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New Year’s Goals? My Four Pillars of fitness resolution.

New Year's Resolutions

I love this time of year. A New Year offers an opportunity to review and reset, plan some goals and make a resolution to change something you think is important.

For me that always includes a fitness goal.  They usually revolve around weight.  Last years was to get to 85kg. I missed by 7-10kgs depending on what day it is! Another year it was to deadlift twice my bodyweight: I really needed to get below 85kg to have hit that one!

Even if I miss the goal, I usually go all-in on it, which can be a blessing and a curse.  I usually lock in to one thing and give it everything, but that means I neglect other areas.

For example, recently I spent two years really focusing on strength training. I got fairly strong but lost flexibility and cardiovascular fitness.  Then last year due to injury I rediscovered running but have not lifted a real weight in anger for over 12 months.

Recovering from shoulder surgery last year and then developing frozen shoulder, I’ve had to do more stretching exercise and it became very apparent that my overall flexibility has really gone backwards in my 40’s.  Doing things like getting up from the floor or bending and twisting are harder than they should be.

And finally, 2020 was a year that tested a lot of us mentally.  I really gained an appreciation for the need to take time out every day to celebrate what I’ve got to be really thankful for, what wins I’ve had and to reduce the amount of stress and overwhelm that had become my new “normal”.

So, to this year’s “resolutions”.  I’ve resolved to create some balance and work on more than one area that will improve my health and well-being.  I’ve split up my exercise for the year into four pillars that I need to work on:

  1. Strength,
  2. Cardiovascular,
  3. Mobility and
  4. Mental Fitness.

My only resolution is to devote some time every day for at least one of the four pillars.  No weight goal, no outcome to hit, no single obsession.  I’m going to enjoy challenging myself to be more balanced and have a healthier 2021.

For now here’s what that looks like:

  • I’ve found running 3 times a week for no more than about 12km at a time is manageable,
  • I’m doing Yoga at home using Yoga with Adriene on YouTube (better for everyone if I do this solo!)
  • I’ve started a 2 x week strength program which I can do in my lunch hour using our gym at work (and helps my shoulder get stronger)
  • Doing mindfulness meditation and gratitude work using an App like The Resilience Project, Buddhify or Calm

Whatever your New Year’s resolutions, one book I read during 2020 that I found really valuable when it comes to changing habits and behaviours is Atomic Habits by James Clear. Highly recommended reading with lots of practical tips that will come in handy of your resolutions are slipping already!

Matt McEwan