By Lisa Niren, Head Coach at Peloton Cycle
Spring is officially upon us, and warm weather is tantalizingly close. After the long winter we endured (that seemed at times to be never ending), everyone seems thankful to see the days get longer, and more hours of natural sunlight. Spring is a season of renewal, change, and rebirth. As buds become leaves and flowers, and healing rain washes the city streets, it is a perfect time to get outdoors. It is also the perfect time — with 3 months of the year squarely behind us — to reflect on those New Year’s resolutions we made, and pick up the slack if we’re falling behind, or maintain resolve and make 2015 a true year of positive, lasting change.
I must admit I've never been a fan of New Year’s resolutions. They seem so “final,” and I could never find one thing to really hone in on. It seems like so much pressure — How can I pick just one way to try to improve over 365 days, isn’t that selling myself short? Or, if I pick multiple resolutions, am I setting myself up for failure, a self-fulfilling prophecy, if you will?
Another reason I skip the New Year’s resolutions: It is an excuse to put off positive change until the New Year. Why can’t positive change occur at any time? While it may seem smart to have a memorable starting point, a real sustainable change will make the start of it memorable, no matter when it is. If you are truly devoted to your new resolutions, don’t wait until the New Year. I share this mentality with my classes often, in particular on Sundays in an hour ride I teach. I use this time to tell everyone to reset, to establish goals and resolve for the coming week, month, season, and to really use the time to revise anything you are working toward. There is never a wrong time to do this. Once a year truly seems not often enough.
As the first quarter of 2015 comes to a close, losing steam a few months into New Year’s resolutions is perfectly natural. Even if you’ve fallen completely off the wagon, there’s no reason why you can’t get right back on, or switch gears entirely and focus on some other type of change or resolve for the season. Spring is the perfect time to re-assess goals, as the natural uplifting change in weather provides motivation and inspiration. The lure of summer will also help to spur you on if your goals happen to involve physical self-improvement, like getting fit.
Don’t despair: The key to success with New Year’s resolutions — and all goals, whether fitness and health related or not, isn’t perfection; the key is persistently adjusting your strategy.
To get resolutions back on track this spring, take action and be proactive:
1. Simplify. Don’t over complicate. Don’t overthink it.
Elaborate goal-making can be counter-productive. If you have fifteen goals to achieve this year, you’re likely to give up on the majority of them and complete the rest on a subpar level. Now is the perfect time to reassess your resolutions and simplify your ambitions. Chose one or two goals to focus/hone in on, and you’ll find it much easier to keep up.
2. Define. If you are vague about your goals, you’ll be vague about reaching them.
Redefine your resolution and be specific; then, break it down into monthly, weekly, or daily goals. Make sure you start where you’re at, not where you want to be. You will get there, but it takes time.
3. Mark a date. Set reasonable milestones and benchmarks for your resolutions.
An obvious end date is December 31st, but even three months into 2015, that’s still nine months away — and such a long deadline can lead to procrastination. Take action, start now. Set a reasonable deadline for your goal. If December 31 is still a reasonable goal, set smaller checkpoints along the way over the next nine months, either monthly, quarterly, or more frequently to hold yourself accountable.
4. Be accountable, tell everyone.
Tell your friends, family, work colleagues, neighbors, and anyone else you interact with daily of your intentions. The moral support will encourage and motivate you, while the responsibility of staying true to your word will inspire you. Ask a trusted friend to encouragingly nag and prod you to ensure you are keeping up with your goal. If they're attempting something similar, you can do the same in return.
5. Persevere. Keep at it.
Falling off the wagon isn't an excuse to quit; it's an invitation to get back on. Even if you've eaten junk food all week, skipped your most recent class, or ignored the neon gym signs in favor of the TV, it's not over. Every single day is a fresh start — an opportunity to wipe the slate clean from the day before, and resume your resolution and get back on track. If you begin to doubt, simply remind yourself of why you set the goal in the first place, to inspire you into action.
Bottom line, start your changes now, instead of putting them off again until the New Year. Get cracking. Don’t revel in your bad habits for another day, they won’t serve you. Make your life about constant improvement. I look at January 1st as just an arbitrary day when dreams are renewed and resolve has power. Why can’t Spring be just as much a catalyst? Use that momentum to do something. Do something different, do something scary, and most of all - make it EPIC.
Lisa Niren works at Peloton Cycle as a Head Coach, with a wealth of experience teaching indoor cycling. A lifelong athlete, her love for cycling began outdoors in the rolling hills of Western Pennsylvania, where she and her family often went mountain biking. However, it wasn't until she moved to New York City to attend college at NYU's Leonard N. Stern School of Business that she became hooked on indoor cycling, with a passion that quickly led her to the instructor podium.
After college, Lisa worked as a CPA consultant, and indoor cycling quickly became her "safe haven" after a grueling workday. Lisa began teaching part-time, but soon made the transition to teaching full time at Flywheel Sports, and now Peloton Cycle. Lisa's classes are a high energy, calorie burning experience that challenges her riders physically, and inspires them mentally and emotionally. Lisa sees each ride as an opportunity to rise above any obstacle, and believes that going beyond the limits in class allows you to go beyond the limits in everyday life. When not on a bike, Lisa enjoys wandering around the city and exploring new neighborhoods and restaurants, weight & functional training, taking barre and boot camp classes, cheering on her beloved Pittsburgh Steelers, and cooking gourmet gluten-free meals.