Tips for Achieving Your New Year’s Fitness Resolution

by Cathleen McKnight, DNP, APRN

Every January, millions of us make a resolution to work out more often, get fit or otherwise move more. But according U.S. News & World Report, by early to mid-February, over 80% of folks abandon their well-intentioned goals. So how can you join the ranks of the 20% that stay motivated and stay on track to success? Check out these tips:

Let the games begin!

Depending on the source, there are reports citing 250,000 to 320,000+ health and fitness apps at consumer’s fingertips today. Regardless of the exact number, that is more than enough choices to find a best-fit app. Apps rely on gamification, the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (such as a task), to encourage participation. The majority of health and fitness apps available stir up motivation by creating competitive activities and contests. Apps vary from being automated, with tracking from a mobile phone, to wearable, such as a Fitbit or Apple Watch, to some with manual entry. Including an app in your fitness regimen may help keep you trudging along on the treadmill or hitting the pavement, even on days when you’re feeling less motivated. Need more accountability than a buzz on the wrist and a virtual competition? Try in-person, live gamification. In-person gamification can come in many forms. For example:

  • Try an Orangetheory® fitness center: Orangetheory® provides personal training in a group setting, targeting optimal heart rate variation and cross-training. Coaches personalize exercise based on the individual’s fitness level and any aches, pains or injury limitations.
  • Find a local adult recreational sports league (e.g., the YMCA).
  • Join a Running Club.
  • Start a ‘Biggest Loser’ Weight Loss Challenge with a group of friends or co-workers.
  • Commit to a RallyFit 46 Challenge. The Rally Foundation is a nonprofit that empowers volunteers across the nation to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer research. You can start a personal RallyFit 46 Challenge and commit 46 days of fitness for the 46 children who are diagnosed with cancer each day. Check in daily on your road to 46 to update those who have donated. Talk about motivating! The FitRally website shares challenge ideas, such as 46 miles in 46 days and 4,600 steps per day for 46 days. What a great way to get fit, give back and feel good!
  • Buy a series pass to a yoga studio.

Check-in with reality.

Be realistic when planning out fitness goals and milestones. Don’t set yourself up for failure by setting the bar too high. Focus on one to two goals maximum at a time. Set attainable measures and to maintain motivation, include a few immediate rewards for instant gratification along the way. If you know your schedule will not allow a trip to the gym, don’t flush your money down the drain by buying a membership. There are other ways to get fit. Instead of waiting in your car at your child’s basketball practice or sitting on the sidelines watching soccer, walk the perimeter of the park, field or gym. Make an at-home fitness plan with expert-led videos and circuit-training recommendations, or simply climb the stairs at work!

Focus on the big picture.

Are you pursuing a fitness resolution to enhance your health and wellness? Fitness is just a small facet in optimizing your well-being. If overall healthy living is your goal, don’t forget to integrate good nutrition into your daily life. Nutrition is a vital component for a full health and wellness regimen. A study published in 2014 demonstrated that while sales of healthy foods increased by almost 30% post-holiday, sales of not-so-healthy food remained elevated during weeks following the new year when compared to the holiday spike. The old adage “you are what you eat” has merit. Food is medicine that can nourish, heal and revitalize our bodies. Likewise, filling the tank with bad fuel can decrease overall well-being, weaken immunity, and increase risk for chronic conditions and complications. Choose the right fuel to aid your fitness routine. Consulting a health professional specializing in nutrition is a great way to make sure you are meeting nutritional demands and maintaining caloric balance to meet your goals. Nutrition experts also provide personalized snack and meal recommendation to keep meals tasty while not compromising your goals. Consider establishing a nutrition consultation from the comfort of your own home as a milestone on the pathway to your long-term fitness goal.

OptUP is a handy tool that guides you to small dietary changes to make your engine running better. Reading through a nutrition label often requires you to balance high sodium vs. high fiber, low sugar vs. high calories, and all the subtleties in between. OptUP is Kroger’s proprietary Nutrition Rating system that assigns simple 1-100 ratings to foods you eat and purchase every day then recommends product to help you trade up to healthier items over time.

Explore more healthy living advice from our team of experts.