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Aha, the gyms and classes have started to fill, you have an entire front and back of a page filled with New Year's Resolutions and you've thrown out the last remnants of the Christmas cookies...now what?
You've heard it before and you'll hear it again: Start small.
That's right, little baby steps to get to those big goals. Think about what you can do today, right now, in this very moment to contribute to your 2016 personal improvement. I'll give the example of exercise to start, and you can apply the method to anything you're working on.
So, you want to be a gym rat, but you haven't stepped into the gym since this time last year? Well, it's not going to happen overnight. There are different theories on how long it takes to build a habit, I like to think of it in terms of weeks- if you repeat the same action everyday for three weeks it will become a habit (just like flossing your teeth).
1. First thing's first: Make a daily goal.
Pick a time of day: morning, afternoon or night. Commit 15 minutes to doing something active at that time.
It can be a vigorous ab workout, some push-ups, or just a walk around the block. I've found that physically getting out of the house can be very powerful, and it is a step to getting towards the gym, so maybe go for a walk!
Repeat daily, no matter what.
It's okay to change the time, place, routine, but have those 15 minutes carved out. BOOM you're already completing goals and you're ready for
2. The Second Phase: Commit to a Weekly Class
Pick a class that you can commit to once a week. JUST ONE CLASS. The time can vary, the class can vary, but for the sake of building a habit, try to keep it the same. Build it into your routine.
Bonus: invite a friend who can also keep the same commitment. (Hint: YOUR participation is NOT dependent on theirs, they are just an added bonus and you will go with or without them because this is your goal to achieve.)
3. Third Try's a Charm: Vary Your Workout
Keep the public class you chose in phase 2 in your arsenal, (let's say it's a spin class) the daily movement (15 min walk), and then see if you'd like to add a different type of exercise. Maybe there's a class at your gym or in your building that you've always thought about trying. TRX baby, go for it! You may love it, it may not be right for you, but you are trying new things and that's what's important.
4. Final Destination: It's a Commitment.
Now that you're an official active member of society, the world is your oyster. You have your base classes and your favorite exercises, maybe you add another class, or a run, or something else into your routine. The most important thing is to take little steps to achieving a bigger goal.
Congratulate yourself at the end of 3 weeks doing 15 minutes a day as well as when you've found a workout that you like. Recognizing and appreciating your achievements builds confidence and makes you feel good, so give yourself a pat on the back, mark it on your calendar. You did it!
You are no less than those body builders you see at the gym, or the yoga girls on Instagram, you are just as impressive. Your capacity to build a strong practice is dependent on your commitment to yourself and nobody else. Go out there and get it!