Starting a fitness routine on New Year’s Day? Why that usually fails.

Getting healthy and fit!

One of the most commonly stated, and failed, New Year’s resolutions. I’ll get healthy and fit in the new year! While making the decision to incorporate fitness into your lifestyle is always a great idea, choosing January to start can be overwhelming. But why? Let’s look at a common timeline.

I’ll get healthy right after the holidays

You decide somewhere around early to mid November that you’ll make a healthy lifestyle an everyday habit starting in January. That’s approximately 6-8 weeks out. What happens during those specific 6-8 weeks of the year? HOLIDAYS! During those weeks we are typically more indulgent with poor eating and drinking habits than any other time of year. Starting right around Thanksgiving and carrying on through January 1st, there are often 1-3 holiday parties per week!

What does this mean for your goal?

I’ll get healthy and fit in the new year, means that on January 1st, in the middle of winter, when it is cold, and gets dark early, you are planning on getting up, and starting a brand new routine, that at best, will take weeks just to get back to the shape you were in when you made the goal in the first place. Think about that. Would you set a goal to eliminate credit card debt, BUT FIRST, take two months to max out your credit, THEN begin working on paying it down? I hope not.
By the time January rolls around we are typically in a period of the year when we are more sedentary due to weather, have been eating and drinking poorly due to holidays, and have inevitably gained more weight. Adopting a healthy lifestyle can be a tough mountain to climb no matter when you begin. But you want to climb that mountain after a blizzard?

Why not start now?

Here are some tips for how to make a healthy lifestyle an everyday habit:
1. Start Small – Imagine if I gave you five tennis balls and asked you to juggle them for me. What would likely happen? Would you agree that they’d all end up on the floor? Now suppose I gave you one ball and asked you to pass it back and forth between your hands. Manageable, right? Create a list of goals, choose one, make it a habit then add another. It will be less stressful and you’ll have a better chance at long term success.
2. Start NOW! – You don’t need to train like a world class athlete, but you do need to do something, and it needs to be done now. Try walking. Make a commitment to walk for one hour at a steady pace 5-6 days of the week. This can even be broken up into segments, 10 minutes in the morning, 20 minutes after lunch, 30 minutes in the evening. Put on a podcast or some music to listen to, or invite a family member or friend. If you’re able, sign up for a group fitness class and make it a social activity. Having a regular class to attend where you meet/make new friends is a great way to socialize and promotes adherence.
3. Accept the process – Living a healthy lifestyle is a lifelong process, not a one month fix! Some days, months, years will be better than others, but you are always working at it. Many of my clients assume upon meeting me that I train 7 days a week. Not even close! I have a wife, kids, job…who has time for that? I strength train approximately 2-3 hours a week and try to walk at least an hour daily. The results you see when you meet me weren’t achieved in one month. They are the result of a process that I’ve consistently built over time. I like to use a retirement metaphor. You wouldn’t simply save a portion of your income every January and expect that to feed your retirement, would you? No. You need to save/invest a portion of every paycheck throughout the course of your career. Investing is a lifelong process. Fitness is the same. 
Start with a little, make it a habit, build over time, enjoy the results.

Happy Holidays and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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