Spring Clean Your Fitness Routine 

By Lisa Niren 

 

Spring is officially upon us, and warm weather is tantalizingly close. After winter (which always seems never ending while we endure it), everyone seems thankful to see the days get longer, and more hours of natural sunlight.  It's almost that time of year again - one last snow will come and go, the sun is shining, and those thick sweaters in the closet are about to go into storage. Spring is a season of renewal, change, and rebirth. As buds become leaves and flowers, and healing rain washes the city streets, it is a perfect time to get outdoors. It is also the perfect time as we approach the end of March, with 3 months of the year squarely behind us to reflect on those New Years resolutions we made, and pick up the slack if were falling behind, or maintain resolve and make 2016 a true year of positive, lasting change. 

 

I must admit I've never been a fan of New Years resolutions. They seem so final,and I could never find one thing to really hone in on. It seems like so much pressure How can I pick just one way to try to improve over 366 days (considering its a leap year), isnt that selling myself short? Or, if I pick multiple resolutions, am I setting myself up for failure, a self-fulfilling prophecy, if you will?

 

Another reason I skip the New Years resolutions: It is an excuse to put off positive change until the New Year. Why cant positive change occur at any time? While it may seem smart to have a memorable starting point, a real sustainable change will make the start of it memorable, no matter when it is. If you are truly devoted to your new resolutions, dont wait until the New Year. I share this mentality with my classes often, in particular on Sundays in an hour ride I teach. I use this time to tell everyone to reset, to establish goals and resolve for the coming week, month, season, and to really use the time to revise anything you are working toward. There is never a wrong time to do this. Once a year truly seems not often enough. 

As the first quarter of 2016 comes to a close, losing steam a few months into New Years resolutions is perfectly natural. Even if youve fallen completely off the wagon, theres no reason why you cant get right back on, or switch gears entirely and focus on some other type of change or resolve for the season. Spring is the perfect time to re-assess goals, as the natural uplifting change in weather provides motivation and inspiration. The lure of summer will also help to spur you on if your goals happen to involve physical self-improvement, like getting fit.

Dont despair: The key to success with New Years resolutions and all goals, whether fitness and health related or not, isnt perfection; the key is persistently adjusting your strategy

                                                                                                                      

To get resolutions back on track this spring, take action and be proactive:

 

1. Simplify. Dont over complicate. Dont overthink it. 

Elaborate goal-making can be counter-productive. If you have fifteen goals to achieve this year, you’re likely to give up on the majority of them and complete the rest on a subpar level. Now is the perfect time to reassess your resolutions and simplify your ambitions. Chose one or two goals to focus/hone in on, and you’ll find it much easier to keep up.

 

2. Define. If you are vague about your goals, youll be vague about reaching them. 

Redefine your resolution and be specific; then, break it down into monthly, weekly, or daily goals. Make sure you start where you’re at, not where you want to be. You will get there, but it takes time.

 

3. Mark a date. Set reasonable milestones and benchmarks for your resolutions. 

An obvious end date is December 31st, but even three months into 2016, that’s still nine months away — and such a long deadline can lead to procrastination. Take action, start now. Set a reasonable deadline for your goal. If December 31 is still a reasonable goal, set smaller checkpoints along the way over the next nine months, either monthly, quarterly, or more frequently to hold yourself accountable. 

 

4. Be accountable, tell everyone.

Tell your friends, family, work colleagues, neighbors, and anyone else you interact with daily of your intentions. The moral support will encourage and motivate you, while the responsibility of staying true to your word will inspire you. Ask a trusted friend to encouragingly nag and prod you to ensure you are keeping up with your goal. If they're attempting something similar, you can do the same in return.

 

5. Persevere. Keep at it. 

Falling off the wagon isn't an excuse to quit; it's an invitation to get back on. Even if you've eaten junk food all week, skipped your most recent class, or ignored the neon gym signs in favor of the TV, it's not over. Every single day is a fresh start — an opportunity to wipe the slate clean from the day before, and resume your resolution and get back on track. If you begin to doubt, simply remind yourself of why you set the goal in the first place, to inspire you into action.

 

Bottom line, start your changes now, instead of putting them off again until the New Year. Get cracking. Don’t revel in your bad habits for another day, they won’t serve you. Make your life about constant improvement. I look at January 1st as just an arbitrary day when dreams are renewed and resolve has power. Why can’t Spring be just as much a catalyst? Use that momentum to do something. Do something different, do something scary, and most of all - make it EPIC.