Revive your Resolutions with Routine
By now, more than half of those who’ve made a New Year’s resolution to get into the gym have already broken that promise.
Why? Making the resolution was too easy.
In less than two weeks’ time, a litany of worthy excuses got in the way. It was too cold. They were too tired. It was hard to work out. The gym was crowded.
Whatever the reasons, the excuses puffed up, the resolution grew stale.
“All of a sudden, we forgot the goal, the resolution, and started thinking of excuses,” said DJ White, FITSPACE Ultimate program director and certified personal trainer.
You can easily get back to your original goal, though, one small step at a time and one day a time, White said.
Instead of looking at your goal in its entirety, view each time you step into the gym as a success, she said. The small success feels good, and that feeling eventually builds on itself to form a habit.
“That’s where routine comes in,” she said. In fact, Fitspace’s Ultimate program was intentionally designed as a five-day-a-week program to reinforce going to the gym as a weekday habit.
White also suggests swapping good behaviors for bad ones instead of dropping bad ones entirely. The brain doesn’t like the void. For example, instead of telling yourself you will no longer eat breakfast sandwiches every day, replace the sandwiches with scrambled eggs.
“It’s not enough to say I’m not going to have it,” White said.
A few more takeaways to keep your resolutions rolling:
1. Words matter. Discipline is negative, and most people associate it with militaristic requirements. Routine, on the other hand, is positive. You can fall down one day and get back up the next.
2. Create a happy place. Surround yourself with success. A group class works because you’re with people with similar goals and commitments. Eventually, camaraderie seeps in and reinforces the desire to return.
3. Success begets success. Every day that you return to the gym builds on your habit and reinforces your routine.
4. Give it time. It takes four to six weeks for new neurological patterns (i.e. going to the gym) to develop.