Australians vowing to transform from couch potatoes to elite athletes in 2024 have been warned they need to make their fitness goals achievable or risk disappointment.
Health and fitness ambitions are popular New Year’s resolutions, but they can be notoriously difficult to stick to.
Almost three-quarters of Australians make New Year’s resolutions, but only one in 10 stick to them until December, according to research from health and nutrition app MyFitnessPal.
Flinders University associate professor Ivanka Pritchard said it was important to set small goals, such as running a few times a week, to get that all-important sense of accomplishment early on.
The director of the university’s Embrace Impact Hub told AAP it can be used to build up smaller goals, such as specific running races or hiking trails, into larger overarching goals.
Psychologist, nutritionist and fitness expert Leanne Hall said the concept of New Year’s resolutions was outdated and “could actually do more harm than good”.
“The start of a new year is a great time to rethink our health and wellbeing, but setting goals that are too big and unsustainable can backfire and leave you feeling like a failure if you don’t stick to them. I feel like that,” Hall said.
She said humans are creatures of habit and incorporating healthy habits into daily life is the key to achieving greater goals.
Professor Pritchard also recommended taking a gentle approach to new routines and focusing on physical activity that people actually enjoy, to avoid injury and long-term setbacks.
“When people enjoy it, that’s one of the biggest motivations to keep going,” she said.
Sociable types may prefer activities that allow them to chat with friends, while others may enjoy alone time with solitary activities.
According to a resolution survey conducted by comparison website Finder, 39% plan to eat healthier, 36% vow to improve their fitness regime and 33% plan to lose weight this year. pledged.
Personal finance is also a key area of self-improvement, with 54% aiming to save more money by 2024.
Nearly 15% said they were looking to increase their income, and 13% said they were looking to build an emergency fund.