Getting your fitness back on track in the New Year

By Courtney Endres

(Accredited Exercise Physiologist; ESSAM)

Lifestar Nutrition and Exercise Physiology

 It is the start of a New Year; after struggling through the silly season of festive eating and lack of exercising many people make a pledge or New Year’s resolution to get fit and healthy. Whether it is stopping smoking, cutting out alcohol, eating healthier, or starting an exercise regime; the New Year is a wonderful time for new beginnings. The very best of intensions start to take shape: a brand new gym membership, a fridge stocked with fresh fruit and vegetables, the dust collecting running shoes are brushed off and placed by the front door, but it is all too easy to slip back into old habits and fall off the wagon. So what is it that helps make those New Year’s resolutions stick? Here are some tips to get you started.

TIP 1: Set some goals

When embarking on a healthy eating and exercising journey, it is important to set some goals. They provide a road map to success, and a means of monitoring progress, and maintaining motivation. Put pen to paper and document some short and longer-term goals. Rather than trying to focus on too many things at once, pick two things you would like to work on, and break them down using the S.M.A.R.T principle of goal setting.

To be effective, goals should be structured as follows:

Specific: target something specific e.g. eat 2 pieces of fruit every day; or run 5km 4 x week.

Measurable: have a built-in indicator for marking success or monitoring progress.

Achievable: work within your personal limits, resources and circumstances.

Realistic: be based around having the necessary resources and equipment available to you.

Timely: work within a realistic time-frame to achieve your goals.

It is also a good idea to make your goals focussed on “actions” (the doing), rather than upon outcomes. This helps shift the focus to the day-to-day actions necessary to achieve the desired outcome, so the focus is on behaviour change.

TIP 2: Involve family and friends

Family and friends provide a great support network to help maintain accountability, motivation and commitment. Finding friends and family members trying to achieve the same health and fitness goals will make it easier to stick to the program or plan. For exampling committing to early morning exercise, is made easier when a friend is waiting to join you. Making healthier choices in the office is easier when others are on board e.g. contributing gold coins for a workplace healthy fruit bowl, or a weekly team exercise class.

TIP 3: Keep a journal

Keeping a record of your exercise or food choices over the week or weeks is an easy way to track progress. Not only do you have to physically write it down (which is positive mental reiteration) but you are also making yourself more accountable. A journal also allows reflection and improvement. If you prefer, a journal of motivation quotes or daily gratitude is also a powerful tool for motivation and reflection during the change process.

TIP 4: Be mentally prepared

It is important to realise things many not always go to plan and sometimes things can happen out of our control. For instance, falling sick for a few days and being unable to train. It may be annoying but there is no need to give up on your goals. Every day is a new chance to get back on track. Focus on what you can do, eat well, get enough sleep and drink plenty of water. Be prepared for the fact that life will not always run smoothly, and sometimes things will go wrong, but that’s ok. Shift the focus temporarily to other areas of your life.

TIP 5: Reward yourself

It is important to reward yourself for all your hard efforts and rewards provide a fun reminder that you are on the right track. Make your rewards positive, and align them with your goals. This could be buying new exercise equipment or a new gym outfit. Why not treat yourself to a massage, a facial, a new book, or a cooking class.

Be good to yourself, and let’s make the most of 2015

If you would like individualised healthy eating or exercise advice, look no further than the experts at Lifestar Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. www.lifestarnutrition.com.au We have clinics at West End, Ashgrove,

Book now by phoning 0438 551 289 or emailing admin@lifestarnutrition.com.au.

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