By Jay Knowlton

Did you know that only 28% of Americans plan to make a New Year’s resolution? If you’re one of them – congratulations! That puts you in the minority of adults who want to make concerted positive changes for themselves in the year ahead. The top five resolutions? Exercise more. Save money. Eat more healthily. Lose Weight. Reduce stress.  

Chances are you’re looking to make improvements to your lifestyle that will benefit your physical and mental health. Working on these in the gym and the kitchen, as well as other activities in your life, can do all of that and more – but only if you make adjustments to your lifestyle and stick with them. The key is consistency. Consistency. Consistency. Consistency. 

If You Love What You Do, You’ll Never Work Another Day In Your Life

Is there an activity you like or at least don’t hate? Just do it. If you like swimming, find an indoor pool. If you like dancing, join a class that lets you move and sweat to choreographed weight training. Do whatever will make you move. Running and jumping are great cardio, but it doesn’t mean they have to be your thing. If you like what you are doing, you will do it continually. If you don’t, chances are you won’t stick with it. If you are unsure what you would enjoy, try various activities until you find one that sticks. 

It Always Seems Impossible Until It’s Done

Instead of formulating your ultimate goal as what you are working toward, break your goal down into smaller achievable goals. If you want to lose 10 pounds, think of it as a goal of losing 1-2 pounds per week. If you want to add muscle mass, you can aim for putting on 1-2 pounds of muscle a month. If you want to run a 5K, try intervals of walking and jogging to get to the first kilometer, then the second, then the third. Your goals may shift as you work toward them but stay committed to your overall desire to get more fit.

Share Your Goals with The People In Your Life

Having the support of others can not only inspire you but also keep you accountable. Who wants to tell them later you’ve given up on your goals? Chances are you’ll want to report that you’ve been working hard to get what you want. You never know who will inspire you during this process. You may even inspire others to join you on your journey or start one of their own.

Best Is the Enemy Of Good

I hear one question all the time. “If I can only get to the gym for half an hour, is it worth it?” Yes! My answer is always a resounding Yes! It’s imperative. Not only can you get a lot done in half an hour, it will keep you in the habit of exercising. Feel like you can only give 50% today? Fine! Much better than 0%.

Pavlov’s Dog and Classical Conditioning

We need achievements to reach our goals, but we also need reinforcement with rewards to remind ourselves of the sweetness of success. Once you hit a goal like getting to the gym four times or sticking to your new diet all week, reward yourself for the hard work. Just try to choose one that won’t undo your efforts: a massage, a favorite meal, or a cocktail you want to enjoy. 

Your Body Can Stand Almost Anything…

… It’s your head that you need to convincePeople are often afraid to try something new. If you’re new to lifting weights in a gym, ask a friend if you can go with them while you get familiar with the machines and movements. Mirrored walls everywhere at the gym making you nervous? Trust me when I say nobody is looking at you and judging you. They are all too busy judging and looking at themselves.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

One of the big mistakes you can make when starting in the gym is working out too intensely, too long, or doing exercises that are too difficult for your fitness level as a beginner. This can make you super sore or even cause you to injure yourself. Both can make you miserable and discourage you from continuing. Concentrate on developing the habit of dedicating time to your fitness schedule and avoid squeezing in the gym when you have “free time.” There are one hundred and sixty-eight hours in a week. Devote tree or four of them to your fitness. Over time this habit will become part of your lifestyle.

Fitness Is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Take your time in the beginning. Concentrate on developing consistency and proper form with your exercises. All those people you see in the gym with physiques that you would like have been working on their fitness for five, ten, or 20 years. You will get there in due time. You just have to put in the work and be consistent. I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy; I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.

With over 20 years of experience, Jay Knowlton brings his training expertise to you. Jay’s pursuit of health and wellness extends beyond the gym environment, utilizing a three-pronged approach through exercise, nutrition, and mindfulness. Jay is available for one-on-one and couples training at Gravity Fitness.