Make fitness plans, not resolutions

Forget New Year resolutions. They don’t work. But getting out and moving works wonders


Q Help me, Grit Doctor. It is that time of the year when I am about to make all the same resolutions as last year. Again. Feeling depressed at the thought of it. How can I make myself succeed this time?
PS. I am also a fat bitch.

Maggie M

A First things first: New Year’s resolutions are a total waste of your time. They are not the Grit Doctor’s Way. Resolve instead never to make them again – the prospect of which ought to invigorate you no end.

And no, this does not mean invigorate yourself into cracking open another box of Quality Street and disappearing into the sofa. There is a much more effective way of actually achieving your goals, and it goes like this:

Once you have decided on what your goal is (so let’s call your goal: “Fat Bitch No More”), commit to doing something today towards that end goal, and get it done no matter what.

So, in your case, commit to getting outdoors for 10 minutes and going for a fast walk. And do it now. Commit tomorrow perhaps to eating an apple instead of a mince pie or whatever else it is and stick with it. Get outdoors for 10 minutes and move that ass.

Simple, doable

You get my drift: Short, simple, doable activities that take you one small step closer to your goal.

So the standard New Year’s resolution of “get fit” once “grit doctored” becomes “Get outdoors for 10 minutes today and move my fat ass till I’m out of breath.” Job done.

Everyone has 10 minutes to spare, and 10 minutes of activity – actually done – is much easier to nurse into 15 and then 20 minutes, so you will be raring to run your four-mile circuit in no time at all.

For the more motivated newbie (into whose camp Maggie, I am hoping you fall), begin with Step One of the programme in Run, Fat Bitch, Run and build up from there. The key is to identify your achievable starting point today, and nail it.

Give yourself a much better chance of succeeding by having an accountability plan to back up your course of daily action: ie, you decide the length of time you are committing to your walk/run that day, and then voice it to your partner (hubby/wife/
kid/flat mate/mum, whatever) getting them to be your grit doctor.

Make them make sure you do it or there will be consequences (they are really going to enjoy this role, possibly a little too much). Make sure you can role reverse and be their Grit Doctor in holding them to account in achieving their daily goal in any area that they are “resolving” to transform).

Brutal January
I expect January to be brutal on all fronts – work, weather, purse, diary. And so I take it on with the same attitude – a punchy one.

The one area that doesn’t challenge the purse however, improves work performance and enhances our enjoyment of life in general, whilst yielding massive benefits to both body and mind is, of course, exercise.

For me, this is why running into January is always the answer.

It takes the edge off the brutality, lifts my spirits and forces me into a positive mindset that I could never hope to adopt in the bleak mid-winter without running my way through it.

So in your case Maggie dear, it’s win win. Because, not only will running take you closer to your “Fat Bitch No More” goal, it makes the whole experience of winter infinitely more pleasurable.

I try to make January as fun-filled and exciting as possible in the vain hope that it will pass more quickly.

It never fails to amaze me how frantic we all get in December, spoilt for invitations, wafting from one party to the next in a haze of mulled wine and mince pies and wonder why we start the New Year a bit fatter and a bit worse off than before.

It’s not the turkey and the ham and the food over actual Christmas that is the problem, it’s the three weeks of bingeing leading up to it that do all the damage.

Why cram everything in to those few weeks leading up to Christmas?

Why not see some of those people and host some of those drinks parties in January, when we could all really do with a laugh?

Impossible resolutions
How to slow January down is, of course, to make loads of impossible resolutions.

Resolutions including trying to lose the 6lbs gained over the festive season by way of a starvation diet, and giving up alcohol (madness in January, which demands a degree of inebriation in order to be survived) while simultaneously committing to climbing Mount Kilimangaro and raising £10k in the spring.

Then failing on all fronts, and spending most of the month avoiding everyone and weeping into a pillow about how miserable life is.

The resolution antidote is a daily action and accountability plan.

Resolutions are always so big, so hard to quantify, and so difficult to sustain, but we can all achieve just one short burst of physical activity each day or take one action towards a long-term goal today – and see it through.

Day after day after day. Until the job is done. Which is, of course, when we are dead.

The Grit Doctor says:

Incentivise your life – daily. We fail because we always set goals out there “somewhere, someday” and call them resolutions.

Resolve instead Maggie to set yourself a walk/run goal today and meet it. Bang. 2014 here we come.

A new edition of Ruth Field’s best selling book, Run, Fat Bitch, Run, is being published on January 2nd and includes marathon and half-marathon training plans.

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