Thomas Cothren of Maryland was once a person who suffered from addiction and an unhealthy lifestyle. Through working with clients on their mental health journeys, he was inspired to take control of his own life, taking the necessary steps to recover from his addiction and lose over 100 pounds!
In the following article, Thomas Cothren of Maryland discusses how to stick with long-term fitness goals, how to be sure to follow a plan, recruit an exercise partner, and gain momentum to keep that New Year’s resolution for more than just a month or two.
Every year, most people make New Year’s resolutions about fitness and healthy living, and most of them have failed, forgotten, or given up by the end of January. Is there a way to see these goals through to the end of the year and beyond?
Thomas Cothren of Maryland has a few suggestions to follow when attempting to see oneself through on New Year’s promises. For maintaining motivation, make goals visual, create an achievable plan, track progress, and keep a positive outlook. For maintaining long-term success, follow a fitness plan with a friend, start small, make it a habit, and be specific.
Many people find it helpful to create a poster or storyboard of sorts that they keep in their gym area, on their fridge, or anywhere else they will see it every day. It could picture what they want their body to look like, where they want to be able to go, or what they want to be able to do.
Thomas Cothren of Fresh Start says that this strategy makes it easy to remember what the hard work is for, prompting motivation.
Create an Achievable Plan
When setting goals or resolutions, it’s important to consider personal capabilities to determine what is reasonable and what is not. Every person is different, so what works for a fitness influencer on Instagram most likely won’t work for a single mom of two.
Thomas Cothren of Maryland says that the plan should be personalized to the individual. Setting small goals is the best way to make sure these lifestyle changes are sustainable long-term. For example, losing 100 pounds in a year is a pretty massive goal. Instead, set a goal of losing a healthy 4-8 lbs per month and go from there.
Many people fail in their New Year’s fitness goals because they try to start too big too fast. Instead, the plan should consist of reasonable steps based on lifestyle, time commitment, affordability, etc. For example, someone who wants to start exercising more shouldn’t start by building an entire home gym.
Rather, Thomas Cothren of Maryland suggests starting with some simple bodyweight exercises and slowly expanding one’s collection of workout equipment as they progress. By dedicating only 15 or 20 minutes to physical activity at the start, and slowly increasing the time commitment over the following weeks, many can avoid the rapid burnout that is often encountered within weeks of starting something new.
Track Every Little Bit of Progress
Thomas Cothren of Maryland says that one of the best ways to stay motivated on a fitness journey is to track every bit of progress possible. Whether it’s the number on the scale, inches lost, calories eaten, steps taken, or anything else, tracking these details will make it clear how much even a few weeks of effort and dedication can accomplish.
Make It a Habit
One reason many people can’t follow through on their fitness goals is that they don’t make it a part of their daily routine. When something isn’t a habit, it’s incredibly easy to forget or make excuses for skipping. To truly make fitness a part of one’s lifestyle, it needs to become automatic.
Set Specific Goals
Thomas Cothren of Maryland says that when trying to lose weight, it isn’t enough to say, “I want to lose weight.” This is a good start, but it isn’t really a specific goal.
By using details and being specific, such as losing 1 pound per week or losing 5 inches around the waist, will be more successful, as these are concrete goals to work toward. If the main goal is to be more active, set a goal for the number of days per week or minutes per day – something objective and defined.
Do It with a Friend
Many people struggle to stay motivated when they work alone. One of the best ways to stick with fitness goals in the long run is to exercise with a friend. Whether that’s going to the gym together or tracking each other’s progress on an app, having someone else involved will certainly improve accountability and increase motivation to keep going.
Keep It Positive
Perhaps most importantly, the best way to stick with a fitness resolution is to stay positive. There will undoubtedly be bumps in the road, but it’s important to focus on what’s working and what has already been accomplished, rather than letting a small slip destroy confidence and motivation.