“Character is the ability to carry out a good resolution long after the excitement of the moment has passed.” -Cavett Robert
As the holidays approach, opportunities to overeat abound. There are holiday parties, family dinners, shopping trips that include decadent lunches in fancy restaurants, and trying new recipes (of which you must taste before serving to others!). In addition to excess food, daylight is scarce making it harder to find time to exercise. In an effort to counteract the season’s deleterious effects on our physiques, many people choose this time of year to embark upon a new workout routine.
For many this resolve comes in the form of a New Year’s resolution. In the haze of late night partying, friends and champagne, the idea of starting a new workout routine seems like the most amazing idea ever! In the heat of the moment you may opt for a resolution possibly because your friends are declaring their resolutions, or maybe there is a fun, local race that serves beer afterwards and you’d like to train for it, or perhaps you want to lose weight and a new workout is a great way to achieve that goal. All of these reasons seem like they are good enough to keep you going so you can stick to your resolution.
But then reality sets in -the champagne is no longer owing, your friends have gone home, and it’s cold outside. You have to go to work, and take care of your kids, and do your laundry, and it’s dark when you wake up in the morning and it’s dark when you come home at night. How can you possibly maintain the motivation to stick to your workout routine?
To ensure success at keeping your resolution, realize that it will not always be exciting. Adopting a new habit is difficult no matter what, but it can be even more difficult when there are so many barriers in place, especially in New England in the winter. So, you have to change your thinking to make sticking to your resolution more likely. For example, instead of thinking about how cold it is outside, think of the long term rewards of doing your run. Think of how good you’ll feel in the summer when you feel good in a bathing suit. Instead of thinking about the joy of hitting the snooze button yet one more time, think of how much energy you’ll have for the rest of the day if you do your workout in the morning you get the idea. Instead of thinking about how cold it is outside, consider the long-term rewards of sticking to your run versus the short-term rewards of whatever else you think you’d rather be doing.
Is your ability to stick to your New Year’s resolution truly a reflection of your character? Well, that might be a bit harsh, but don’t you think you’ll feel great if you stay “on pace” for the winter and you’re ready to hit the beach when it is finally over?
About the author: Kim Chula-Maguire, DPT, is a Physical Therapist at Performance Physical Therapy.