health

Sam Wood shares the biggest mistakes we make with New Year's resolutions.

Christmas is over, New Year’s Eve is done, and all that remains is a cute little paunch that tells us we did the festive season right… and the vague memory of some new year’s resolutions uttered in the early hours of 2017.

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably already well into breaking whatever it was you told your friends you were going to achieve this year and are reaching for the second bag of corn chips, because #newyearnewyou.

But according to reality TV star and fitness guru Sam Wood, achieving your resolutions, staying on track and making it through the year is actually easier than we’ve previously been led to believe.

sam wood 28 program
Sam, fiancee Snezana, and Eve. Source: Instagram.

Rather than giving up in the early weeks of January like 92 per cent of Australians currently do, Wood says these eight formulaic steps should help you get what you want out of 2017.

Don't start too early.

While most of us think resolutions should kick off on the first day of a new year, Wood says this can be one of the biggest mistakes people make, and one of the key reasons so many people fail in achieving their goals.

"There's no issue with the concept of resolutions. I just don't think people do it right," Wood says.

Rather than starting on a day you're likely to fail on, Wood says set a start date that you're really ready for and that allows you to settle back into your regular routine. "It's much harder to start again than it is to do it right the first time," he explains.

how to call in sick
Let your hangover subside before making any big commitments. Source: iStock.
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Be organised.

Like great hair, reaching your 2017 won't happen overnight, but it will happen. And being organised is one of the major components to getting you there.

"When starting out, being organised and putting some structure into place is really important," Wood says.

"You need to be ready by your start date, and that shouldn't be negotiable. Clean our your fridge and pantry, choose a program or get guidance on what you need to do to begin, set your overall goal and smaller milestones, and get organised."

A good offence is the best defence. Source: iStock.

Set a goal, but break it down. 

According to Wood, one of the biggest trip-ups people have when trying to get fit have is not planning out their goals properly.

"Don’t set a goal where there’s going to be no milestones or checkpoints along the way," he says.

"If your goal is to lose 20 kilos, break it down to losing two kilos a month or half a kilo a week. That way, you hit a milestone regularly and get a stronger momentum. The key is not to look too far ahead." (Post continues after gallery.)

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Don't go too hard too early. 

A goal doesn't have to be, and shouldn't always be weight-related, Wood says.  "Some people are more motivated by a weight result," he adds, which is okay, "so long as you’re not fixated by it."

But for those looking to challenge themselves in other ways, goals like competing in a fun-run, ocean swim, bike ride or triathlon can be great. Before you go signing up for a marathon, Wood says it's essential to not go too hard too early and write yourself off.

"If you've been sedentary for five years and then try to do a 20-kilometre run in February, chances are you either won't be able to achieve your goal when you want to, or you'll sustain an injury," he explains.

The better way of going about things is to space your training out, with the ultimate goal taking place later in the year. That way, you can work up to the goal, get in lots of practice and compete in shorter challenges beforehand. "The most important thing," Wood says, "is just to start."

sam wood 28 program
Taking things slow is okay. Source: iStock.

Reward yourself. 

Every now and then, it's important to take stock and realise the progress you're making, Wood says. And nothing gives you a pat on the back quite like a reward. Be it a new pair of sneakers, a massage, or a day off from training, doing something just for you is a good way to remind yourself that you're doing a good job.

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Importantly, though, Wood says you should "reward yourself in some way that’s not food related. If you’re fixated on rewarding yourself with food," he says, "the cycle of that often negative relationship between a person and food will never break."

sam wood 28 program
Treat yo self 2017. Source: iStock.

Don't dwell on the bad days. 

"Don’t dwell on the muffin you ate or the workout you missed. Accept that there are some days you’ll be motivated and some days you won’t," Wood says.

Tackling those particularly tough days can include finding a training buddy, joining a group, or simply looking back on the results you've already achieved to date.

"Results reinforce your behaviour," Wood says, "and over time you have less and less of those days and you start to realise that even your bad days are better than your good days used to be."

sam wood 28 program
Bad meals happen to good people. Source: iStock.
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Don't sit down. 

Flopping down on the couch when we get home from work is almost second nature, but it's also what's keeping us from achieving those new year goals.

"As soon as you sit down on the couch the likelihood of you going to work out goes down by 10 per cent every 10 minutes," Wood says.

So that sneaky little hour recharge you had planned, no matter how good it may feel, is essentially writing off your exercise for the day. Get home, get changed, get out. Then sit down at the end, ideally with a glass of wine in hand.

sam wood 28 program
Just because it feels good doesn't mean it's right. Source: iStock.

Work out why you're really doing this. 

Having seen his fair share of people embarking on fitness journeys over the years, Wood says that in the people who achieve the best long-term results, one thing is always the same.

"They have a really clear understanding of why they are doing what they're doing. Is it because of predisposition to a health condition, is it to be a better role model, is it to have a longer life?" Wood says.

"They always know, and when you strip away those short-term goals, there's still that why there for them, keeping them going,"

The next 28 by Sam Wood program begins on 9 January. Learn more about the program here

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