If You're Trying A New Workout Plan, Here's Why You Should Take It Easy

26 January 2020

"This year, I'll exercise more. I'll eat more healthy food and I'll actually make use of that gym membership card that I've had for three years".

At a point in the life of most adults, these thoughts have crossed their minds before the new year. New year resolutions are great, and they help set goals, especially health goals, that you can achieve.

Some say that health resolutions aren't effective, but the statistics may not agree with that assertion. For example, up to 27% of people report that they actually meet their fitness resolutions.

Wait, that tells another story.

The truth is that up to 73% of people report that they give up their health resolution without meeting their target. And now, experts are saying that it may be because people go full throttle at the beginning of the year while trying to meet their fitness goals. In fact, they are saying that not only could it lead to you giving up, it could also lead to injury. What do experts say you should do instead? Pace yourself, they argue. That way you are more likely to gain sustainable results over a long period.

New Years And Resolutions

Each year, in January, gyms are choke-full of people bursting with energy. They've just made a new year resolution to spend more time at the gym and lose weight— and they are raring to go.

In fact, health-related goals like eating less fast food, spending more time at the gym, and losing weight are the most common new year's resolutions and they account for about a third of all new year resolutions— this is according to a 2018 Marist Poll survey that was sponsored by NPR and PBS NewsHour.

However, all does not usually go according to plan. These resolutions end up backfiring. Why? Well, it appears that many people find their fitness goals just too overwhelming to achieve, and they usually discover this in the first few days of trying to achieve it. Others? Well, they start too strong and end up succumbing to injuries or get worn out.

There must be a solution though. We know that there is one because 27% of people who make health-related resolutions actually achieve them. What can we do to make sure that we are part of this 27%?

New Year, New Me? Please.

When the ending of a year approaches, we often fall into the trap of romanticising the new year. We say things like the new year will be a new beginning and it is the start of a new us. Social media and popular culture do not make it easy for us either— the gospel of the new year is all around us, and it makes it really difficult not to fall for the hype.

The hype is real. The excitement of a new year and a grand, new opportunity to start on a new slate can be infectious— and it is infectious. However, this hype can prove to be fake when it comes to new year resolutions. People are often motivated to get started on their resolutions, and this leads to unmanaged expectations about the work needed to get from here to there.  People often make commitments that are impossible to follow instead of following the more sustainable path of making small incremental changes in order to adjust their lifestyle. A good example of these small incremental changes is getting a desk riser to relieve backpain— and not dedicating 12 hours every week to Yoga.

The result of having this impossible to achieve commitment is that many people give up early, and some end up convinced that they can achieve these "impossible" goals. Why do people make commitments that are just clearly impossible to commit to? Simple, really. Our mind often tricks us into thinking that we are actually better than what we are. But that is all it really is, a trick, and when the new year rolls around, we discover that we've been the victim of our own thoughtfulness. However, it is often not too late.

Or is it?

Many experts recommend that if you've failed a new year resolution, you don't have to fret. You can always start again the next day.

If You Work Out Too Hard, You May Be Heading To A Time Out.

Doctors all over America have remarked that they've seen a lot of cases where people work too hard to try to meet physically impossible goals. While working hard is great, it may have unintended consequences on your health.

Losing weight or getting healthy isn't just a task that you can accomplish at once. It isn't a task that you merely need to check off your checklist either. It's a lifetime goal that you need to work towards every day. That's why your new year resolutions shouldn't be oriented towards "white elephant" health commitments. You can start by adding something to your routine— like purchasing an under desk bike so that you can exercise while you work.

Overdoing your exercises can lead to quick exhaustion and injury. So, basically, try not to get on the full-throttle to achieve your health goals this year. Follow a better and more sustainable route by adjusting your lifestyle and seeing good health as a journey and not a goal.