2. Don’t promise that you’ll work out every day
On January 1, the gym morphs into a nightmare hellscape: machines are packed, there’s a line for the treadmills, classes are maxed out. Be patient: “Within 30 days the primitive brain balks and we’re back to holing up at home, plugging into technology and promising ourselves we’ll go to the gym next week or the week after,” Mellin says. By setting a lofty goal like “working out every day,” you don’t give your body enough time to adjust to that kind of physical shift. And it’s not just a matter of mustering up the motivation. For example: Some brain pathways encourage exercise when we’re in a good mood and engaging in activities we like, Mellin explains, which perpetuates your desire to work out. But if you’re stressed at work, annoyed by winter’s perpetual darkness, and pressured to sweat every day, then the emotional stress can curb your goals—even if you want to succeed. Be more realistic and gradually increase your frequency. “And if going to the gym doesn’t spark an emotional high, stick to something like playing tennis with a friend, joining a team, or training for a half-marathon,” she adds.
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