your fitness journey. Now look at a habit you already have set in place e.g. having a coffee in the morning. An easy way to add a new habit to your routine is to incorporate it into a habit you already do without even thinking about it. So every morning, while the kettle is boiling for your morning coffee - have a little 5 minute stretch. Soon this will just become a part of your routine and you’ll feel better and more ready to start your day. You can do this with any habit you’re looking to start.
MAKE A SPECIFIC SHORT TERM GOAL (that pushes you one step closer to your end goal) - If your goal is to “lose x amount of weight” or “gain muscle until I look like Arnie” or “add 50kg to your bench press” you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed and not sure where to start. Don’t get me wrong, they’re great goals to have and anything is achievable with hard work - but we all have to start somewhere. Think “how am I going to get 1 step closer to my goal today”. It might be something simple like setting yourself time to go to the gym twice a week, then make it 3 times a week and so on. Small and consistent steps keep moving you forward, and achieving small goals on a regular basis will give you a great boost along your journey to help you maintain motivation.
DO THE THING - we all have a “thing” we really want to do but have been putting off for whatever reason - whether it’s financial, not having time, not knowing where to start or simply not feeling “ready.” The truth is, you’re probably never going to feel “ready” - so why not just take the leap and do it? If your “thing” is truly important to you, you CAN find a way. Join that gym, book in with that personal trainer, start that business, buy that house - whatever it is, just have a little blind faith and do it.
INVEST IN YOUR GOAL - Now this doesn’t mean putting every single penny of your income or savings into looking like The Rock just because your goal is to “go to the gym more.” It can be treating yourself to a new pair of joggers or that t-shirt you’ve been eyeing up to train in. It can be a time investment, even just an hour of your time. Invest the time even when you don’t feel 100% motivated - motivation gets you to start, dedication and consistency gets you to your goal.
To summarise - small steps, consistency and a bit of faith in yourself will all add up in the long run. You don’t need to completely reinvent yourself just because it’s the first 2 weeks of January, just use the opportunity to start making small changes towards being the very best version of yourself you can be. Progress over perfection.
By Sian Stewart