Every damn year. It’s such a vicious cycle that I’m surprised that big pharmaceutical companies haven’t developed a chemical solution to the as-of-yet unnamed problem.
But rest assured, past failure is not as good an indicator of future results as you think. All you need is understanding and a bit of strategy. That’s what this is, so I’ll jump right into it…
1. Get Ahead
Don’t wait until December 31st. Make your resolution before that especially if you’ve broken them in years gone by.
It’s about disrupting destructive old cycles and creating constructive new ones.
2. Be Patient
It takes at least 3 weeks for a new hobby or activity to become a habit and 6 months for it to truly become part of your life. You’re in this for the long run(pun intended) and you better know it.
3. Be Realistic
You won’t lose 10lbs in the first week no matter how hard you go at it. If you are intent on setting goals, set ones that are achievable.
That being said, goals might not be all they’re made out to be and I’ll get to that discussion a bit later on.
Don’t reward yourself by breaking your resolution. Instead, grant yourself rewards that are in line with it. For example, if your goal is to build muscle and you have noticeable gains, buy yourself a new outfit that shows it off. Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.
Everybody reacts differently to change. If your initial approach is not going according to plan, switch it up. Reschedule your workout for a different time of day or shorten your sessions so that they’re not as taxing on your body.
6. Seek Expert Advice
You don’t need to hire an expensive personal trainer here. The web has mountains of authoritative advice and guidance on every conceivable exercise plan – most of it available for free.
If you do decide to go the pro trainer route, make sure you check his/her references and credentials and make doubly sure that you’re willing to trust them with something as important as your physical health.
7. The Psychology Of It
Realize right off the bat that wanting to change your physical appearance is akin to treating a symptom and that it might not be effective in addressing an underlying problem.
For example, admitting that, “I seriously lack self esteem” will go a long way in making sure that you know exactly why you’ve taken this resolution up in the first place and it’ll give you a better chance of keeping it.
Your actions up to this point reflect in a big way your own impression of yourself and what you believe about yourself. To affect meaningful, lasting change, will mean that you have to alter your own self image as a first step.
8. Be The Change
Goals are set to be missed. Or achieved. It’s a binary approach to a problem that’s far more nuanced than, “yes or no.”
But resolute change is something that regardless of goals, becomes a lifestyle – also something more complex and far-reaching than right or wrong, black or white, yes or no.
Your brain and your body knows this, and the more you overload them with a myriad of new challenges, the more likely you are to falter.
Rather than making an exhaustive list of imperative, life-altering changes, start small and start with one thing at a time.
1. Instead of, “I’m going to eat better” aim for, “I’m going to cook one healthy meal at home per week.”
2. Instead of, “I’m going to work out for 60 minutes per day” aim for, “I’m going to work out for 15 minutes every second day.”
3. Instead of, “I’m going to do a triathlon” aim for, “I’m going to bike, swim and run for 10 minutes each day.”
Specifics is what it’s about. The more pointed your goal is, “I’m going to exercise more” VS. “I’m going to run 10 minutes every day” the simpler it will be to hold yourself accountable.
9. Hold Yourself Accountable
I mean really. And stick to it.
Want to go see the new Star Wars?
You can’t unless you stick to one of those simple small goals you set. Or to all of them.
Couple this with #4 up there, and you have a nice balance that’s infinitely sustainable.
10. Don’t Count
A couple of approaches that go against most conventions…
1. Don’t count calories
2. Don’t get on the scale for the first 4 weeks
If you are intent on making the necessary identity and lifestyle changes, you won’t need to count because those results will come by themselves. Just because you can measure something, does not mean the changes are any more real. And it certainly does not mean that changes will come easier.
In the longer term however, that which can be measured can in all probability be improved but if you’re first starting out, getting into good habits takes precedent over fumbling around with a tape measure.
I look at fitness in much the same way that I look at business.
Goals matter, a lot, but you have to know how to pick them, how to go after them and the sneaky last piece that makes the puzzle whole, is that you have to know why.
Understanding why you’ve chosen this path to a healthy lifestyle is fundamental in not only achieving your short and long term goals, but maintaining that approach for the rest of your life.
All you’re left with then, is to go out and do it.