Make This Your Healthiest Year Yet

Posted by Makayla Krajewski on January 31, 2024

It’s the New Year, and that means the gyms are full of members getting back to working out post holidays. Excited gym goers are eager to get started on their resolutions and some who have never stepped foot into a gym are hoping to learn how to create their own workout routine. Whatever the reason, multiple articles online and statistics from fitness clubs and gyms across the country show a significant increase in gym memberships each January. Most likely this stems from the tradition of setting New Year’s resolutions that a lot of us make to “get in shape”, “lose a few pounds”, or “increase muscle mass”.

While getting in the gym is a great way to boost your fitness and kickstart your “New Year - New You” goals, it is repeated follow through and consistency throughout the entire year that will prove to be effective toward reaching your goals. While probably the majority of people have heard of the acronym S.M.A.R.T goal, this blog is going to cover a few basic points outside of the S.M.A.R.T. method. The intention is to encourage you to continue making progress and stay consistent with your New Year’s goals throughout the whole year.

Here are 5 ideas to help you stick with your plan:

  1. Set a goal that is actually realistic.
    The key word being “actually”. Want to know the best way to test if something is actually realistic? Imagine your average week. Now, let’s say you have some not-so-great we all do sometimes. Would you still be able to follow through and make progress on your goal even if you had a not-so-great day? If your goals or resolutions are only based on if everything works out perfectly and everything goes to plan, it’s probably not something you will be able to be maintain throughout the year.

  2. Keep it fun.
    Our lives are crazy enough as it is with never ending decisions to make and to-do’s to accomplish. The gym should be a place that you can go to enjoy and celebrate the health that you have. Whatever you decide to do, keep the fun in the gym and you will want to keep coming back. For example, playing a game of racquetball is not only more fun, but could be so much more effective in boosting your fitness than walking on the treadmill for an hour.

    Why? Well, not only are you (1) engaging your mind because of using your hand eye coordination which helps with balance, and even fighting dementia or Alzheimer’s; but (2) you are training speed, to run after the ball, (3) practicing agility, to make the quick turns to hit the ball; and most likely, (4) you experience a boost in your serotonin levels, because you are playing with another person. Finally, (5) it can also be emotionally recharging for you at the same time!

  3. Community and connection can be huge factors in staying consistent.
    When you join a workout class, sign up for tennis lessons, or set a date to go running with a friend, you are setting up spending time with others that fills you socially. If you look at exercise or being active as an opportunity to create and enjoy community with likeminded people, it can be so refreshing, both mentally and physically.

    Having connection with others also helps to make you accountable to follow through with what you want to do. If you don’t have accountability beyond yourself, it can be easy to skip a day of being active, to sleep in longer instead of working out, or to not try something new because you are afraid of not knowing what to do.

  4. Make it a part of your lifestyle.
    Goals that become part of your life rather than just another to-do on your list are much easier to stick with on a regular basis. For example, if your goal is to eat less processed food, you must change your habits. So, you need to learn to change your mentality about the food you eat and buy.

    When you plan your meals for the week or go to the grocery store, making progress towards this goal involves cooking healthy meals and buying groceries that are natural or less processed. That way, when you reach into the cupboard for a snack, you don’t even need to fight the temptation to choose between the chips or the almonds. If the chips aren’t there, they are not even an option. Naturally, you choose the almonds. It is less of a choice to “eat the almonds because you have to be healthy” and much more of simply needing to feed your body.

    Even better, if both of your options are healthier, like almonds or an apple, you get to choose whatever sounds better to you in the moment! Then it doesn’t constantly feel like you are denying or depriving yourself. It helps you avoid the weak moment or bad day where you might throw in the towel and end up eating the whole bag of chips because “oh well”. If you set your lifestyle up by changing your mentality and your habits, you are giving yourself the tools to continue for a long time.

    Another example might be wanting to be more active, but you also are trying to balance your work life, family/home life, and social life. If you normally get together with friends for a wine night or to watch a movie, pick one get together a month to try changing it up. Suggest doing an activity together that gets you all moving. It could be Pilates, yoga, kayaking, or even a walk on a local trail nearby.

    If it becomes routine that one hangout a month involves being active, then it automatically feels normal or is expected. Goals that we incorporate into our routine are less “daunting” to be consistent with because they become a part of our lifestyle each day, our new normal.

  5. Challenge yourself.
    Setting goals with the idea that you are going to do the same things you have done before might get boring rather quickly. More or less that is the definition of insanity - “Doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results.” -Einstein

    Change up your workouts. Set up a training session with a trainer to learn some new exercises or to really push you. Try a new class or activity that you have no idea how to do. Make a new recipe with your kids or grandkids that has only local ingredients. Find ways to go out of your “norm”, your “box”, your “comfort zone”, whatever you call it.

    Why? Because it keeps things exciting and fresh, and you might end up finding something new that you really enjoy. It also keeps your mind engaged and you might meet new friends who most likely have goals, too. Together you can help encourage each other to continue moving forward and progressing throughout the year.

Some people pride themselves in not setting resolutions, some are proud to share with others what they hope to accomplish, and a lot of us are just keeping it to ourselves. Whatever your preference is, it is good to have direction and vision as it keeps us moving forward in life. Your health and wellness is worth keeping, cherishing, and prioritizing. Try out some new ways to keep moving towards your goals and make this your healthiest year yet!

Makayla Krajewski

Makayla Krajewski

Makayla studied personal training at RCTC and is an ACE certified personal trainer with specializations in sports conditioning and fitness nutrition. She trained for many years as a competitive figure skater, is a US Figure Skating triple gold medalist, toured professionally with Disney on Ice, and now enjoys coaching both hockey fundamentals and figure skating. Outside of training clients at the RAC, Makayla loves traveling, hiking with Mishka her siberian husky, and is always down for a good workout.

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