It’s a brand New Year and we all know what that means; time to make a fitness goal that won’t ever happen! That isn’t to say it isn’t possible but when we set an unrealistic New Year goal that we have no way of hitting in the short periods of time we give ourselves, we actually hurt our diets and workouts rather than help them.
Say for example, as the bell dings midnight, you look at your significant other and proudly proclaim “I’m gonna lose 20 pounds a week this year by going to the gym twice a day!” Now, outside of the health risks associated with such a goal, there’s also a psychological toll that this takes on as well. Have you ever been in a gym and pushed yourself to do as many reps as you can then quit because your muscles feel sore and realize a little later that you could have done more?
That is the single most important part of your fitness regime taking over and stopping your progress by preserving your well being; your mind.
The problem with an unrealistic New Year goal isn’t that it is out of reach so much as it affects our psyche so heavily. Whenever you set a goal for short periods of time, each day that you aren’t any closer to that goal, your mind begins to make it seem like it’s impossible. This makes you feel lethargic to the goal and your “daily” gym goal becomes, every other day, bi-weekly, weekly, and eventually not at all. Your mind needs to see results to make something seem worthwhile. The reason you give up during a gym session isn’t because you’re physically weak but mostly because you don’t have a personal trainer to push you past your limits and truly motivate you beyond the gains your eyes have seen.
Without proper motivation, your mind stops you before you can even begin so, as with any good workout, it all begins with your mind. To combat the unrealistic New Year goal, try this instead:
- Pick a goal that you can accomplish in the short term. Try adding an extra rep to your usual workout that has started to feel easier every week or cut meals down to not having as many slices of bread. These smaller goals make progress almost immediately evident as you receive positive feedback and can continue increasing your fitness goal levels as time goes on.
- Don’t set a short time frame, you have a whole year! If you want to lose, say, 10 pounds, set a date a little further out. Why not set it for the summer and check your progress monthly after going to the gym regularly. This is a great motivation as you’ll not only see HUGE leaps but also feel better and want to continue going once the summer is done. In fact, people find the most success after taking these small steps and hitting the goal early then stepping it up so by summer they’ve lost 50 lbs!
- Remember, when you step into the gym or begin your diet, you’re doing it for yourself and your own well being. Regardless of what you posted on Facebook or Twitter, your fitness goals begin with you and although your mind controls how many reps you do or how many cheat meals you sneak in, it all begins with you.
- Plan out your New Year goals with your personal trainer. Nothing is better than having someone watch and monitor your goals as time goes on. Your personal trainer can tell you what has and hasn’t been working and can help you refine what you do. They can also tell you that a goal is unrealistic and maybe give you a better target to go for.
With all this in mind, pushing yourself to make the change is a good step in the New Year, just remember that setting an unrealistic new year goal will almost always backfire if you’re not ready for such a drastic change. Check your mental state, check your daily routine, and then decide if that goal is doable or if you’ll become discouraged before you’ve even given it a fighting chance.
Until next time, think healthy, be healthy.