Have you set yourself a New Year's Resolution?
Sundried conducted a survey with a reach of 4,000 people and found that 43% of people expect to give up their goal after just one month.
Research shows that 95% of New Year's Resolutions are fitness related, but after just 3 months, only 10% of people think their resolution will last.
So why do we give up so easily and how can we make sure our goals not only last, but are met?
10 Reasons we give up on our New Year’s Resolutions
1. Going Solo
Many of us set our fitness goals and then try to achieve them alone. We won’t tell anyone what we’re working towards in fear of failure. In fact, we need to think more - strength in numbers, by sharing our goals with others we are more likely to succeed for two reasons.
- You have someone to answer to. Sharing a goal suggests you’re truly serious about wanting to make it happen, as you wouldn’t want to be seen as a failure.
- A problem shared is a problem halved - training with someone towards your goal, be it a friend or a PT adds twice the motivation and can help to ensure you don’t let yourself, or your partner down.
2. Too High Expectations
It’s important to set a New Year's Resolution which is realistic, you can’t be expecting a Christmas miracle to conquer your New Year’s resolution for you. If you want to lose weight, put a number on it that's achievable, rather than leaving it open-ended or expecting the world in just a few months. You can do this by truly analysing your goal, taking a good hard look at yourself and weighing up whether your fitness goal is realistic. It may mean downsizing your goal for now, but keeping it as a goal to work towards in the future, as part of your bigger picture.
3. Giving up too easily
January is a tough old month, it’s cold, it’s dark, everyone’s got hangovers and it's another 11 months before next Christmas, talk about January blues...because of this, it seems to take less of an excuse for us to give up on our goals. We need to hang on in there! Having a plan of how you’re going to achieve your goals once the excitement wears off can help you to stay focused. Once you’ve achieved a fitness goal, you're far more likely to set and achieve another because you know you really can do it, you’ve proved it!
4. Not Enough Time
As with any goal, sometimes it’s hard to find the time to make it work and so for many fitness goals, this can be the reason we fail. Setting slots in advance for exercise or breaking routines into 5-minute goals and targets can help to knock your goal down into more manageable time frames. Fitness doesn’t take hours and hours, it just takes good planning. For example, we created EHOH, every hour on the hour, where we exercise for a few minutes at a time to combat the negative effects of having a sedentary office job. Prioritise your goal as of importance to you and you’re sure to find time to work at it.
5. Not Enough Money
A new goal usually comes at a cost, whether it’s a new gym membership or new kit, money can be a deciding factor in you achieving your goal. Whilst sometimes the initial start up, ie. buying the kit and joining a gym, does cost a lot, you can take advantage of January deals and you have to see it as an investment in yourself. Choose activewear which is designed to last in the long run to save money down the line. Paying for a gym membership to help you achieve your goal can also work as extra motivation to make sure you get there, as nobody likes to waste money!
6. No Plan
A man who fails to prepare, prepares to fail. This is a saying I stand by 100%, if I don’t have prepped meals I’ll snack off plan, or starve and binge, neither are great. If you set off on a journey you’d never been on before without satellite navigation, how would you make it without checking the route in advance? Planning and preparation prevents a poor performance. Whilst you can hire a Personal Trainer to work as your ‘sat nav’ guiding you to fitness, or so to speak, you’ll still need to plan when you’re going to train with them. A goal without a plan is just a wish, you need to put your words into actions to achieve your goal.
7. No Motivation
Motivation might be what gets your started, but it fades so you need to use that initial motivation to create habits that will keep your goal continuing to happen, even once the initial buzz is a thing of the past.
8. No Self-Belief
Sometimes we could really do with someone reminding us there is no such thing as ‘I can’t’. This is a big contender when it comes to fitness goals, as you have to believe you can do it to really try. We also don’t compliment ourselves enough for the progress we make along the way even if we haven’t hit our goal, if progress has been made, it should be appreciated and proves that it can be done. Don’t think you can do it? Prove yourself wrong!
9. Social Situations
Go on just one more, and one turned into four. Over Christmas the chances are you’ve had a fair few social situations where you’ve promised yourself you won’t drink, you’ll pick the salad or you’ll call it a night before midnight and then comes 3am and you’re drunk singing with a kebab in your hand. We’ve all been there and in the most part - you can blame your friends. Peer pressure is a huge factor in breaking your resolutions, because nobody wants to feel left out and social situations at this time of year in particular always revolve around drinking and eating far more than we should. Instead of turning into a social recluse, why not manage your social events, pick healthy options and drive - that way you have your excuse for not drinking.
10. You Forget
You made your resolution drunk at 12.01am New Year's day and woke up on January the second completely oblivious. Perhaps a drunken resolution is destined to fail.
Christmas is upon us. I'm still trying to figure out how fast it comes around every year. This is the time of year where we start to wind down. Training seems to get interrupted thanks to parties and shopping and on top of that, we are indulging in all our favourite food and drink because, why not? It’s Christmas! So why do we feel so guilty when it’s all said and done?
The pervasive diet culture has much to do with this and even more so through social media. The messages regularly peddled out from articles and fitness accounts end up creeping into our psyches insidiously and embed themselves there. Leading us to manifest obsessive behaviour and to have feelings of guilt or shame when we haven't trained hard or eaten ‘clean.’ This eventually forms a damaging mental and emotional relationship with food and exercise. This is no less prevalent during the festive season. You may see articles promoting healthy swaps such as sweet potato mash instead of Yorkshire puds, encouraging readers to make ‘smart’ choices to lessen calories and not fall victim to ‘bad’ foods like chocolate or alcohol etc.
As a trainer, I’m finding an increase in responsibility towards clients to overturn the harmful programming they have been exposed to – re-educating them in order to build a healthy alliance between food and exercise. Fitness is not exclusively about aesthetics, this is why I emphasise rest days, eating a balanced diet that includes so-called ‘unhealthy/sinful/naughty’ foods, and an overall appreciation of fitness as a long term process. By doing so, the goal is to procure feelings of motivation, strength, health and accomplishment along the way.
Furthermore, what I want my clients to understand about training is that it’s cyclical by nature, not linear. It’s not constant, incremental progress from the day you start until the day you stop. You will have peaks and also troughs. You will take three steps forward only to find you have to take two steps back. This is down to a multitude of reasons, such as illness, injuries, holidays, work and yes, Christmas!
This is why I want to let you guys know that it’s perfectly okay to indulge yourselves during the festive season. If this time of the year means it’s your chance to relax and prioritise time with your family and friends, then do so. Alternatively, if you love training like me and you do have time to fit in exercise, then go for it! This article isn’t intended to dissuade you from exercise. What I am trying to remonstrate against is the notion that you need to train in order to earn your Christmas dinner and feeling the accompanying anxiety and unhappiness that abounds when you can’t.
There is a fine line between your love for training and your addiction to it. If guilt underpins your motivation rather than love, you may need to explore why it’s the former and not the latter. It may well be the social media messages you are exposing yourself to. So rather than forcing yourself to follow a script that social media has set out for you – relax! If Christmas means your foot is off the training gas and you lose a bit of strength or fitness or put on a few kgs, it’s okay. You can jump right on the band wagon when you return to your regular scheduling. This concatenation is perfectly normal and in fact, it allows you to learn and master your physical, mental and emotional correlation to food and exercise. This is why it’s so important to enjoy the long journey because it becomes part of who you are.
So please put down that article with the recipe for the gluten-free, protein packed, chia seed mince pie alternative and look forward to having a proper one instead. With brandy butter AND a glass of wine. Why not? It's Christmas after all!
About the author: Natasha Jawad is a personal trainer and Sundried ambassador.
If you're trying to lose weight or are training for a race or fitness event next year, Christmas can feel like a daunting time. Lots of indulgent food around the house, meals and drinks out with family and friends, and less time to train can all add up. We're here with our 5 top tips to help you stay on track and avoid over-indulging this festive season.
1. Tell your family and friends about your goals
One of the things that makes it so difficult to stick to being healthy at this time of year is pressure from family, friends, and social occasions. If everyone is eating, drinking and being merry, you don't want to be the party-pooper with your salad in a Tupperware container.
Make sure you tell your family and friends about your intentions and your goals so that they can support you. They'll be more understanding and hopefully won't try to pressure you into eating more unhealthy food if you're open with them about what you're trying to achieve.
2. Make sure there's healthy food in the house
It can be all too tempting to eat cake for breakfast and graze on biscuits and sweets throughout the day if they are littering the house and there aren't any healthy options.
Make sure you've still got normal, healthy food in your house so that you can eat proper meals and then enjoy the occasional treat as well. Trying to stick to a normal eating routine will be key to success and not falling into a food coma after lunch.
3. Plan your meals ahead of time
Another reason why it's very tempting to eat the unhealthy food in the house is because it's quick and easily accessible. If you're stuck deciding what to have for dinner, chances are your family's suggestion of getting a takeaway will sound very appealing.
Make sure you plan your meals for the week ahead of time so that you know exactly what you're going to have and can make sure you have all the ingredients you need. There are plenty of healthy recipes that can be made quickly such as stir fry, grilled chicken, or wraps.
4. Stick to a training plan
Find a professionally-written training plan that fits around your schedule and try to stick to it as much as possible. Instead of making it up as you go and training ad-hoc, sticking to a proper training plan will make sure your training makes sense and that you don't over- or under-train.
However, it's also important to make sure your plans are flexible. If a friend invites you out but you have a long run planned for that day, try to compromise and arrange with your friend for another day. Referring back to point number 1, if you've already told your family and friends about your goals, they should understand and support you.
5. Don't be overly restrictive
It's almost impossible to sit at a table with a salad while everyone else eats delicious festive food. Allow yourself to have fun and enjoy yourself as that is the spirit of the season. If you've eaten a wholesome breakfast and healthy lunch, eating something a little less nutritious but a whole lot more tasty at dinner time shouldn't be too much of a problem. It's only when you're eating unhealthy snacks all day long as well as huge carb-rich meals that things go wrong this time of year.
In the fitness industry we are all getting ready for the mad rush of people joining the gym in January and lots of enquiries for personal training, but what happens over Christmas? This is the first year in a long time that I haven’t slowed down in December in the run up to Christmas. I've been teaching classes and delivering personal training sessions and will continue over Christmas and New Year.
This could be because people have more time on their hands because they have finished work, it could be a way to save the money being spent in the pub, or it could be because they don’t want to undo all the hard work they have achieved so far. The main things I get asked are how can I keep the weight off over Christmas and stay motivated over winter?
Firstly – it's Christmas! Why be so strict with yourself? If you want an extra mince pie, go for it! However, if you need a bit of encouragement then follow my advice below.
Even when you are not at work, start your day how you usually would with your usual breakfast at your usual time. We are creatures of habit after all. If you normally go to the gym or attend a class, check they are still on. Some gyms reduce their opening hours over Christmas but they will still be open for you to get a workout in.
Speak to a member of the fitness team at the gym
If you currently have personal training sessions and are likely to miss any over the Christmas period, speak to your trainer to see if there are any other days or times they can fit you in. If you do not currently have a personal trainer, why not ask if anyone has availability for a session to give you some ideas or a workout
Be mindful with your food
Christmas lunch is generally later in the day and you don’t want to fill up on chocolate so if you normally have a mid-morning snack – go for it! If you have cut your portion sizes down lately, then be mindful of how much food you are putting on your plate. A lot of us do not have normal dinners the size of Christmas dinner all the time, plus we know what is coming later that day; turkey sandwiches, dessert and sweets. Don’t deprive yourself but don’t go overboard.
Make time for exercise
Have you ever gone for a walk or run on Christmas Day? It's one of my favourite things to do. Everyone is always so cheerful and welcoming. Check your local Parkrun website to see if there is an event on near you on Christmas Day. Turn up in a Christmas hat and you’ll be glad you went.
If you would rather snooze a bit longer in the morning, why not have an afternoon walk? Put your new fitness tracker to the test! You can also set yourself a challenge; if you are watching TV in the evening, during each commercial break hold a plank for as long as you can.
Use your new 2020 diary
Start planning your month! What do you want to achieve from January? Start the beginning of the month taking your measurements, keep a food and exercise diary, and maybe even take progress photos so you can see how far you have come.
Remember your 'why'
It's one of my most used sentences when I'm teaching classes or personal training, especially when people start to flag or lose motivation. Remember why you started doing this in the first place.
12 Days of Christmas Workout
- 12 Squat press
- 11 Jumping Jacks
- 10 Lunges (each leg)
- 9 Burpees
- 8 Press ups
- 7 Mountain climbers (each leg)
- 6 Tricep Dips
- 5 Squat Thrusts
- 4 Sit ups
- 3 Leg Raises
- 2 minutes of crunches
- 1 minute plank
About the author: Emma Vincent is a personal trainer and Sundried ambassador.