New Year’s Day is not the only time you can start a new fitness program. In fact, it might actually be the worst. According to US News and World Report 80% of New Year’s resolutions are toast by February.
So, if you didn’t begin a new fitness journey last month you probably did yourself a favor. You’re in a good place to take advantage of the BEST month of the year to start and eventually Win at Fitness.
Why February? Check out these 5 reasons:
February is Stripped of January’s Emotion
There is something magical about a brand new year. It’s a blank canvas on which to paint a New You. It feels so exciting. Until it so doesn’t. That usually happens about two weeks later when the emotional fuel is gone.
Goals that last are based on commitment and a deep motivation. I started my fitness journey ten years ago because my weight was starting to creep higher and my health was beginning to slip. There was no grand emotional buildup. I simply made a commitment to myself to turn both of those around. And I did.
The fitness advertising assault of January is designed to stir up unreal images and expectations. By February, that has quieted down allowing you to more clearly make a commitment based on your true motivations and not simply your emotions. Your foundation for long-term success is now MUCH higher.
February is a Quiet Month
The calendar in February is not as busy. The schedule is easier to navigate. This allows you a little more runway to get started and establish a new fitness habit. Overcommitment can be a fitness killer. It saps your energy. But, not in February. It’s just quieter.
The real goal in the early months of a new fitness journey is establishing the habit. The focus should not be how much weight you’re losing or how many calories you’re burning. The goal at the beginning should simply be making fitness a daily habit. That’s so much easier to do when the calendar is free of extra commitment. It doesn’t get mush freer than February.
February is Harder
The weather in February can be challenging. It’s cold, gray and snowy. It’s an invitation to sit more and move less. And, that makes it a perfect month to get started.
If you’re like most of us, this isn’t the first time you have tried to Win at Fitness. This can actually be the hardest part of starting a new fitness journey and staying with it. Every time it gets hard you’re reminded of how many times you’ve failed.
What you need…what we all need…is a history of pushing through when it’s difficult…when the circumstances aren’t easy. Starting in February gives you a great opportunity to reprogram that voice in your head. Every day you reach your goal, when the weather is begging you to do just the opposite, is a BIG win.
Your Body and Your Emotions Will Thank You
February is a tough month to stay physically and emotionally healthy. Viruses are going around and it can also be a depressing month because of the short, gray and cold days.
Any kind of physical activity in February is a real benefit. Experts recommend exercise as a way to help build your immune system. While they haven’t discovered a direct link between the two, a healthy lifestyle is one of the best things you control to keep your immune system strong.
Physical activity is also a huge help in battling the winter doldrums. Again, research has not established a direct link between the two, but most experts recommend a good workout if you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder.
I am melancholy in the winter. If I didn’t have a daily goal of reaching 20,000 steps a day I shudder to think how much worse I would feel. This target is both a distraction from the sadness of winter and a boost to my emotions because of how much I’m moving.
February Gives You a Head Start on Summer Fitness
Warm weather is when we can really feel our lack of fitness. But, once summer is here it’s too late to begin a fitness journey that will have any measurable impact before the temps start to cool down again.
Starting in February gives you a five month ramp up before summer arrives. Imagine how far along you’ll be when it really starts to matter to you! Once summer is here you’ll be thanking your February self for making that commitment to fitness.
How to Use February to Win at Fitness
Ultimately, the biggest factor between fitness success and fitness failure isn’t when you start, but how you start. Way too often we want to start BIG. We’re ready to make a change and we want it NOW. Sadly, that’s not how fitness works. When that reality bumps up against our huge expectations we lose interest and give up.
Thankfully, there is a way start that helps prevent another fitness failure.
The goal in the beginning is to establish the habit. You want a target that is challenging, but not overwhelming. This is hard to do when you want transformation NOW. The best gift you can give yourself is to start small. I recently wrote an article with specific advice about how to choose the right daily step target that will set you up for long term success. You can read that HERE.
This is the second component of starting your fitness journey in a manner that gives you the best opportunity for success. Fitness is not a short term project. The finish line is not reaching a number on the scale or the having that annual physical finally pointing in the right direction.
The finish line is much further away. Having the right “time” perspective is an important part of fighting through those early months of what will feel like very little gains. I also wrote an article that will help you adjust your “time” expectations. You can read that HERE.
If you didn’t start a new fitness journey on January 1…or you did, and it’s already off-track there’s good news for you…
February really is the perfect month to get started. It’s not too late.
Do you want to Win at Fitness? It’s not easy, but it is possible! Goal 20,000 Steps can help with articles that will inspire and guide you to success. If you click the FOLLOW button (below on your phone…to the right and above if you’re on a computer) you’ll get each article sent right to you the moment it is published.
You really can Win at Fitness! We’ll help you get there One Step at a Time.