Marcus Leach shares his tips for sticking to your goals in 2016.
At this time of year people all over the world are joining gyms, buying better quality food and committing to a healthier way of life. For some this will just be a phase, for others the start of the new year really does signal the start of a new way of life. So how can you ensure that you are one of those for who new year's resolutions are a meaningful commitment, and not just a passing phase?
For me it starts with making realistic resolutions, setting goals that will stretch you but remain achievable. Humans fear change, so to suddenly make large scale changes to your lifestyle is not the best idea if you want to maintain a new way of life. Instead, in my opinion, the focus should be on small changes applied on a consistent basis. You will be surprised how effective this approach can be over time.
And therein lies the key, time. As with anything in life there are no instant results when it comes to getting fit and creating a healthier version of you. It takes time, but, speaking from experience, it is definitely worth the investment of time now to be able to enjoy a better way of life in the future. So be prepared to stay the course, there will be some ups and downs along the way but enjoy the journey and remember that the end result will be worth it.
A great way of ensuring you stick to your resolutions is by being accountable. That breaks down in to two parts, internal and external. Internal accountability is being true to yourself, if you said you're going to go to the gym four times a week, do it. However, a far more powerful means of accountability is the external, which means being accountable to other people.
Tell people your goals, share your resolutions with others and let them know what you are aiming to achieve. When I started my body transformation I told as many people as I could. Why? Because when people know you are doing something they ask you about it, and there is nothing worse than having to tell them you gave in, you quit after a few weeks.
If your goal is to get fit I would advise you do so by taking part in activities that you enjoy. If you hate running there is no point setting out to run three times a week. Instead of looking forward to your exercise you will dread it and are more likely to find an excuse not to do it. There are endless ways of being fit and active, so pick the ones that you enjoy, and better still do them with a friend.
For me nutrition was a big part of my body transformation and, contrary to popular belief, eating healthily isn't boring and you don't have to go on a diet. Instead it's about creating a healthy sustainable way of living that you can maintain not just for six or ten weeks, but for a lifetime. Be creative with your food and enjoy every meal. What we eat is far more important than the exercise we do when looking to create a healthy lifestyle.
Ultimately though the ability to stick to creating a healthy lifestyle, combining regular exercise with balanced nutrition, comes down to the individual. If it is important enough then you will stick to your goal, you will make the little changes and sacrifices necessary to stay the distance and live a healthier life. Here's to a healthy and active future for all of us.
Marcus Leach, Global F.I.T. Team Athlete.