Last year Time Magazine named losing weight and getting in shape as the most commonly named New Years Resolutions and also the one most frequently broken. Why? Well, it seems that your good intentions to get out and exercise are not enough. Most people view lack of exercise as a motivational problem but that is not necessarily the case. Instead it is a strong lack of countermotivation NOT to exercise that could be your stumbling block. Countermotivations include wanting to spend more time with friends or family; getting work done; and/or avoiding the anticipated pain, fatigue, injury or embarrassment of not succeeding. For those of you reading this and thinking,…”yep that’s me,” here are some compelling ways to stay in the positive.
YOUR NEW YEARS COMMITMENT
Making the commitment to follow through on your 2012 health and fitness goals will take setting realistic expectations for yourself. Ask yourself these two questions: “In your ideal world, how much time would you dedicate to your exercise program in a week?” Then ask yourself, “How much time do you think you will have for exercising this week?” The ability to contrast your ideal world with your real world will allow you to recognize any potential conflicts and allow you to set a realistic fitness plan you can stick to.
BE A PROACTIVE PESSIMIST
Recognizing your potential obstacles and creating a plan of action to overcome them is called proactive pessimism. In a recent study 256 women who were interested in becoming more active were put to the test. Half the women were told very little about healthy lifestyle the other half were asked to journal daily about the following questions:
- What is your most important exercise goal?
- What would be the most positive outcomes of meeting this goal?
- What is the biggest obstacle to this goal?
Then they answered these three questions about the obstacle:
- When and where is the obstacle most likely to occur?
- What can I do to prevent the obstacle from occurring?
- What specific thing will I do to help get back to my exercise goal when this obstacle happens?
Completing this exercise doubled the average amount of time participants spent exercising each week from 46 minutes to 103 minutes. The change started the very first week and lasted all the way through the 4-month follow up.
Finally, challenge yourself with a bit of healthy guilt. Research shows that anticipating how much you’ll regret skipping a workout can motivate you above and beyond imagining your positive outcomes. Ask yourself, “How will I feel tomorrow about the decision I made today?”
FIND YOUR STICKTUITIVENESS
When it comes to New Years Resolutions 2012 honor your motivation, be open to your motivation as well as your countermotivations. Setting realistic goals for yourself allows you the best chance of sticking to them and achieving success.