Maybe because it’s frigid in Boston, and every single cell of my body went numb (including my brain), or maybe because it’s a New Year, I’d like to ask your forgiveness. You know those fitness folks that say things like, “Fuck resolutions,” or, “You’re not a resolution,” or, “Why wait until January 1st? If you’re serious about your goals, you don’t wait. You start now.” Blah blah blah. You know who I’m talking about? Yeah, I used to be one of them. I was an immature, egocentric biatch. I apologize.
My goal is to help you find success in the gym and the fitness world alike. And if New Year is the time you’re finally ready to kick things off, so be it. I’m here to help you! To make sure you don’t abandon your New Year’s Resolutions and instead become one of the 8% people who maintain their resolutions, I’ve got five must-do tips to start things off right.
#1. One by one / everything at once.
Let’s say you really want to lose weight, one of the top resolutions. You know you need to start going to the gym, cooking at home, counting calories, and stop drinking. On top of that, you’ve got Sober January going on, and no spend-nuary as well. Oh, and you absolutely have to become the most organized person in the world.
The first two weeks of the month you’re doin’ good. You’re eating well, not spending money, not drinking, and you didn’t spend a dime so far. The third week is a little rough; it’s hard to keep up with cooking. You found yourself missing a day or two of counting, and you already skipped the gym twice because you didn’t plan ahead.
By the end of February, you find yourself not feeling like it anymore.
Been there. Done that. But let’s make this year different. Let’s make the resolution stick this year. Let’s finally lose the fat, get stronger, and lift all the weights. Would you like that?
Then I have an offer for you. (Nope, it’s not an #ad): I’d like to allow you to focus on ONE thing at a time.
Let’s say you focus on coming to the gym three times a week for the entire month of January. To make this happen, you’d need to know your schedule. To increase the likelihood of this agenda even happening, you’d schedule your sessions on your iPhone calendar. When you do, not only do you increase your chances of going to the gym, but you also improve your organizational skills a bit.
Solution: Focus on one thing at a time.
#2. Begin from where you are, not all over again.
This is a mistake that I see many people make. When you start “over,” you’re really just trying a bunch of random tactics you found on Google, hoping to make them work for you.
Let’s say you know you don’t drink enough water. You tell yourself, “I need to drink more.” You ask Dr. Google how much is a good amount, and it gives you eight glasses. You cringe a little at the number, but give it a try. Two days later you’re back to square one.
Why does this keep happening? It’s not like you’re not trying. You genuinely are. But you’re trying to jump over the ocean without really learning how to jump properly over a puddle first. And when you jump over a puddle, your brain first assesses its size, doesn’t it?
Instead of jumping and drowning, stop and assess where you are (the puddle). Find one small thing you can, without a doubt, do to make your situation better, and only then attempt to jump over a bigger puddle.
Let’s get back to drinking water. How much water are you currently drinking? A bottle? Can you make it two, or a bottle and a half? Sweet. Let’s focus on that until you drink this amount without even thinking. Then add some more and more, until you’re at the desired number of bottles/ounces each day.
This is one of the things I do when I start working with a new client. She and I look at her current habits. We look at where she wants to be. And then we look at things we can improve to help her achieve her goal.
Not only do you not feel overwhelmed, but also, tackling these little things, one by one, also helps your brain to find the changes rewarding and keep you going.
Solution: Before attempting to jump over the ocean, assess the closest puddle of water and master jumping over that.
#3. Don’t start a new diet.
If you like burgers, why do you force yourself to eat like a rabbit – salads and all? I mean, I’m all for salads, and I actually like them. But if just the sight of kale makes you want to vomit, why do you try to force it on yourself? You’re setting yourself up for failure right off the bat.
Instead, make small improvements to your current diet. Let’s take the burger. Instead of completely changing the habit of eating a burger by replacing it with a salad, keep the burger, but make it healthier and fat-loss friendly.
You can swap the patty, cheese, and bun. Next time you grocery shop, you can buy 90/10 lean burger patties, low-fat cheese, and reduced-calorie buns. You can also go as far as buying condiments with less sugar. Just these substitutions can save you extra calories and keep you in the fitness game longer.
Solution: Assess your current diet, and make smaller, healthier improvements to existing nutritional habits.
#4. Be gentle with yourself.
This New Year’s Eve I spent with friends. One of the couples had a five-month-old baby. She’s an adorable little thing. When I spend time with babies, I observe one thing over and over again: we adults are extremely patient with babies.
No one calls them idiots because they can’t talk or walk for the first year of their life. At times, we’d call them silly, but that’s all. We realize that a baby is still learning and it has ways to go.
When you’re changing your habits, trying to go to the gym, eat healthy, not spend much, and get organized, you are (in a sense) a baby. You’re learning new skills, things you’ve never done before.
If things go south, don’t call yourself an idiot and quit. Just smile and say, ”You silly, let’s try one more time.”
Solution: When you change a habit or try something new, always think about babies.
#5. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
When I played sports in my teenage years, our team would have to run long distances together as part of our training. I’d always be the first one to go ahead and leave the crowd, only to run out of steam halfway, and then had to work extra hard not to finish last.
I’m a natural sprinter. I sprint both on track and in life. And it takes me a tremendous amount of effort to slow the shit down. When I try new things, I sprint. I dive in deep and try to do everything at once, to be faster, better, to make sure I’d be the best… only to run out of steam in a month or so.
And even if you’re not the sprinter, sprinting is contagious. You see people losing weight, gaining strength, getting toned, lifting more weight than you are, faster than you are. So you don’t want to miss out. You too want to get there, as fast as possible. But be careful; don’t run out of steam.
Solution: Remember, it took you years to get the body you have right now. Please don’t expect the EXTREME changes to happen in 28 days.
And the last one, which isn’t really a bullet-worthy tip, but still worth mentioning, is to give yourself a WHOLE year. Not just one month, or until the summer. Take a before picture in January, and take one every month, so in December 2018 you can take your 12th picture and see the progress you have made.
If you think this info can help you reach your fitness goals, share it with a friend too!