It is about time to ring in the New Year. With the closing of the year past, we naturally think back to where we were at this time last year. What happened over the past year? What are the events that we liked and what are those that we didn’t? Naturally, we want the next year to have more of those positive features, which leads many people to set New Year’s Resolutions.
Statistics show that 40% of people make New Year’s resolutions each year and 8% actually follow through. What is the most common resolution? You probably guessed it, losing weight. Did the full gym in January give it away? Sadly, by March, the gym is back to its normal occupancy. How do you become part of that 8% that makes it through and comes out the other side of their goal? Here are 10 Steps to reveal the secrets of those that make it through:
Be Fed Up
“Nothing happens until the pain of staying the same, outweighs the pain of change” – Arthur Burt
In order to make a real change and improve your fitness level, you have to want it. You have to want it from deep within yourself, more than you want your current state of comfort. Health is the foundation on which the house of life is built. Without it, you really cannot begin to build the life you desire. You will instinctively feel the dissatisfaction with your life, relationships, work and other areas, which can be a motivating force to make the change.
Identify the Problem
Once you know you want to start your fitness plan and you are emotionally charged, you need to find out where you are now fitness wise. What are your current fitness habits and where have they taken you? If you followed a successful fitness plan in 2013, what helped you be successful and what were the downfalls? If you struggled with your fitness plan in 2013, what behaviors caused you to fall off the bandwagon?
Be Honest and Curious
In order to be successful with your new plan, it is important to explore the behaviors that got you the wrong results. Make a list identify the specifics about how often you work out, what kind of workouts you do, how much you weigh and what your overall health is like now. Include any fitness measurements important to you.
Think outside the Box
Now, it is time to think about where you would like to be a year from now. What kind of shape do you want to be in? What kind of muscle tone would you like to have? How much do you want to weigh? What kind of endurance would you like to have? Would you like to be able to participate in a marathon, run 5 miles or bench press a set amount? Write down your goals with as many specifics as you can think of. Specifics are measurable. Vague ideas are not.
When a person says “I want to be healthy in 2014.” it can mean so many things. A person could rationalize that they ate an apple yesterday and that was healthy so, mission accomplished, despite that cheesecake they are eating now. Identity your specific goals and think about the new behaviors that will get you there.
Make a Concrete Plan
Now it is time for the plan! The plan must be as specific and measurable as the goals. Think honestly about an attainable and measurable fitness plan that will get you to the results you want. The key here is to get it out on paper and include as many details as possible. If you want to run 5 miles by July 1 and haven’t laced up a pair of running shoes in 6 years, you will have to pace yourself. It is possible. An example would be to get out a calendar and count the weeks until July 1st, what kind of progression of endurance would make sense for that period of time? You will need to consider other life commitments and how you will remain balanced in all areas of life. You also want to make sure that you are scheduled to make consistent progress. Make a fitness plan that is realistic to your goals and in the context of life.
Decide How to Measure Progress
How will you be sure you are staying on track? Once you have your plan, you need a way to track it. If you commit to 3 workouts per week, you need to take that commitment serious. You should be very aware if you miss a workout. It should compare to the feeling of being stood up on a date. Be mad at yourself. The commitment should be that serious, in order to reach your goal. Besides the awareness in your mind, physical record keeping is very helpful. Use an app on your smartphone, a calendar, notebook or anything you can to keep track of your goals versus your actions.
Build a Support System
Yes, you will feel bad if you do not stick to your concrete plan, but it also helps to have an accountability support outside of yourself. Once you have clarified your fitness plan, goals and tracking, share it with somebody you can trust. Ask that person if they will be honest with you and help you with milestones along the way. Just by creating that support system, you further solidify the fitness plan.
Look out for Downfalls
You know the downfalls you identified while honestly and curiously looking at your old behaviors? It is time to give those one more look. You should know what excuses and rationalizations you make to get out of your fitness commitments. Write each one down on paper so you can look out when they pop up. By knowing yourself, you can overcome any potential downfalls.
Then it is time to put the plan into action. You know what you want, you know how to get it and you have a way to track your progress. Now follow the plan you have made for yourself and look forward to the results you want.
There are few things more gratifying than reaching a milestone towards a goal you have set. In fitness, you may have missed some morning sleep, a few donuts or a television show, but all of that pales in comparison to seeing the physical results of staying committed to the plan you set for yourself. Be sure to set short term goals on your way to the long term goal, so you can be aware of the important steps you are successfully making and celebrate them.
With these 10 actionable tips, you can set yourself up to reach the fitness goals you have for 2014. Make it a year to truly achieve the things you want. No, it will not always be easy. Yes, sometimes you will have to do things you don’t want to, but it is all for your greater good and a better more fit you at the end of 2014.