It’s the last week of December. You’ve spent the last two months indulging in Halloween candy, Thanksgiving leftovers, and holiday treats. You commit to starting your healthy new life on January 1. By January 15, you’ve abandoned your routine. When March 1 rolls around, you start working out to get ready for summer. By May, you’re frustrated that you’ve abandoned your “beach body” plan. And since there’s no media blitz promoting “fall bodies,” you wait until December to start dreaming of January again.
It’s time to stop this cycle. Now is the time to reboot your fitness routine.
Most wellness programming, whether it’s for diet or exercise, follows a similar formula: there is a goal coupled with a distinct time period in which you are challenged to achieve it. “Try this 14-day cleanse!” “Complete 30 classes in 30 days!”
Wellness challenges can be great, but there are two frequent, unintended consequences of this style of programming. On one hand, participants realize they’re not going to meet the goal, so they stop before the time period is up. On the other, participants finish the challenge, then revert to their old habits, wiping out their progress.
When it comes to wellness, you should be rebooting your routine every day. Yes, every day. And you don’t have to set particularly lofty goals. A reasonable daily routine can be as simple as “eat vegetables, limit sugar, make time for intentional movement.”
With a daily restart, there’s no excuse for a cooling period. Most people who fail on a 30-day challenge, for example, won’t try again until the next 30-day period. In other words, if you eat a cookie 15 days into a no-sugar diet, you might not try again for another two weeks. With a daily reset, by contrast, every day starts a new period of accountability. Maybe you made poor decisions yesterday. Push that out of your mind because today is a new day!
As for those stretch goals and 30-day plans? There’s nothing wrong with layering your goals. To think about it another way, it’s okay to say you want to floss every day to reduce your screen time before bed. Both are good for your health. In the same way, you can set a goal to move at least 30 minutes every day to complete a 30-day workout challenge.
Once you establish a daily reboot routine, try approaching your goals from both a short term and long term perspective. At the end of each day, evaluate whether you stayed on track. For long-term comparisons, start a weekly, monthly, or annual tracking chart.
Regardless of how you approach rebooting your fitness routine, set attainable goals for yourself. If you haven’t exercised in a month, it's unlikely to feel good if you run every day for the next 30 days. If you’re juggling work and family obligations, committing to a 5 am outdoor bootcamp may not be the best path. Consider an effective at-home alternative like daily TRX Live classes that easily fit into your schedule. (Don’t worry, TRX has recovery classes for your rest days.)
There are tons of obstacles that can stop you from meeting your wellness goals: time constraints, geographic limitations, work obligations, and public health crises, just to name a few. By starting small and simple with a routine you can complete at home, you can create positive, lifelong habits. It’s okay if you occasionally slip up. By rebooting your fitness routine daily, there’s always a fresh start ahead.