How To Avoid Becoming A Resoluter
By Don Otis
We are wired to want to change those habits we know are bad for us. Perhaps it is in our DNA. We establish New Year’s resolutions and then become discouraged when we break a diet plan, miss workouts, or simply give up. A few months ago in this column, we talked about “bucket lists.” These are life goals. They are things we say we want to do but never seem to get around to doing them. Many of us do the same with our first-of-the-year resolutions.
It is a foolproof axiom that health clubs get busy in January but clear out by April. The pattern is hard to miss for those who workout all year. Special offers bring new people into a facility but the hard work or broken resolutions kick in and people give up. We used to call these people the “resoluters.” They start the New Year with all the best intentions. Don’t we all? Then, when the going gets tough, or boring, or the challenges of life prevail, they give up.
Let me share a few pointers about how to avoid the Resoluter Syndrome. But first, the Bible tells us, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9). Now I know this passage is about life in the Spirit. But God has also made us with physical bodies that need to be nurtured and cared for. We know it is human nature to grow weary even when we are trying to do what’s right. We suffer from fatigue, burnout, depression, and discouragement. We want so badly at times to give up. The second half of the verse is heartening. We will reap a harvest if we don’t give up. That little word “if” is the linchpin. We want to give up. If we do, we lose the spiritual benefits. The same is true for our physical body and health.
Do you want to get fit or stay fit in the New Year? Here are some pointers to help keep you motivated and maintain momentum throughout the year.
Establish goals that are specific and realistic. Too many people set their goals too high. Discouragement quickly sets in when they don’t see results. Write your goals down. You should track these weekly. If you achieve your goals, set new ones.
- Stay consistent. This doesn’t mean you can’t take a day or two off. It does mean that you set aside specific time each week to do your workouts.
- Mix it up. If you find yourself getting bored, do something different for a while. Let’s face it; we all end up in stale routines at times. Change the routine if you find that your motivation begins to wane.
- Take a long haul approach. Don’t look at fitness and exercise as a temporary event in your life. Look at it as a lifestyle change.
We all get discouraged. If we expect this and plan for it, when it comes along, we can do things to boost our motivation or find new energy. Then we won’t become resoluters!
Don S. Otis is the author of Staying Fit After Forty and a personal trainer living in Canon City, Colorado. He can be reached at Don@veritasincorporated.com © 2010