News | 14 December 2023
Choose an exercise you enjoy and it will become something you look forward to, rather than dread, is the top tip from Cardiff Met’s, Active Lifestyles Manager, Rhodri Williams.
As the Christmas period approaches, Rhodri explains how with a fresh start just around the corner, New Year’s resolutions often revolve around health and fitness following the overindulgence of the festive period. But are these fitness resolutions realistic to maintain or do they just add pressure?
Rhodri lists some achievable fitness goals and tips to help make long-lasting changes, and highlights the importance of self-compassion in your fitness journey.
Set Realistic Resolutions
Setting the right goals is the foundation of a successful fitness journey. Unrealistic resolutions, such as losing an extreme amount of weight in a short period, can be overwhelming at best, and dangerous at worst. This will inevitably lead to disappointment, decreased motivation (due to the goal seeming so far away), and ultimately discontinuation of what you started. Instead, focus on setting achievable, realistic goals that you can hit, and sustain for a long period of time.
Small Step for Big Change
Rather than making grandiose resolutions, think about small, incremental changes that you can integrate into your lifestyle. These could be as simple as taking a daily walk, adding more fruit and vegetables to your diet, or dedicating a few minutes each day for yoga or meditation. Small, manageable steps can lead to significant improvements over time.
Fun Physical Activity
Finding physical activities you genuinely enjoy is a game changer. Whether it’s dancing, hiking, cycling, going to the gym, or simply taking a brisk walk and enjoying nature, doing something you love makes it much more likely to become a part of your routine. Consistency is vital, and if you dread the activity you are aiming to do, the chances are that on a rainy day, you’ll be choosing to put your feet up on the sofa instead.
I’m sure you’ve heard and seen about SMART goals a million times before, but this is because they are so important. When setting those goals and New Year’s resolutions, think to yourself “is it Specific?”, “is it Measurable?”, “is it Achievable?”, “is it Relevant?” and “what Time frame would I like to achieve this in?”. If “yes” is the answer to all of these, and you have a realistic time frame in mind, then you are good to go.
Be Patient and Kind to Yourself
Rome wasn’t built in a day! It’s essential to remember that setbacks are part of the journey. Not a single health and fitness journey has ever been completely linear, and there will be days when you may not meet your goals. This is fine. This is normal. Dust yourself down and go again the next day. Be kind to yourself, practice self-compassion, and don’t let the occasional slip-up discourage you from the bigger picture.
Get Professional Advice
Before embarking on any significant fitness or dietary changes, if you are a complete beginner, consider consulting an expert. They’ll be able to help assess your specific needs and create a personalised plan that aligns with your goals, current health, and fitness levels, as well as taking into consideration your lifestyle and the things you enjoy (as well as avoiding the things you hate!).
Celebrate your achievements along the way. Recognising and rewarding your progress, no matter how small, can help maintain your motivation and enthusiasm.
Your fitness journey should be viewed as a long-term commitment, rather than a quick fix. The goal is to build health and wellbeing habits that last a lifetime, rather than something that is an initial excitement in the New Year.
There is no time like the present. Go out now and try different activities and find out what you enjoy and don’t enjoy. This will give you a head start in the New Year, with a clear outlook of what you’ll be doing. It will also give you a base fitness, which will be much appreciated during the indulgence of the festive period!