Every year the most popular New Year’s resolutions involve minor variations on a theme. Get fit, lose weight, eat more healthily. These are all admirable goals, but most people find it nigh on impossible to stick to them.
The reason for that is not just down to a lack of willpower, it’s because these resolutions are flawed from the outset. They’re vague, uninspiring goals.
What you should be aiming for with a resolution is something fixed, achievable and that you might actually enjoy doing.
The quickest way to work out if you have a good resolution is to think about whether you’d want to talk about completing it at your New Year’s Eve party in 2017.
No-one’s going to stick around and listen to your tale of dropping a few pounds, but if you’ve completed your first marathon, mastered cooking, or trekked across Australia, they’ll be more willing to hear you out.
Here are six superb aims for 2017.
1. Sign up for an event
Be it a marathon, a 100-mile cycle, or a 10km row, events are an excellent way to achieve your fitness goals in enjoyable fashion.
Preparing for the event means you’ll naturally get fitter and the day itself will be a grand occasion that will only encourage you to do more.
Also, by signing up for an event later in the year it will ensure you don’t just go all out in January and burn out your enthusiasm. You can build slowly towards a fixed date – one that you can’t ignore like a gym membership.
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2. Book an active holiday
The ultimate in reward-based activity, make sure you enjoy your exercise by planning on doing it in a glamorous location.
The thought of the holiday itself is sure to inspire you through bleaker days of training, especially as you’ll know that cycling in Tanzania, or canoeing in Canada, is only going to be half as enjoyable if you’re unfit.
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3. Take a cookery course
Learning to cook food from scratch puts you on the fast-track to a healthy diet, as it makes it all the easier to avoid hidden fats and sugars, as well as building an understanding of what is actually good for you.
You can do this via online courses, healthy eating apps, books or, if you’re really hopeless in the kitchen, a full cookery course, where you also get the added benefit of socialising.
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4. Try a one-month challenge
If you feel your best bet for an active year is to strike while the iron’s hot and go all out in January, then a 30-day challenge might be just the ticket.
Whether it’s squats, burpees, press-ups or planking, Coach has guides to challenges that will not only give you something to brag about, but also put you in a great position to carry on your fitness regime in slightly less extreme fashion come February.
5. Aim for a new PB
If you’re already fairly active, or at least have been at some point in your past, you likely have some kind of personal best you’re proud of. Be it a 5km time, maximum deadlift, or golf score over 18 holes.
Get that target in your sights, spend 2017 working towards breaking it and you’ll naturally get into better shape.
6. Try three new activities
You might have tried, and failed, to get on a fitness kick many times in the past. If so, there’s little point re-treading the same path and doing the same exercise plan. Expand your horizons and try at least three new things, eventually you’ll discover an activity you love doing, and then the weight will melt away. Here are five things we tried last year that might inspire:
- Try playing touch rugby
- Take a HIIT class in water
- Go stand-up paddleboarding
- Give a calisthenics training a go
- Take your bike off the beaten track with cyclocross