How to Start Exercising in the New Year

You’ve indulged in holiday feasts, unwrapped fancy gifts and shared some great times with your friends and family. Now it’s time to get back to work. If your resolution for this upcoming year is to get in shape, these tips will show you how to start exercising the right way.

You won’t be the first or last person to want to “get fit” this new year. Just watch as the weight rooms get packed in January. You can literally feel the excitement in the room. Sadly, the majority of the newcomers won’t make it through February as, once again, their new year’s resolutions are defeated by a pile of excuses.

Don’t be one of these people. Make this year the year that you stick it out. Make this year the year you change your life for good.

Here are five tips on how to start exercising that will help you stick with your resolutions.

1) Have a plan.

“Failing to plan is planning to fail.”

You need a plan. You need to be prepared for what you’re getting yourself into.

Start off by setting the right goals. We often set goals that are too difficult to achieve and end up quitting on them. Your goals need to be specific and measurable. You want to lose 20 pounds? You want to be able to run for 30 minutes? Both goals are specific and measurable. Always incorporate a time frame with your goals – this will make them more achievable.

If you try to wing it, you will fail. If you need help setting up a workout or nutrition plan for the new year, find a trainer or a nutritionist to help you out.

Always remember to keep things simple. The more difficult your goals are, the more likely you are to give up on them. Start slow and easy and work your way up.

2) Put everything on paper and keep track!

If you don’t write something down, it’s not important to you.

You need to write everything down on paper. If you consistently keep track of your workouts, you will begin to see progress. This will be a great source of motivation.

You will also figure out your strong points and your weak points. You will notice which exercises work for you and which don’t. This will help you make your workouts more efficient and effective.

Remember, again, to keep things simple. If you make it too difficult, you most likely will not stick with it. All you need to jot down is the date, the duration, what you did and any notes about how you feel.

3) Find your motivation.

There are times when things are going to get tough. You’ll be sore, you’ll be tired, you’ll have no time, you’ll be full of excuses. There are times when you’ll simply want to quit. This is where you need to utilize your source of motivation.

A journey is not a journey without obstacles. These obstacles are there to make us stronger. An obstacle is a test – a test to see if you truly want what you’re after. If you truly want to get fit this new year, you will find a way to get over your obstacles.

Find your source of motivation. Find something that helps you overcome those obstacles.

Need an idea? Think music, images, or…

4) Have a support system.

This is very important. A positive support system can be the difference between success and failure. This can be your friend, your spouse, your neighbour, your co-worker, your workout partner, etc. Whoever it may be, the support system needs to be aware of your goals and your schedule.

Keep your support system informed of your progress. Tell them how your workouts are going, any changes in your eating habits, any missed workouts, etc. Set it up so that the support system EXPECTS your updates.

At the end of the day, your support system will help you get through your breaking point. They will push you, encourage you and support you through both the good and difficult times of your journey.

5) Patience and Persistence.

A combination of patience and persistence will be your key to sticking with your resolution this year.

Majority of people quit because they have unrealistic expectations. They expect results within weeks and give up as soon as they don’t see any.

It takes time to get results. For some it’s weeks, for others it’s months. Whatever the time period may be for you, have the patience to wait it out. When the tough times come, you will have to be persistent. You will have to get over the obstacles and keep pushing.

The best part is, once you do see results you can use them as your best source of motivation to keep pushing forward.

Summary: Now it’s time to get to work. Remember that if you TRULY want to get fit and healthy this upcoming year, you will do whatever it takes to get there.

Hopefully my five tips for how to start exercising in the new year have been helpful.

Please leave a comment below to share your new year’s resolution!

17 thoughts on “How to Start Exercising in the New Year”

  1. All good solid points they should help stay on track. I might add a couple that I find works for me.
    1. Don’t kid yourself:
    You have to convince yourself the goal is worth achieving you might even go as far as announce it other people what you are doing but if you truly don’t think you can reach your goals you will find a lame excuse in the end to stop.
    2. Control the build up to dieting or workout levels: Don’t suddenly halve your calorie intake slowly reduce it … don’t go suddenly working out 5 days a week at high intensity levels build up to it.
    3. Give your small self rewards along the way
    Raymond

  2. These are all great points to achieve any goal in life. I am a big fan of setting goals and this post will definitely help anyone that follows your advice. Looking forward to another great year in 2011! Stay safe and have a great time on New Years Eve!
    -Kelly

  3. Nice post Srdjan. For me, I’d say having a plan, and using a journal to chart my progress have been the most valuable of these, but I think each of these tips will help a lot of people on their way.

    Michael

  4. @Raymond
    Thanks for adding on some tips. I particularly like #3 – it’s important to give yourself some rewards along the way.

    @Kelly
    Thanks for the comment. I’m sure 2011 will be a great year for you. All the best in the new year.

    @Michael
    I’m glad that you’ve found the tips helpful. For me, figuring out my source of motivation and using it has helped me build good habits. Thanks for the comment!

  5. Great post. A lot of people think this is common sense, which it certainly might be, but I think throwing a post up not only reminds people, but set’s up an environment that encourages exercise or whatever respective goal the person has.

  6. I think motivation is the most important of all. If you aren’t motivated to achieve your goal then the journey is empty. Motivation fuels us to make specific and measureable goals.

    I go through this every semester with my students. They all want to improve something, like push ups for instance. They tell me they want to be able to complete more, but they are not specific, and they don’t really know why they want to do this.

    While I like tracking progress, I must admit I have a minimalist approach to that as well. Tracking too many numbers would have led to information overload for me, probably leading to noncompliance with my diet In hind sight however, I wish I would have tracked more numbers during my body transformation, so I could share evidence of what worked vs. what didn’t.

    Keeping it simple was the key for me though. Only tracking a few numbers that I felt were most important.

    Great post.

    Cheers,
    Jordan

  7. @Ahmed
    Sometimes the things that we believe are common sense are the things we most often neglect. We often forget that it’s the simple things that are sometimes the most effective.

    @Jordan
    I definitely agree with you. If you aren’t motivated to achieve your goal then the journey really is empty. There’s no way to complete the journey without motivation to fuel you.

    In terms of tracking, the idea is to keep it as bare-bones simple as possible. The more difficult you make it the less likely you are to stick with it. But keeping track of things helps you see progress (especially when you’re starting out) and helps you understand what works for YOU and what doesn’t – this will help you make your workouts more efficient as you go along (no point of doing what doesn’t work).

    Thanks for the comment! All the best in the new year, Jordan.

  8. @Alykhan
    I’ve tried to incorporate that tip into all of the other ones. Keeping things simple is extremely important when it comes to STICKING with a program. Thanks for the comment!

  9. Srdjan, I would include to make important things like teeth brushing. You can’t go out or sleep without doing it. It is much easier to follow habits. I like to do my workout in the morning, after teeth brushing 😉 , on empty stomach and before I go out 🙂

  10. @Rumi
    I’ve heard about that technique before. I think it’s called “triggering”. You create habits by creating triggers. I’ve used this technique before successfully and it can work great for fitness too. If, for instance, you create a ‘trigger’ of drinking a coffee before a workout, all you have to do is have a coffee and you will get your body in workout mode.

    Thanks for sharing the tip! It seems like you got lots of triggers.

  11. New Year, New Body should be everyone’s motto.
    I agree with these tips for getting in shape. The important thing for everyone to remember is that nobody is perfect. Some days we can’t work out for one reason or another. That’s fine. Just make that commitment to go the following day or the next until it becomes a part of your lifestyle.
    -Sam

  12. Excellent tips for starting the New Year on a strong note. I think patience is highly underrated. In the world today, we want results and we want them yesterday! However, there’s no easy way to speed up the process…try too hard and it will likely have the opposite effect.

  13. @Sam
    It’s all about making exercise part of your lifestyle. It needs to be a permanent habit not a temporary fix. Thanks for the comment.

    @Dave
    You’ve hit the nail on the head. We really do want results yesterday and unfortunately we quit as soon as we don’t get them. Patience is the key. Thanks for the comment!

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