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Sport and Fitness

How to smash your New Year’s fitness goals

Words by Nathan Irvine

Don't wait until December 31st to start again

In 2020, Strava – the fitness/social media app – used data from its millions of users to pinpoint January 19th as “Quitters’ Day”. This is the date that sees the biggest drop off of active users. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the timing is almost certainly to do with lofty New Year’s resolutions to get in shape.

Visualising the strict diet and exercise regime in January was justification enough to munch through the chocolates, cheese and other indulgences. But now the festive cheer has dissipated, the reality and hard work it takes to look like you’ve been chiselled out of marble is all too much.

But you shouldn’t give up. In fact, now is the perfect time to reassess your fitness goals and tweak them to suit your lifestyle. Here are five quick tips to get you past quitter’s day and beyond…

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Trust the process

One of the most common mistakes in making a fitness goal – as a New Year’s resolution or not – is wanting to see progress fast. Unfortunately, it’s going to take time to see some difference. But although your abs might not be popping out – or scales dropping – the work you’re putting in is already having a positive effect on the muscles and your well being. What’s that phrase about Rome not being built in a day, again?

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Get your diet in order

A selection of healthy foods.

You can’t outrun/out train a bad diet. Patting yourself on the back because you’ve been to the gym everyday since January 1st is OK, but if you’ve been “rewarding” that effort with junk food then you’re doing things wrong. There are so many online resources regarding healthy foods that you don’t really have an excuse. Also, if you’re thinking “I don’t have time to make something nutritious” just hit the “healthy” tab on your food delivery app of choice and let them bring it to you.

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Mix up your routine

Man on weight bench using dumbbells for chest exercises.

Whether you’re a fitness freak or total beginner, adding some change to your workouts will always keep things interesting. Make small adjustments to see big changes. For example, change the route that you run each day. Or try a different chest exercise that isn’t on your current set list. There are lots of variations to exercise that can help reset your focus. Speaking of which…

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Gamify your actions

Apple Watch and iPhone 11 side-by-side on white background.

In regular parlance, “gamify” means to simple turn something into a fun game. Fitness bands and smartwatches offer this by giving you goals to achieve each day. In fact, Apple Watch gives you a little digital firework display when you complete your daily goals. There’s a serious side to it too, mind. By setting the targets on these devices and apps, you can keep track of your progress in an easy way and understand how to push yourself a bit further.

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Remember why you’re doing this

Man sat on the sofa trying to remember something.

In your deep subconscious there’s the reason you made a decision to get fit. It’s usually buried under negative thoughts. The type that will try to keep you sat on the sofa munching away on biscuits. But you made a decision because you wanted to better your health in some way. Try to remember how strongly you felt when you initially made this pledge to better yourself and keep it at the front of your mind. You can do this.

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