The time is officially upon us. We've been waiting all year for this. Drum roll please... let's all get ready... to go see "Star Wars!" Wait, no. That's not it. Oh yeah, New Year's Resolutions!
Well, it's easy to get them confused. Both of them have a ton of sequels (depending on how many years you've attempted your resolutions), both can have explosions (some people should NOT go cold turkey), both have a ton of action (lunges, anyone?) and both are either loved or hated.
But that last one doesn't have to apply to your planned New Year's changes. In fact, it shouldn't. Unfortunately too many people try to do an overhaul on their lifestyle and end up losing their sanity. Don't go all crazy Chewbacca on us yet.
While it's admirable to undertake massive change in the name of health and happiness, it's not wise. Generally speaking, small, consistent changes compiled over time will be much more effective in creating and breaking habits. But there's more to it.
You're also more likely to stick with it if you actually enjoy it. Yes, there are a select few of us who enjoy the discomfort that an extreme workout can bring (on the occasions that she can train with me, my girlfriend asks if I'm doing a "regular workout or if I'm going to kill myself"... it's generally the latter, but I've been doing this for over 20 years).
When it comes to beginning a fitness journey, or making any initial change for that matter, it is important that you look forward to doing it. I applaud those who want to better themselves, but if you dread doing it, guess who's not going to stick with it?
The picture shown is my boot camp group after a special 3-hour workout we did to celebrate some birthdays. Everybody is smiling, and I didn't have to pay them! Each one of us has worked up to being able to enjoy that.
This doesn't mean that all workouts should involve eating cupcakes while riding a majestic Pegasus that sings lullabies and tells knock knock jokes. Wow, actually, that sounds like a nightmare, but you get the idea. Occasional discomfort is alright and actually beneficial.
So what do you do? How do you find the sweet spot? How do you enjoy doing something new but push yourself out of your comfort zone enough to ensure the growth and change that you're seeking?
Quite simple. Expect a little discomfort initially. That's part of change. Learning or beginning something new can be uncomfortable. However, it shouldn't be soul-crushing.
Give the new habit three weeks. If after those 21 days you still feel uncomfortable and overwhelmed, look to ease up a bit but don't quit completely. Dialing it back can help you gain the needed confidence and momentum to push through and conquer the change. Take one step back to take two steps forward.
Most importantly, make sure you enjoy what you're doing, otherwise it's only a matter of time before you'll quit. And then where will you be? In a galaxy far, far away... that's where.
Andy Frisch, NASM CPT, CES, PES, WFS, IFT, NESTA FNC, is a successful personal trainer and nutrition coach who enjoys working with clients of all shapes, sizes and ages. He currently train clients at Sports Village Fitness in Lebanon, works with clients online at www.FreshEvolutionFitness.com and has a budding YouTube channel.