Keeping the Willpower for Your New Year’s Resolution

Janel Davis-Heitzmann PT CSCS

Are you keeping up with your New Year’s resolution to exercise regularly? A vast majority of people have given up already and I’ve personally noticed a drop in the crowds in the gym. Nearly 80% of adults in the US do not get the minimum moderate-to-vigorous exercise recommendation of 150 minutes per week. How can you avoid being in this statistic?

Starting and maintaining an exercise program is difficult because it requires a behavioral change but incorporating Multi-Process Action Control Framework (M-PAC) may help. It includes ongoing self-reflection, self-regulation tools (conscious actions) and reflexive tools (habits) to make a sustained behavior change. Try these three strategies:

  • Figure out “why:” Focus on a non-weight related benefit for exercise which helps to maintain a more positive attitude toward exercise with a more realistic expectation of outcomes.
  • Modify your mindset: Set smaller, more moderate short-term goals that are specific, measurable, realistic and actionable. Monitor your progress so you can look back and build on your success. A journal, calendar or fitness app may help.
  • Build better habits: Make participation more automatic and effortless rather than relying on will-power. Set a consistent workout schedule so other plans can be made to avoid interference with this time. Set your workout clothes or a water bottle as a visual cue. Plan ahead by packing your gym bag so you can avoid easy excuses.

Build the right foundation and your exercise resolution will be more sustainable. And most importantly, don’t give up. Your health is worth it!

Source: CNN health. Exercise resolutions. 3/1/2019

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