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7 Tips To Help Make Your Fitness Goals Actually Stick

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A new year is a wonderful time to start your fitness journey. With a new year comes a new chapter, and there is no reason why you shouldn’t start it off right. 

While it can often be easy to start with good intentions, it is not always easy to follow through. If you want to stick to your fitness goals this year, here are seven tips that can help.

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1. Get the Right Gear

If you want to increase your physical activity this year, you need the right gear to prepare you. While there is no need to go overboard, you will need to stock up on the essentials. Make sure that you have your workout clothes like mesh running shorts and equipment essentials so that you can get started.

2. Hire a Trainer

A great asset in any fitness journey is a professional trainer. Having someone with the expertise to help guide you will be an immensely helpful resource. Not to mention that this is another person who can hold you accountable and help keep you on track. A professional trainer can coach you as you get started, but also continue to coach you as you progress.

3. Get a Workout Buddy

A trainer is not the only person who can help hold you accountable. If you could benefit from some additional support as you exercise, consider getting a workout buddy. In addition to holding you accountable, working out can also be a lot more fun when you do it with a friend.

4. Add an Element of Fun

Because working out can often feel like a burden or tiresome, it is often associated with negative emotions. However, adding some fun to it can vastly improve the experience. Find an activity that you love and that brings you joy. Whether you like to dance, cycle, take exercise classes with friends, or play sports, there are plenty of ways that you can make working out more fun. Not to mention that this can make your fitness goals more sustainable. Working out does not need to be a drudgery that you endure to enjoy better health.

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5. Set SMART Goals

Whether you are focused on your fitness goals or other aspirations, you need to have realistic, manageable, and concrete plans. SMART goals can help you understand where you are, what you want to achieve, and how to get there. Don’t set yourself up for failure with vague, unachievable plans. Instead, develop skills that can set yourself up for success with goal setting.

6. Don’t Overdo It 

A common mistake that many people make in striving toward new year’s goal success is overdoing it. This is likely to set you up for failure. If you want to ensure that you can stick to your goals, take it one day at a time and gradually build up. Trying to go from zero to one hundred at the change of the year will not only be disappointing, but will also burn you out faster than you may realize.

7. Focus On Progress

When it comes to goals associated with a new year, it can be all too easy to expect perfection. While this may sound like a great idea, focusing on perfection is a sure-fire way to fail. Instead of stressing out about unrealistic perfectionistic ideas, focus on your progress and keep showing up, one day at a time. With this progress-focused approach to your fitness journey, you can show yourself more compassion and create a healthier, more positive, and more sustainable path forward.

Fitness goals are all too common a new year’s charge. Year after year, it can feel frustrating to not see any progress. Instead of having another frustrating year, set yourself up for success with these useful tips. Don’t let your fitness goals slip away from you for another year when this can be the year you make a true change.

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Photo by Alex McCarthy on Unsplash

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How To Know If You Have A Fear Of Commitment & How To Overcome It

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Marilee, a client of mine, was a commitment-phobe.

“I’d love to be in a loving relationship,” she told me in one of our counseling sessions, “but I’m not willing to give up my freedom. I have a great life. I love my work and my friends. I love to travel and take workshops and classes. I don’t want anyone telling me what I can or can’t do. I don’t want to deal with someone feeling hurt because I want to work rather than be with him. It’s just not worth all the hassle.” 

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Marcus, another client of mine, also experienced fear of commitment.

“When I’m not in a relationship, that’s all I can think about it. I really want someone to play with, to love and to grow with, but soon after getting into a relationship, I start to feel trapped. I feel like I can’t do what I want to do, and I start to resent the person for limiting me,” he confides.

“Most of the time, she has no idea what’s going on and is stunned by the break-up. She thought everything was fine. After leaving her, I’m back to square one — wanting to be in a relationship. This has happened over and over again.”

Fear of commitment, known as commitment phobia, has its roots in the belief that when we love someone, we are responsible for their feelings rather than for our own.

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Once we believe that we are responsible for another’s feelings of hurt or rejection as a result of our behavior, we believe we need to limit ourselves in order to not upset the other person. Then, instead of standing up for our own freedom and right to pursue that which brings us joy, we limit our freedom in an effort to have control over the other person’s feelings. This will always eventually lead to resentment.

“Marilee,” I asked in one of our phone sessions, “What if you picked someone who also loved his work and his personal freedom?”

“Frankly, I can’t imagine that. Every man I’ve been in a relationship with has wanted to spend more time with me than I have with him. Am I just picking the wrong man over and over?” 

“No,” I replied. “But from the beginning you are not standing firm in your commitment to your freedom. You give a lot at the beginning because you enjoy being with him, but, as we’ve discussed, you also give yourself up a lot at the beginning. You make love when you don’t want to. You stay up later than you want to for fear of hurting him.”

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“Then, when you do start to tell him the truth, he’s surprised and hurt,” I explained. “Until you’re willing to risk losing him from the beginning rather than lose yourself, you will continue to create relationships that limit your freedom. You end up believing that the relationship is what limits you, but it’s your own fears and beliefs that keep limiting you.”

Similarly, in my sessions with Marcus, he discovered that he had no idea how to stand up for himself in a relationship. As soon as a woman wanted something from him, he gave it to her. He just could not bring himself to say no. Then, of course, he ended up feeling trapped. 

Ultimately, Marcus’s fear of commitment stemmed from two main sources:

  1. He believed he was responsible for her feelings, and that he was a bad and selfish person if he did anything that upset her.
  2. He was afraid that if she felt hurt, she would get angry and reject him.

As a result of these two fears, Marcus continually gave up on himself in relationships. However, giving himself up created such resentment toward his partner that he eventually didn’t want to be with her anymore and left the relationship. 

In order to have both our personal freedom and be in a committed relationship, we need to learn to take responsibility for our own feelings rather than the other person’s feelings, and we need to be willing to lose the other person rather than lose ourselves.

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Commitment phobia heals when you become strong enough to be true to yourself, even in the face of another’s anger or rejection.

If you want to have a loving relationship, then you need to do the Inner Bonding work necessary to develop a strong adult self who can be a powerful advocate for your personal freedom.

To begin learning how to love and connect with yourself first — so that you can connect with your partner and others — take advantage of psychologist and relationship expert Margaret Paul’s free Inner Bonding eCourse, receive free help on her website, and take her 12-Week eCourse, “The Intimate Relationship Toolbox” — the first two weeks are free!

Originally written by Margaret Paul on YourTango

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5 Workouts To Help You Start The New Year Off Strong

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Almost everyone celebrates the New Year with a different kind of fervor. After all, it symbolizes fresh beginnings, a clean slate, another chance at redemption. Regardless of the difficulties and challenges of the past year, you feel more hopeful, perhaps even enthusiastic, about what lies ahead. 

To be more intentional with your relationships, find a side hustle, take better care of yourself… weren’t these some of your dreams that got lost amidst the fears and frustrations of the past months? No worries! 

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Now is the perfect time to roll up your sleeves and get to work on making those dreams come true. And what better way to start the New Year strong than with these 5 top-notch exercises?

1. Walk Your Way to Health

Let’s start with the most basic of exercises — walking. Technically, walking is not considered a typical “strength-building” exercise, but it can maintain your heart health so you can engage in more intense physical activities.  

Walking may look like one of the easiest and simplest workouts but doing it daily can help you live a longer and fuller life. One study showed this physical activity can reduce the risk for all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality. In addition, just 30 minutes every day can also boost bone strength and muscle endurance.  

When walking, check if your stance is correct. Get your head up and relax your neck, head, and shoulders. Swing your arms lightly while ensuring your back is straight. As you step forward, roll your foot from heel to toe.

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2. Get Into Resistance Training

Resistance training is essentially the same as weight or strength training. This type of workout makes your muscles work against specially calibrated weights to induce contraction and build strength. It also helps improve anaerobic endurance and increase skeletal muscle size.  

Experts recommend adults get into muscle strengthening workouts with balance and flexibility exercises at least twice a week. To maximize the benefits from resistance training and keep your body from plateauing, change up your sets, repetitions, and the types of activities you do (free weights, weight machines, resistance bands, etc.).

3. Intensify with HIIT

HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, works on the principle of alternating low and high intensities. This means you interrupt brief but vigorous workouts (1-3 minutes) with less intense activities (1-2 minutes) to allow your body some respite in between.

The bursts of activity interspersed with downtime tap both the body’s aerobic and anaerobic energy-producing systems. Interval training is especially popular among endurance athletes because it can improve cardiovascular fitness in a very short time.

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You may think HIIT is just for heart health. However, research shows that HIIT lifters achieved more significant gains in the weight room compared to the alternate group. 

As beneficial as it is, do note that interval training can be extremely demanding on your body. It’s best to see your doctor before proceeding with this type of workout.

4. Ramp It Up with SIT

If you have been doing HIIT, you will find yourself in familiar territory with sprint interval training, or SIT. You can do this type of workout anywhere and anytime without any special equipment.

It is also called the One and Done workout because you can finish a session in just 7 minutes. The word “sprint” here denotes maximum effort, which you will expend for 20 seconds. You can alternate this with one-minute active rest periods. The brief respites will give your muscles time to recover from the preceding high-energy bursts. Repeat this cycle for 7 minutes. 

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The main difference between HIIT and SIT is that the latter requires maximal or even supramaximal intensities, giving you the thrill of finding out how far your body can go.

5. Shore Up Your Pelvic Floor Muscles

Being “in the red” shouldn’t keep you from staying physically fit and strong. In fact, you can even burn calories on your period by doing pelvic-floor muscle-strengthening exercises.

The pelvic floor is a funnel-shaped muscular sheet that keeps abdominal pressure from overwhelming the bladder, uterus, and bowel. This group of muscles also supports the muscles in the abdomen, hips, and back. In addition to holding up your organs, the pelvic floor also helps ensure the proper functioning of our excretory and reproductive systems. 

To strengthen your pelvic floor, discover first where it is by stopping your urination midstream. Those muscles that have been activated are your pelvic floor muscles. Once you’ve identified where they are, sit comfortably and tighten them as if you’re lifting something off the floor. Do this for 10 to 15 times per set for 3 sets daily. Make sure to relax your abdomen, buttocks, and thighs as you perform this exercise.

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Trying one or more of these exercises will help you start off the New Year strong. Comment below which one you are most interested in trying.

Feature Image by John Arano on Unsplash

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