Beginnings are easy. It’s middles that are hard. Take your typical New Year’s resolution to eat healthy and get fit. Setting a goal like this, with the energy and excitement of a New Year promising a new you, is a piece of cake. But how are you getting on now, two weeks in, as we approach the middle of the month?
If you have given up already, you are not alone. According to research by the University of Scranton in the US, a staggering 92% of all New Year’s resolutions fail. If you want to be part of the 8% that succeed, you need to get better at middles and make plans not goals.
Your plans should be specific and realistic. Visualise your new behaviours in as much detail as possible. What time of the day will you exercise? Where will you go? What will you say when someone offers you a drink in the middle of Dry January? If you can visualise some specifics and rehearse them, you stand a much better chance of success. Be realistic about what you can achieve as well. If you’ve not run for years, you will not finish a marathon by the end of the month. Walk before you can run, or else you are setting yourself up for failure.
Middles last a long time, so before you start, make sure you have support along the way. Don’t do everything on your own. Buddy up with someone who will encourage you and hold you accountable. A good friend won’t berate you for making minor mistakes, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up if you fall off the wagon once or twice. Dust yourself off and jump back on again. Do not let perfection be the enemy of good.
Above all, enjoy working towards a healthier and fitter you. Don’t obsess with outcomes like losing weight, but enjoy moving your body more and eating nutritious food. Let your plans take care of the processes in the middle and the outcomes will take care of themselves.
This third lockdown has hit everyone hard, so we are here with tips and tricks every week to keep your 2021 health and fitness plans on track.
Dr Ian Martin
Head Coach and Exercise Referral Specialist
Vale of York Athletic Community