The secret to making your fitness goals stick this time

Fed up of starting a new fitness regime, only to quit before reaching your goals? Well here is a top tip…. try starting in September instead of January because September is the new January!

Don’t get us wrong there is a place for New Year’s resolutions, for many they are a great way to make positive improvements, but for some who continuously fail year after year, there may be some good reasons why they don’t last.

Well it’s January after all. It’s well known as one of the most depressing times of year; it’s cold, it’s dark, it’s long – you may be tight for money and you may be carrying extra weight after Christmas – all these things can make it harder for those trying to stick to new fitness resolutions, meaning you could be starting on the back foot.

This is the reason why September is quickly becoming the new January, with many people in the UK now realising that September is a great time to make positive changes and improvements.

More than half (59 per cent) of British adults polled* said they wanted to make positive changes to their lifestyle in September, while more than two-thirds (69 per cent) thought small improvements in September were much easier to achieve than making New Year's resolutions in January.

So, why not think about joining the 69% of people who know that making improvements in September can be better than a new year’s resolution.

Here are eight reasons why making fitness goals in September may mean them lasting:

1) it's a great time for a fresh start

If you think about it, although January is the start of our new calendar year, at school we were programmed that September is the start of a new year, and even if you haven’t been at school for years, there is scientific evidence that suggests that this remains hardwired into our subconscious.

Many of us can be guilty of looking for temporal markers – we all do it: diet starts on Monday or I’ll get fit in January, but now people are realising that September as actually another great time for a new start.

2) September shakes everyone back into routine 

Summer can be a time of disruption; kids off school, summer vacations, summer activities, weddings, festivals and a bank holiday etc.

Come September normal routine tends to resume and routine is one of the most important things when it comes to sticking to your goals because it means you can dedicate time to them with fewer distractions. 

One of the best ways to achieve fitness goals is to schedule them in to your diary on a regular basis which is easier when your routine is back to normal.

 

3) You feel great

 What summer lacks in routine it makes up for in feel good factor! 

You’re refreshed – the good weather (possibly even some sunshine!), the longer days and being outdoors more, summer is a time your body feels more refreshed and relaxed and it is easier to exercise when you feel good!

It is also much easier to stick to new things, especially if they require a bit of will power, when you feel good! It’s much easier to hit the gym, pool or that hiit class when you have that summer glow about you and you feel good.

Your willpower will be stronger in September when you feel better than it will be in January when you may feel a bit blue.

 

4) Use your summer momentum

Most people find themselves naturally more active in summer, as more time is spent outside, walking more, swimming more and perhaps you have been consciously exercising more over the summer already, dusting off your bike and hitting the road again, boot camps in the park, tennis with friends, couch to 5k, or kite flying with the kids.

Therefore committing to new fitness goals in September is easier as you already have momentum! Quick! Leverage this extra energy now and turn it into a habit before the nights draw in. Plus there are many activities you can do in the gym to support your new love of sport, cyclists, runners, and sports players can all enhance their performance by supporting their sport in the gym.

5) You’ve had time to reflect 

September is a really common month for people to make changes, whether that is a change of jobs, a house move or getting engaged and married.

This is because people tend to reflect more over the summer - summer holidays, breaks from work, long sunny evenings and weekends enjoying yourself, all naturally make you reflect on things you aren’t so happy with, and the same goes for health and fitness.

Embarking on a fitness regime shouldn’t be taken lightly and needs time and consideration to really cement your goals. Getting cracking in September after you have reflected about what you want to achieve and why will gear you up to go for it and prepare you better than doing so in January just because everyone else is.

6) It’s a great time to get ahead

Like we said at the beginning, the challenges that come with January (feeling a lack of motivation, being a bit skint after Christmas, carrying a few extra Christmas ponds and feeling a bit blue generally) all make starting a new fitness regime more difficult.  

September through to November is a great time to target new weight loss and a new exercise routine, not only will you look great at any festive parties, but you give yourself a chance of minimising the effects of eating more over the Christmas period and more chance of your goals sticking, setting a great foundations for January when you can continue with your aspirations along with everyone else.

7) You may have had an exercise sabbatical

In contrast to point 3, if you were a regular exerciser then the summer can actually naturally give you a few little breaks from exercise – you may be on holiday, at festivals or just chilling out in the garden while the sun shines, and after a break from something it’s a great time to start again with new goals and achievements in mind – make the most of the enthusiasm that comes with starting something to drive you to succeed.

Also, a break from any previous fitness regimes allows you to see things more clearly, perhaps you will realise what you did and didn’t miss doing and adapt your fitness regime accordingly, making it bigger and better!

8) It’s your second chance before year end 

Because many of us set New Year’s resolutions in January only to see them fall by the wayside we feel sad and demotivated for yet another year – but instead of waiting to try again in January, why not allow yourself a second chance? And as all the above suggests; September is the perfect second chance as it may actually be a lot easier to succeed in September than in January anyway!

September is the second busiest month of the year for us January still trumps it as people embark on the New Year fitness rush and this is great as it is a positive new start for many, but we are definitely seeing an increase in September joiners, as many join after the summer to keep up with newly found sporting interests such as running and cycling, enhanced activity levels or a re commitment to fitness. “Crucially we also see summer joiners staying longer than January joiners, so we are keen to spread the word and support people with making the lifestyle changes they desire.”

Ivan Horsfall-Turner, Managing Director Freedom Leisure

So if you're thinking of starting a new routine, fitness or otherwise, and committing to something hard (no one said making achieving fitness goals is easy) then go for it in September… September can really have powers to see people succeed!

*2016 poll of 2,000 British adults for the social media site Pinterest