Data released by fitness tracker company Strava shows that today, Jan. 17, is the date when Americans are most likely to give up on their fitness-related New Year’s resolutions.
Strava analysts used an algorithm to look for changes in patterns in the number of daily athletic activities uploaded to the app (625 million activities were uploaded in 2018) when compared to expected averages for each day of the week. This date showed the biggest drop-off, indicating the first wavering of people’s new year commitment to exercise.
While Strava’s “Quitter’s Day” is mostly a light-hearted publicity campaign, it’s also a great reminder that it’s important to have a solid system in place to make sure you stay motivated (and healthy) all year long.
Don’t Be a Quitter
Here is some of our favorite advice for setting yourself up for success in 2019 and beyond.
- Set goals the right way. Triathletes can do a better job of defining success. Goal-setting experts tell us we need to set “SMART” goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound). While this is generally excellent advice, most triathletes sadly choose to view these guidelines through the prism of outcome-based goals, instead of embracing the far more fulfilling process-oriented goals.
- Get a race on the calendar. Nothing helps with motivation more than the realization that your next race is only X number of weeks away. Plot your A, B, and C races and then build your training plan around them. Next, look at what you can start working on now before you dive into the heavy duty structured training this spring.
- Keep your indoor workouts interesting. With the temperatures still so low around the U.S., it can be tough to find the motivation to train indoors. Set your pre-season goals, give yourself an environment that will inspire you, let yourself zone out on your favorite show, and then make sure you have a workout that will keep you engaged. More advice here.
- Go back to your why. When your motivation starts to lag, remind yourself why you do (or want to do) triathlons. There are so many reasons: to feel better, to show your kids that hard work pays off, to relieve stress, to have a better lifestyle (not resolutions) and heck, maybe to look better in your swimsuit. Regardless of what your “why” is, figure it out. When you look at that clock at 4:40 a.m. and it is cold, dark, and miserable out, you must know the reason why you get up.
- Listen to your body. While all athletes have moments where they struggle with motivation, we (especially triathletes) can tend to go too far the other way and do too much, too fast. That can lead to injury or burnout—both of which are terrible momentum killers. Remember that rest days are just as important as your key workouts.