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Why Fitness Resolutions Fail and How to Make Them Stick – Part 2

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Category: Active

Andrew Griffiths

Written by: 27th December 2016

Estimated time to read: 3 minutes

In part 1 we looked at how to use effective goal setting techniques to prepare and outline your New Year’s resolutions.

Preparation is key! To really increase the chances of success; you can prepare by anticipating and writing down anything that you think may sabotage your chances of succeeding and maintaining your resolutions into 2017. Grab and pen and paper, and jot down the following –


1. List What You Need

celebrating success

Make a list of things that you will need to put in place to ensure that you can achieve your goals and maintain your resolutions. Split these things into “essential”, and “desirable”. Essential things, as you might expect, are definitely required in order to achieve and/or maintain your goals & resolutions, whilst desirable things are those which would help, but aren’t required. For example:

Essential

  • A place to exercise
  • Access to healthy food in the house
  • A healthy shopping list
  • A Diet / Nutritional Guidelines
  • An exercise programme

Desirable

  • A training partner
  • An exercise diary
  • Friends to discuss fitness & nutrition with
  • An online coach or support group

Endeavour to put everything essential in place before you start. When this is done, look to see which desirable influences can be put it place too.


2. Anticipate the Difficulties You Will Encounter

middle aged man walks on the beach

Spend 10 minutes thinking about (and researching) all the possible difficulties that you may encounter on the path towards achieving your goals. Separate these difficulties into “hurdles”, “barriers” and “pitfalls”. Finally, write down the solutions to these difficulties:

Hurdles – things that you can’t avoid but can easily overcome

A possible hurdle could be people offering you unhealthy food. If so, there are three possible solutions to this:

  • Solution 1 – Confidently say “No thanks, I’m trying to lose weight and get fit”
  • Solution 2 – Stall them – say “I will later on thanks, not now”
  • Solution 3 – Tell all your friends about your goals, and specifically ask them not to offer you unhealthy food and that you would appreciate their help and support. Announce it on social media and via a text.

Barriers – obstacles that you can get around or prevent

A possible barrier could be shopping while hungry and therefore being more likely to buy unhealthy food in the supermarket. The best solution to this would be:

  • Solution – Make a shopping list and stick to it. Don’t shop when you’re hungry.

Pitfalls – behaviours & influences that can potentially derail your entire plan

A possible pitfall which many of us succumb to is keeping high sugar or processed food in the house. This is a particular problem during the festive period. A good solution to this would be:

  • Solution – Give away the unhealthy food to a food bank or charity

Another potential pitfall commonly reported is eating when either bored or upset. If you fall victim to this, then you have four possible options to consider:

  • Solution 1 – Try and remain logical & mindful about eating;
  • Solution 2 – Don’t keep unhealthy food in the house;
  • Solution 3 – Make a hot drink then go for a walk when bored or upset;
  • Solution 4 – Remember it will take around 2 months to establish healthy habits and to get your gut bacteria to generate a desire for more healthy foods. Hang in there!

3. Commit to Your Resolutions & Make a Positive Change

bike ride new year resolutions

This section is all about empowering yourself and acknowledging that you do have the ability to make a positive change.

Grab that pen and paper again and write down an answer to these three questions:

  1. Do you think that you will succeed? – If not, what are you concerned about & how can you improve the chances of success?
  2. Are you convinced that this programme is worth the effort? – i.e. are you convinced that you want to sacrifice & exclude certain foods and to undertake exercise in order to achieve your goals? If the answer is “yes”, then remind yourself of this in the future, if are tempted to give up.
  3. Are you happy and willing to take complete ownership of this programme? – Again, the correct answer is “yes”! Writing this down helps you to stay on track and attribute success to controllable factors, such as your self-discipline.

Once you have completed the questions and tasks above and our previous blog post on how to stick to resolutions, you will be fully prepared from a psychological point of view.

In the next blog post, we will look at some tips on healthy eating.

For now, remember that eating and exercise habits take around 8 weeks to become fully ‘automated’ and ingrained in your behaviour.


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