Anyone who has made a new year’s resolution only to fall off the wagon a few weeks later can appreciate that a change in behaviour can be difficult, involving a commitment of time, effort and emotion. The key thing to realise is that there is no one silver bullet, no single solution that works for everyone; it’s likely that you will have to try several techniques through a process of trial and error. If one way does not work, another way might, the key is to be prepared to go through several little failures without getting discouraged. Don’t do the same thing over and over again with the same negative result; try new ways to stay motivated.
The first step to success is to have realistic goals. If you are 20 stone, then getting qualified for the 2012 Olympics might be a bit unrealistic.Although you might have a shot in the wrestling. Instead of this one big goal divide the challenge into several smaller achievable but challenging steps that will lead towards the larger goal. So aim at first for a weight loss of 1 stone and add in a fitness goal like being able to jog non-stop for 10 minutes. When you have done that give yourself a huge pat on the back and make another small stepping stone goal towards the big endgame. Write down your goals!
The second step is to start at your own level. If you have joined a gym don’t go hammer and tongs in the first go. If it’s too hard you won’t stick with it, especially if you are walking like John Wayne for four days afterwards. Your body WILL change when stresses are placed upon it, but make it sustainable. Try to be out of breath and sweaty in cardio sessions, but not so that you can’t talk at all. In resistance training go for fifteen repetitions of an exercise at a level where the last few are hard, but don’t go all Rambo and try to do weights that are too heavy for you. Small steps.
The third step is to ask yourself if you are ready for change. Do you have the resources and knowledge to make a lasting change? It’s rare that an individual can do it all on their own (this is why celebrities have personal trainers!). So tell your friends and family what your plans are; ask them to help and encourage you. Use social networking sites to publicise your short and long term goals so that you have support from all angles. These tactics also give you accountability – the thought of your facebook friends making fun if you don’t stick with it will help you sustain the change. Get some hired help. A gym instructor or even better a personal trainer can show you exactly what you need to do and provide further support, encouragement and accountability. Even just one session a week might well be enough to keep you on the straight and narrow.
Step four is to identify barriers to change. Look at the potential barriers and make a plan to eliminate them or go around them. If you feel that time (or lack of) is a big factor, devise a fitness strategy where you exercise with reasonable intensity for shorter periods. A ten minute a day intense kettle bell routine done five days a week might work better for you than an hour or two in the gym once a week. The UK is a large highly developed country; there are tons of resources out there to help you. Explore them all and find what works for you! Classes, community centres, horse riding centres, judo clubs, village hall pilates classes, it’s all out there, investigate!
Step five-focus on the huge positive gains to be had from exercise and healthy eating. Who doesn’t want to live longer, have more energy, look better, have fewer wrinkles, feel friskier, avoid disease, have fun and be fit? Go for it!