With the end of the year approaching fast, you may have begun to consider your New Year's resolutions. It's easy to tell yourself that you'll start fresh in a couple of months (and enjoy all that holiday eating while you can), but why not start now? After all, there's no time like the present! Here are a few reasons why kicking off your resolutions a couple months early can be immensely beneficial.
Get a Head Start
If your New Year's resolution is to lose ten pounds by summertime or to run a half marathon by spring, don't wait until January 1 to start your efforts. Use the time left in the year to get a head start. If you already know what you'd like to achieve, there's no reason to wait. Imagine walking into the New Year having already lost four pounds or already being able to run six miles. Feeling like you're ahead of your goals will help keep you going when the official resolution time rolls around.
Develop a Routine
After the whirlwind of the holidays, some of us struggle to fall back into our routines. The kids have to get to school, work deadlines have to be met and for many of us, the cold weather can be especially unmotivating when we're thinking about going to the gym. By developing a routine before the start of the year, you won't have to attempt to nail down new habits amid all of your other priorities. Your mind will already be expecting―and likely craving!―your workout time.
Enjoy the Empty Gym
Want to get a gym membership? You're not alone. Gym usage spikes in January with the influx of people trying to kickstart those fitness resolutions. While the numbers usually drop off within a few months, the crowds can be intimidating and irritating. Rather than starting your resolution at the same time as everyone else, try starting it before the crowds arrive and enjoy the gym space comfortably. You may need to adjust your workout time or location when January rolls around, but as people trickle out, it's business as usual.
Ready to start your New Year's Resolutions early? Here are some tips to help you set smart, reasonable and achievable goals.
Make a Plan, but Start Small
Prior planning helps us prioritize our health and ensure that we're making time to exercise. Write down when and where you'll be working out in advance, then choose what kind of exercise you'll be doing. If you're just beginning your fitness journey and don't know where to start, you can browse tons of free workout regimens on ACTIVE.com.
As you're developing your exercise plan, don't force yourself to make any huge changes right out of the gate. If you're only used to working out once a week, a plan involving daily workouts will be difficult to stick to. Instead, try making smaller changes, like working out three times a week and doing a "fun" workout (like playing kickball or taking the dog for a walk) once a week. Smaller adjustments will be easier for you to stay consistent with and consistency leads to bigger results.
Set Measurable Goals
Whether you want to swim farther, run faster or drop a few pounds, make sure you're setting numerical, measurable goals. For example, if you want to swim 10 laps at the pool without stopping, you could set a goal to swim three laps by next month and six by the month after that. Measuring out your success will help you stay on track with your improvements and show you where you may need to work harder.
In addition, setting incremental goals will help you develop "checkpoints" for your larger goal. As you achieve each smaller, measured-out goal, you'll get a burst of excitement that will help carry you forward to your next checkpoint.
Find Your Support System
If you struggle to hold yourself accountable for finishing a workout or training day, try finding a support system to keep you going. This could be a fellow gym goer, a friend or a family member. Ask this person to check in and make sure you're sticking to your plan. You'll likely receive lots of helpful encouragement, too.
You can also look for small local groups, like running clubs or cycling groups, who work out together regularly. You may find it easy to bail on your individual workout, but if you tell your group you're coming to the weekly meetup, you'll have a harder time backing out!
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