It’s that time of year. The omnipresent “new year, new you” slogan seems to follow you everywhere. Gyms are having membership sales. Healthy recipes are flooding your inbox. Everything is reminding you that it’s time to get back into shape. But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
A new calendar year is in fact a perfect time to reset and focus on new goals. You can use this time as an opportunity—here are some easy tips to get going.
One of the most frustrating hurdles in approaching goals is their sheer enormity. You want to be active, so you’ll have to get new workout clothes, decide on what workout you like best, find a gym that works for you, find classes that fit your schedule, find an instructor you like, actually go to said gym, if it doesn’t work you start all over again . . . just thinking about it makes you tired. So, don’t start big. Start small. Work on two squats today. And two tomorrow. Aim to do two active moves every day for a week. Once you pass your first week, you’re on to your second. Then your third. Soon enough, you’ve been active for a month! Remember, small goals add up to big goals!
Schedule walking meetings
If you’re business is like most, much of your day is filled up with meetings. Appointments after appointments, taking up your schedule and keeping you from most activity. So why not combine the two? This, of course, probably isn’t wise for a 20-person, two-hour meeting but what about your team catch up? The three of you can easily walk and talk around the office or around the neighborhood.
Walk more in general
Baltimore City, and even many of the surrounding counties, are incredibly walkable. Right outside of your door there are beautiful neighborhoods, parks and even trails. Get outside and explore! “If you live within a reasonable walking distance of a grocery store, initiate a new rule: no driving to the store,” says KG Spencer, instructor at BeachFit Baltimore. “This one change has a multiple benefit effect—the walk itself adds steps, carrying the groceries home is an upper body and core ‘strength’ training opportunity and, because you have to carry your haul, you’re less likely to make impulse food decisions.”
Use a refillable water bottle
Refilling your cup or bottle will automatically force you to get up from your desk—more steps without even thinking about it. Plus, this habit can check off other boxes. Not only is drinking more water a healthy practice, but reusing bottles, cups and mugs is also much more eco-friendly (and cheaper!) than buying a new one every day.
Bring a set of weights to work
Most of us claim lack of time as a reason we’re not active and work is usually the biggest culprit. Like walking meetings, remember that being active doesn’t always involve getting drenched in sweat. Having a light set of two to five pound weights at your desk can help inspire you! You can easily get in a few bicep curls while you’re muted on that conference call or a few shoulder presses after lunch.
“If you work somewhere with steps, set an alarm for every 90 minutes at which time you’ll get up from your desk, grab those weights and hit the stairwell,” says Spencer. “Walk the stairs once or twice before returning to your seat. Doing this a few times a day can have dramatic effect on your cardiovascular health—not to mention your thighs—over time.”
Research workouts before you hit the gym
Ok, you made it to a gym . . . now what? If you’re newer to the fitness scene, or just getting back to it, it’s hard to find a natural rhythm right off the bat. So, prepare yourself! The internet is chock full of resources for you! Find a few workouts that seem fun and print them out or save them to your phone. This will save you time and frustration when you ultimately arrive at your fitness location.
Find an activity buddy
One of the easiest ways to stay accountable is to have someone else help keep you on track. We’re all in this new-year boat together, so find someone who has the same goal as you and check in with each other regularly. You’ll be shocked at how much more you want to stay involved when another person is depending on you.
Join a social sports league
Baltimore is full of fun organizations to help you get more involved and more active with friends. Volleyball, basketball, shuffleboard, Skee-Ball, bocce, softball, yoga—you name it, there’s probably a group doing it. Want more than one person keeping you accountable? Try a whole team.
Work on active chores
Another resolution is often cleaning up around the house—use it to your advantage. Sweeping, mopping, and washing windows are all easy ways to work on your house and your body.
Add activity to your calendar
Literally. Open your phone calendar or planner and add some sort of activity appointment. Make it reoccurring set for every day. You’re making an important meeting with yourself. And don’t skip it. You wouldn’t skip a meeting with your boss, would you? You’re the boss of your body—make sure you make it a priority.
“As you lay out your calendar, write a few sentences how you feel and your intention for the day—It might be how you’re excited to work out or maybe not. Either way, set that purpose for the day,” says Jami Gobao Crist, spin instructor at REV Cycle. “Post workout, go back and reflect on how you feel. Save those thoughts and go back to them when you’re unmotivated.”