Being in the fitness industry at the start of the new year is always a fun time. Waves of new people are flocking to the gym. These people are a mix of motivated, excited, nervous, and overwhelmed. So hopefully, if you fall into the category above this post can help you stick to your resolution for more than a couple weeks.
We all have this beautiful picture in our brains that the next year is going to be so much different, we are going to take control of our lives, drop those 20 pounds, eat super “clean” (whatever that means) and all of a sudden look like the person on the cover of (insert your favorite fitness or trashy magazine here). Well, hate to break it to you, but life is still going to happen in 2016. The kids will get sick, you’ll have to bring 3 kids to 5 different places, there will be deadlines for work, you will have to travel for work, pizza will still taste good, and that beer at the end of the day is still going to be refreshing. But not to worry! You can still hit all of your goals even with all the curve balls that life throws at you.
Below I will try to get you to think about making your resolutions a little bit differently this year, and with some hard work, mental toughness, and some sweat, we can get where we want to be!
- Behavior over Outcome– This might be the hardest thing for most people, especially because we live in a world where everything is outcome orientated. The end result is more important than the process. Well I’m here to tell you that it is the opposite. If we can get you to focus on the process of things, rather than the final outcome, we will have a better success rate.
Typical Resolution: I’m going to lose 20 pounds, 15 inches, and eat nothing but kale smoothies.
Realistic Resolution: I’m going to go to the gym at least 3 times per week with a full body resistance work out, prep my food for the week, and start keeping a food journal.
The first resolution is what most people will tell themselves at the start of the new year, and don’t get me wrong, I love the confidence and motivation, but I guess you could call me a realist, or a Debbie Downer, but I see the person who makes that first resolution fizzling out after 2 weeks. The second resolution is more realistic, and it is behavior orientated, not outcome orientated.
If we can change the behaviors that are stopping you from getting you to your goals, we get you to your goals.
Say this: I’m going to get at least 3 hours of exercise per week.
Not that: I’m going lose 30 pounds.
2. Change one thing per month- One of my favorite lessons I learned going through the Precision Nutrition Level 1 program (if you haven’t heard about PN, do so.) was the lesson about success rates when trying to change/introduce a new behavior into the mix. Now I am paraphrasing, but you will get the gist, if we try and change one thing in a month, we have about an 80% success rate, but if we try and change more than one thing per month our success rate drops to about 20%. That’s wild to me. So many times people are so ready that they totally flip their lives upside down because “that’s what they’re supposed to do”. Well I call bullshit. Fix one thing before trying to fix another thing. If you don’t drink enough water, that’s what you should work on first. Start drinking more water. Then next month, lets work on something else. So with that being said, lets dive deeper into goal setting.
3. Goals- There are different types of goals: long term, immediate, life style, work, financial goals, and the list could go on. But they all need to have the same characteristics. they need to be tangible, specific, measurable, time sensitive, written down, and talked about with the ones who are around you. Now all of your goals are different, and they have different motivation behind them… But they should be written down so you can hold yourself accountable, spoken about with your friends and family, time sensitive so that you can again hold yourself accountable, measurable so you can see if your plan is working, and tangible so that you can actually tell if you’re making progress.
Each goal can be broken down into smaller, more achievable goals. The smaller goals will get accomplished faster, which will give you more confidence to make more goals and crush them too.
A lot of small goals achieved = A massive goal achieved.
This goes back to the realistic and non-realistic resolutions… same mindset, lets make these goals process orientated.
Think of it this way… if I have 60 pounds that I should lose because my doctor says I am on the path of Type II Diabetes and my blood pressure is through the roof and I’m getting pressure from my significant other and I get tired playing with the kids after 10 minutes, it can be a pretty overwhelming situation. 60 is a big number and with all of that extra added stress, its even bigger. But you know what isn’t a big number… 3. The hours you want to spend exercising per week. Start crushing that goal consistently, and lets see what happens with the weight. Next goal, lets start meal prepping on Sundays (insert whatever day works for you), and lets crush that goal for a couple weeks, then lets keep adding onto those goals.
As you can see, those goals are measurable, time sensitive, and more importantly, process orientated.
4. Little progress is still progress- We live in a world that is looking for the fastest way to do anything. We have become lazy, entitled, and soft. But that’s left for another rant. But its another mentality shift that may be hard for a lot of people, especially those who are struggling with weight or health. There are shows that are on TV where people lose 150lbs in 9 months, and yes, it is amazing, but at what cost? If you were to look back at all the contestants, I’m sure there are more than a handful who are still overweight, and maybe even heavier.
A little bit of progress is still progress. It may take longer than more people are expecting, but hey, you didn’t get overweight overnight did you? So why do you expect to be a stick figure overnight? The longer it takes, the longer it stays. If we can consistently (insert your goal: lose weight, gain muscle, drop body fat) we will keep our achievements for a longer time. That is the trouble with big fad diets, cleanses, juice diets, etc, we drop a ton of weight, but the lifestyle isn’t consistent, so we roller-coaster right back up after we stop. These changes need to be a sustainable lifestyle change. But don’t get it twisted, a good nutritional program, or training program will have results. If you aren’t getting results, we either don’t have the right plan, or we aren’t adhering to the plan as well as we need to be. Adherence is the hardest part, but it is the most important thing. Consistency is king.
5. Support Network- Lets look at the extreme end of this: if one of your family members was an addict, and only hung out with other addicts, for them to overcome their addiction, they must change their surroundings. I think we all agree about that. So lets use this analogy, and put it into the nutritional and fitness world… if your friends and family drink soda, eat McDonald’s 3 times a day, and their idea of fitness is Wii Boxing, we have a problem. You will never get to your goals if you are surrounded by people who don’t have the same mindset as you. Now am I saying to ditch all your friends and family who don’t go to the gym? No. But what I am saying is that lets reevaluate how important your goals are, and how much time you are spending with people who aren’t supporting you in your goals. And who knows, maybe you can be the one that helps them change their lives as well.
Having a gym buddy is a great way to stay accountable. Letting yourself down is easy, we can always make an excuse for ourselves not to do something, but when you make plans to go to the gym with somebody, you aren’t letting just yourself down anymore, you are letting someone else down. And that is harder to do. Another great way to stay more accountable is to sign up for classes, or sessions with a trainer. Group fitness is shown to get better results. Everybody has that competitive nature, and the community aspect is great. And guess what, there is your new support network with like-minded people.
Anyway you slice it, the New Year brings a bunch of motivation, which is awesome. But lets use our brains a little bit more, and have a rock solid game plan for the year so that you aren’t in the population that starts going to the gym in January and stops by March.
If you would like help on creating your plan, or finding somebody in your area to do so, please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org.