New Year, New You?
At this time of year, we’re all busy making New Year’s resolutions, and some of the most commonly-made pledges are to get healthier, fitter and have more active lifestyle… just as soon as we’ve finished that last mince pie, that is!
And while most of us start out with good intentions, around 3-4 weeks into the New Year, those annoying niggles and pains begin creeping out of nowhere, eating away at your motivation and preventing you from sticking to your goals. Before you know it, you’ve shelved your plan and have come to the conclusion that – yet again – this isn’t your year.
Well, what if I told you that, with just a little support, this year could be your year after all?
Some Common Barriers To Achieving Your Health Goals
The three most common reasons that health goals fail are:
- Over-estimating your current fitness level
- Over-scheduling your workouts
- Not setting achievable milestones.
Over-estimation of your abilities and over-scheduling of workouts will more likely than not result in a negative, rather than a positive, effect on our current health status; effectively doing more harm than good, regardless of our fitness level. Seems counter-productive, right?
The reason for this is – especially when returning to exercise after a break – our body systems are simply not prepared for prolonged, repeated stress and intensity training. And while the first couple of weeks might be fine (let’s face it, we all feel like champs after a hard workout!), this is precisely when you’re causing the most tissue damage to your joints, ligaments and muscles. So while you’re celebrating surviving those first two weeks back in the gym or out on the field, you’re actually causing those niggles and pain that will show up in a couple of weeks’ time.
What To Do?
Actually, underestimating your current fitness level, along with a sensible exercise program, will create a buffer for you to feel that each training session is achievable – aim for the light at the end of the tunnel as opposed to scaling Mount Everest! Going slow and steady also significantly reduces the chance of unnecessary tissue damage, and so reduces the likelihood of those annoying injuries cropping up later as your training intensifies.
Setting fitness milestones along the way allows you to check in with your progress, and keeps you motivated, as you get closer to your goals. Although your end goal may be perfectly realistic and achievable, it’s easy deviate from the programme, start skipping days here and there and, ultimately, fall back into our comfort zone without a few pats on the back to keep us on track.
Hopefully, these simple ideas will help you to make 2018 the year you’ll see your New Year’s resolutions through to completion, and achieve your health goals!
In the next few series of articles, I will be sharing easy to follow self-check and self-treatment tips for some common complaints I see in clinic. Stay tuned!