It's no secret that most people's fitness resolutions don't last. How to make them more fun? Find something that's actually important to you, then find a way to use exercise to achieve it.
Did you know the most popular New Year's resolution is some combination of lose weight and/or get in shape? And did you know that only 9% of resolutions are still going strong by the end of each year? Sad, huh? Well, here's a simple tip to help make your fitness resolutions easier to stick to… ready?
Don't make your resolution the thing you do. Make your resolution the reason for doing it.
Here are some examples:
Instead of, "I'll go for a jog every day," give yourself a good reason to be out there. Jog through a senior living community and keep an eye out for residents needing help or anything that looks suspicious. Or, if you can go in the mornings or afternoons, jog near a school and you'll become a familiar adult presence to discourage bullying or other misbehavior.
Have friends who are busy parents? Offer to take their kid on a walk or to the park to play basketball to give the grown-ups some time to themselves. Single working parents may especially need a few quiet minutes in the evening to decompress. Plus, the time you spend with the child will give them another positive adult they can trust and learn something from, and you can never have too many of those.
If strength training is your goal, don't just say, "I'm going to bench press 70 lbs. this year." Instead, work to be able to carry a pet, child, or other loved one out of a dangerous situation should they become ill or incapacitated. That will require both muscle and cardio fitness, and is a more practical and motivating application than just looking at yourself in the mirror!
The secret behind all these is that, when an activity is tied to your values and who you are as a person (or who you want to be), it's easier to make that activity part of your life. Think about it -- if exercise for the sake of exercise was important to you, you would've been doing it already. Find something that's actually important to you, that makes you feel great about yourself, and then find a way to use exercise to achieve it.
Some other unique ideas for making exercise not something you do, but part of doing life:
Take all your outgoing mail to the post office or collection box yourself (walk, jog, bike, rollerblade, etc.) rather than putting it in your own box and putting the flag up. If the postal carriers can deliver mail all day, all year, in any weather, you can do this.
Tell yourself that you won't eat your favorite foods unless you get them by riding your bike (or walk, etc.) to the store and buying only one thing at a time. Want potato chips? Go for a bike ride and buy only the smallest bag. Ice cream? Bike, single scoop only. Now if your reluctance to get on your bike is greater than your cravings, you may need to up the ante, but you get the idea.
Start a blog about your journeys around town and include new interesting photos or videos in each post. You'd be amazed how many people will let you take their picture for a blog post, and you might even be able to make money selling your high quality photos to a local newspaper or as prints.
Do market research for a home services business. How many people in your neighborhood are slow to rake leaves in the fall or shovel snow in the winter? Who does lots of landscaping, and who can barely keep their grass mowed? Whose gutters are drooping and porches need painting? And what friendly neighbor do they see walking by all the time who can help or recommend someone? You… naturally motivated and fit you.