Get Through the "February Hump" to Reach Your Fitness Goals.
Whether you're one for the New Year's Resolutions or not, most people walk in to the new year with personal, professional, or fitness goals (or all three). The tough part is sticking to those goals. An array of studies show that upwards of 80% of people who set goals at the beginning of the year gave up on them before the end of February. That's right, there's a zero at the end of that...80 PERCENT! We want to help you push past that and be part of the 20% that pushes through February and eventually becomes part of the 8% that finish the year still pursuing or reaching their goals from January 1st.
Tips to keep your Resolutions intact through February, March, and beyond:
Find a workout buddy. Think an "Exit Buddy" from Finding Nemo. Having someone to be accountable to, that isn't yourself, can make all the difference. Your workout partner can provide added motivation to hit the gym or to get that extra rep, or even just provide a spotter when you are lifting heavy. If you've never worked out with a buddy and aren't sure who to ask, just post it to your Facebook feed or start asking around, someone is bound to want to join you.
Set reasonable expectations. One thing you have to understand about your fitness journey is that it will take time to reach your goals. Whether you're trying to lose weight, gain muscle, or just get in better shape, it's going to take a little bit of time. Set your expectations accordingly so you aren't beating yourself up in 2-3 weeks thinking you should be much farther ahead.
Track your progress. Take beginning measurements and track your weights to have an accurate idea on your progress. Tracking your progress shows you the growth and improvements you're making, even if you can't see them in the mirror. There are a ton of different ways to track your progress, we detailed them in this previous post!
Re-evaluate your goals. Look back at your original goals periodically to see if you've already hit them or if they need to be reset. Studies show if you visit your goals on a regular basis (daily or weekly), the likelihood of reaching those goals improves, so have your goals written or displayed somewhere you can see them easily, keeping you on track.
Set smaller goals (or micro-goals). Are your end fitness goals large? Start with something smaller and easier to obtain. For example, if your overall goal is to lose 30 pounds, make a micro-goal to lost 5 pounds, and another to lose 10. Hitting these micro-goals keeps you on track to your larger goal while also keeping you motivated because you're accomplishing the little things.
Be kind to yourself. As said in #2, don't beat yourself up if you're not as far along as you wanted to be. Everyone's journey is different, everyone's body is different. Don't feel down if you thought you'd be at point C but really you just reached point B. Reflect on your progress and keep working hard, the results will come in time.
Move daily. You may not be able to hit the gym, but you can certainly find a way to move every day. Whether that's a walk with the dog, playing with the kiddos in the back yard, or getting a quick workout at home, you've always got a way to get out and move your body. Having a fitness tracker like an Apple Watch, FitBit, or Garmin, can help you get reminders of when to be active throughout the day as well, keeping you on track for your daily dose of movement.
Set high standards on the little things. We all have high standards on ourselves for the big things, like "I don't want to eat out as much," "I will drink less," or "I will be a more observant parent." But few of us actually set high standards on the little things, like "I make dinner each night at home aside from up to 2 nights per week," "I will only drink x amount per month," or "I'm limiting myself to 2 hours of phone time, and none while the kids are awake." When you set high standards on the smaller things, they become easier to observe and can actually start to make a difference.
If you take anything away from this, is to be kind to yourself. It's okay to miss a day or two, but don't let that couple days turn into a couple weeks. Keep moving, keep pushing, keep on your goals like you don't have an option. Set your standards high on the small things so your big goals don't have a choice but to come to fruition. At the end of the day, you have to push yourself toward your goal and hopefully these tips help get over the "February Hump" and get you to be part of the 8% at the end of the year still pushing forward.