Soon enough, the year will wind down and the holidays will have come and gone. Before we know it, we'll be back at work and settling into our normal post-New Year's routine. And hopefully, we'll have had time to reflect, eat and drink a bit too much, and maybe even in some extreme cases, get off the couch. But then—like the ultimate version of the Sunday Scaries—we'll be forced to look in the mirror and vow to make an improvement.
Enter: The good ol' New Year's Resolution tradition. It's long since marked the (somewhat) unfounded date we should "turn it around" and improve something as we open up a fresh calendar. For most of us the objective is similar. This is the year to get back in shape, get healthy, run a (insert whatever K-race you regret signing up for), etc. Of course, most resolutions don't last. But there is one thing you can do to boost your chances for success: start now. Here's why you don't want to wait until January.
Every year, Google searches for gyms spike in January, and membership purchases and foot traffic soar. Based on Gold's Gym check-in data, the jump in traffic increases about 40% nationwide. Your motivation to start a regular gym routine falls apart when the place is so packed that you barely have room to stretch your legs. So if you can't beat them... beat them there. The whole first quarter of the year is the busiest for the gym (imagine running outside in February), so jumping into a routine, meeting a trainer and getting a head start while everyone's out shopping and snacking in December gives you a substantial leg up. The results take the same time, so don't wait.
Takes 21 Days
Ok, it really doesn't. That number is a myth and becoming a morning gym person or finding a routine isn't set in stone after three weeks. But, if you're serious about getting back in the gym, start now and allow yourself the time to find a pace and schedule that works for you. Going hard three days a week in the gym might sound monumental tomorrow, but building toward that will make it far more achievable.
Find Your Routine
You wouldn't walk into an interview without some answers thought out, right? The stakes are lower for the gym, but the idea is the same. Know what you want to do before you go in; whether it's a new goal or new program that'll be guiding you. That helps keep you focused and on track. Plus, if you're joining a new gym there's bound to be a new machine or contraption you've never seen. Watch someone else give it a shot so you can feel confident tackling it before the crowds descend.
the Seasonal Slump
It might sound like a good idea to hold off until all the indulging is done to start your resolution. But typically, waiting until after the holiday hustle can make it even tougher to start. According to a Psychiatry study, about 20% of the US population suffers from either seasonal affective disorder or simply a drop in motivation due to the "winter blues." Waiting until after January 1, when much of the holiday excitement has died down, can make it even harder to stay motivated. Giving yourself a head start not only leaves you feeling accomplished, but science has proven that exercise sessions boost your mood and fight off those "bleh" feelings.
Treat your new exercise goal as your own fitness milestone and gift yourself something to stay motivated. If new running shoes gets you on a treadmill then buy yourself a pair to inspire greatness. If you're trying to lose 20 pounds, treat yourself to a new gym bag after you drop ten. Put yourself on your shopping list while there's still time. Because that feeling of actually, finally getting yourself in shape? That's worth every penny.