This was totally going to be the year, right? You were finally going to join the gym/lose weight/run a 5k/start doing yoga/ (fill in the blank with something else fitnessy). The first few weeks of January were really awesome. You made some changes, got into a rhythm … and then life happened and all of a sudden February is here and you’re right back to the same frustrating behaviors that persuaded you to make those fitness resolutions in the first place. What now?
Self-resentment is one of the greatest enemies of personal progress. If you have failed to meet your own expectations, the first and most important next step is forgiveness. Recognize that you are human and that life is unpredictable. For whatever reason(s), you set a goal and you missed the mark. Big deal. That doesn’t mean you don’t get another chance! Imagine if you forgot to floss your teeth for an entire week. You knew you were supposed to do it once a day, but life got crazy and you fell short. Does that mean your oral health is a lost cause and you should never floss your teeth again? Of course not! It means you can recognize what went wrong, let the past be the past, and keep moving forward.
Before you dive headfirst into renewing that January resolution, back up and ask yourself why you made the resolution in the first place. So often we set goals without honestly examining why the outcome is so important to us. Choosing to train for a marathon because we crave the sense of accomplishment that comes from crossing the finish line is very different from choosing to train for a marathon because we don’t like the shape or size of our bodies and we think distance running will morph us into bodies we can feel more confident in. If a resolution is made in the absence of self-acceptance, chances are high that achieving the end-goal will only temporarily make us feel successful. Take some time to revise your resolution if necessary. Make sure that your expectations are realistic for your lifestyle and that your motivations are coming from a place of kindness and self-acceptance.
Now that you’ve forgiven yourself and examined your motives, you’re free to reestablish or recommit to your fitness goals. But here’s the trick. Resolving to be “healthy” (whatever that looks like for you) is something that happens every day, every hour—not just on the morning of January 1. Every day when you wake up, you get to start again. Every hour of every day, you will be faced with many decisions, and with each decision you get to choose—to resolve—to make a decision that moves you closer to the healthiest, most confident version of you!
Kendra Rorabaugh is supervisor of group fitness and aquatics programs at the Prisma Health Life Center. If you’re in the market for a tool to help you achieve a better fitness level, check out Prisma Health’ss MoveWell program with video workouts that require no special equipment.