“Expect the unexpected”
Every year, I try to do new features on the blog that coincide with holidays. Certainly, the New Year is a big one. Some people do a “Year in Review” type approach (I did this last year). Others make “Top 10” type lists (I did something similar to this two years ago). And some offer tips, tricks, and advice for keeping your New Year’s Resolutions.
Unless you’re brand new to the blog, you know how much I hate New Year’s Resolutions so I’m certainly not going to take the “How to Keep Your Resolution” approach with my first blog of 2017.
But, I promise you this blog isn’t going to be anti-resolution either. In fact, I’m going to really put your mind in a pretzel and actually cater my first post of the New Year to the Resolutionists. And I’m going to do it without giving you false “This year, you can do it,” comfort or the generic, way overdone “New Year, New You!” vibe.
Instead, I’m going to share with you five unexpected things to expect on your new fitness journey.
Because I want you to succeed.
Because you have no excuse not to succeed.
Because we both know you really can succeed.
From navigating the gym to a revelation of what motivation actually is (and isn’t) that you’ve likely never heard before, here are five unexpected things to expect when fitness is your New Year’s Resolution.
Motivation Isn’t Real
I’m wasting no time; I’m going to jump right in and blow your mind – either for good or bad – when I tell you this: Motivation doesn’t exist. Yes, “that” motivation.
That motivation you need to do things (I just need to get motivated)
That motivation you wish you had (I wish I had your motivation)
That motivation you often can’t seem to find (I’m just not feeling motivated)
Sorry, folks but motivation is nothing more than a word; a made-up concept that either gives you false hope or gives you an excuse.
Motivation is not something a few of us are born with, something we magically acquire over the years, or only the lucky ones can find the same way we find our car keys when rushing out the door.
Especially when it comes to fitness, I hear “motivation” thrown around all the time. But a fit lifestyle isn’t about having, finding, or stumbling into motivation. It’s about making choices, every day.
You’ve just made a resolution to get fit. Right now, I know you think you’re feeling really motivated. You’re not. You’ve just made a new choice and everything’s fun and exciting when it’s shiny and new.
Flip side, the excuse of not having motivation is bullshit. Instead, you’ve become bored or de-prioritized fitness, and are simply making the choice to no longer make the effort to do it.
I tell you this not to crush your newfound “motivation” and feelings of excitement. I tell you because you need to know that going to the gym, cooking a healthy meal, doing yoga – all of those actions are simple choices. Either you do them, or you don’t. It’s up to you, not motivation.
There Are Rules to the Gym
In the event you make it past the “motivation” hurdle and keep going to the gym in February and beyond, you’ll start to learn the little idiosyncrasies and rules of the gym. But because many Resolutionists are first-timers in the gym, it’s important to know these things the first day you set foot in this new little world.
If you want to get more in-depth on good gym etiquette and expectations, I wrote a blog dedicated to 10 Commandments of the Gym. Below are a few key highlights.
Dress appropriately – good workout clothes and shoes
Don’t be an equipment hog – especially on busy days
Clean up – put away weights, wipe down machines
Use machines for what they’re intended – if you don’t know, just ask
Respect fellow members – their space and their goals
Meal Prep Won’t Save Your Life – But It’ll Come Close
Everyone out there who strives to live a fit and healthy lifestyle knows about and wants to meal prep. You know it takes time, effort, and planning so I don’t need to tell you that. It’s totally worth it and will pay off big time, obviously, so I probably don’t need to tell you that either.
What I’ll say here, like the motivation discussion, boils down to choice. Even with all the good foods and properly portioned options at your fingertips, you still have to make the choice to eat them.
In addition to your meal prepping plans, have plans for how you’re going to balance the food you eat so you’re nourished, satisfied, and your choices make you feel good.
To Buy and Not to Buy
Like anything worthwhile, living a fit lifestyle costs money. Don’t worry; it pays you back big time in health, happiness, and billions of other ways.
When I talk about investing in your healthy lifestyle, I mean more than the cost of the gym membership, home workout equipment, or exercise videos; there are some “hidden” costs to health and fitness – and some unnecessary costs, too.
On the workout side, good workout clothes are a must. The good news is you don’t have to go crazy. A few moisture wicking shirts or tanks, some comfy capris or shorts, plus one quality pair of workout shoes and you’re set.
Just as you don’t have to buy out your local sporting good store’s Under Armour section, you also don’t need a lot of expensive fitness-related goodies. Step trackers, heart rate monitors, Fitbits – you don’t need them. They might make you feel like you’re taking control and being conscious of your health but they just trick you into thinking you’re working out more and getting fitter with every step.
You also don’t need apps or fancy programs to track your healthy efforts. A simple spreadsheet on your computer or – brace yourself – a good ole fashioned notebook will suffice.
On the eating side, if you don’t have decent cookware, get some, and you’ll absolutely need quality Tupperwear. Buy good stuff that will last through weekly washings, microwavings, and being thrown in your backpack or computer bag to and fro the office.
As for the food itself, quality food doesn’t have to cost a fortune. I know fresh food seemingly costs more than junk food but the truth is you can make fresh foods go far with the right meal prep and portion strategy. The real cost comes from gimmicky foods – things like organic, gluten-free, all-natural. Unless you have specific dietary restrictions that require specialty versions of foods, skip them. They’re not necessary or worth the added cost.
Some Days Are Fat, Gross, And Just Plain Suck
Even the fittest, healthiest person out there has “one of those days.” You know, the one where you were just minding your own business at the staff meeting and somehow you’ve eaten three doughnuts. The one where you just can’t make the gym happen. The one where you’re overly stressed, crabby, and feel like you’ve lost the war on healthy and happy.
Those days are out there.
I’m here to tell you so you’re not caught off guard when one smacks you in the face.
I’m here to tell you so you know tomorrow will be better.
I’m here to tell you do you don’t get discouraged.
I’m here to tell you so you understand you’re not the only one.
And I’m here to tell you they happen more often than any of us wants to admit.
All we can do is do our best and work at it every day.
To all you making New Year’s Resolutions to get fit and healthy, I wish you the best. You’re picking, in my opinion, the absolute worst time of year to start your journey but you can do it. I hope these tips help and don’t hesitate to comment or tweet me with any questions.
Fellow fit friends, what advice or inside info would you give to fitness Resolutionists? Are there things you wish you would have known when you began your healthy lifestyle journey?
If you like this post, please share on Facebook or Twitter. And as always, be sure to let me know what you think. Leave a comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.