Tips to avoid being a February health and fitness quitter
February is the month when many people give up on their New year’s resolutions to become fitter and healthier. This article suggests a range of tips to stay on track…
Four out of 10 adults made a new year’s resolution to get fitter and healthier, yet the vast majority will have quit by the start of February.
According to the research at the University of Minnesota in America, just 20 per cent will still be on track four weeks later.
Frustratingly, another report shows that the February quitters were halfway to changing their behaviour forever.
The University College London reveals that it takes 66 days to fully break a bad habit.
A fitness expert who works with leading sports coaches to understand the “Athlete Mindset” has created a daily guide to restart your resolutions.
Wes Myron, a former pro-athlete who runs Elite Performance Lifestyle (EPL), believes anyone can follow The Five Steps to Beat The Quit programme.
The EPL method was developed after the ice hockey professional was forced to retire due to injury.
Wes said: “Most people that made resolutions at the start of January genuinely wanted the outcome they are seeking, but it’s the way they go about chasing that goal that lets them down.
“This is a massive positive because it means the only thing that needs to change is the process of achieving the goal.
“Change your daily schedule and the Athlete Mindset follows.”
Five steps to beat the quit
Step 1. Goal set like a world champion
The majority of people fail before they even start by not setting their goal in the right way.
Athletes seeking success do this by following a simple three-stage goal-setting process:
1) Figure out The Why – why do you want to achieve a goal?
2) Be specific – research shows that the more clarity you have with your goal the more likely you are to achieve it.
Also ensure the goal has a yes/no evaluation. For example, did I have zero cigarettes today and did I lose a pound in weight this week?
3) Write it down – You are up to 40 per cent more likely to hit your goal if you write it down because you encode it into your short and long-term memory.
Step 2. Choose Your Environment
We increase our chances of success by choosing the company we keep. As harsh as it may seem, if you are serious about achieving your resolution, don’t spend time with people who drag you into old behaviours.
Likewise, when overcoming learned habits such as smoking, drinking or unhealthy eating, avoid the places where you do those things.
Step 3. Visualise it
The greatest athletes of all time, from Muhammad Ali David Beckham all dedicated themselves to visualising the success they sought.
Start each day by visualising your success. Get up 10 minutes earlier than you normally would to create a window of time for you.
Go to a quiet and comfortable space, close your eyes and picture yourself as the thing you aspire to.
Note how good it feels to have achieved your goal, and how your life is fundamentally better now.
Finish the visualisation with a simple commitment to yourself that confirms your vision. This should start with “I am…”, followed by your goal. For example, “I am a non smoker” or “I am a 10k runner.”
Step 4. Appreciate success
It’s important to recognise every positive step along the way. The simplest way of doing this is to keep a diary.
When you feel as though you are not hitting your goals you can loo at the diary and confirm what you have achieved so far.
Step 5. Rest and reset
Recovery is as important as nutrition and training and if you don’t get your rest right you dramatically reduce the chances of success.
It’s estimated that 68 per cent of adults sleep poorly and if you’re getting less than seven hours of quality sleep then you are likely to be under-resting and this means you are more likely to fail in your resolution.
Aid you sleep and recovery by reducing the consumption of caffeine, making a regular bed time, stop using your mobile phone and tablet an hour before you sleep and maintaining a tidy bedroom for improved calm.
This article appeared in my Sunday Mail outdoors column.