Diet and Nutrition

Changing for the better – Making New Years resolutions that stick

With the arrival of the New Year, many people are getting ready to introduce their fitness lifestyle to some new changes. Unfortunately, few people actually stick to their training resolutions.

As a rule this annual failure can be attributed to a few factors.

Failure to define one’s expectations
Failure to set up appropriate and reasonable time frames
Failure to properly evaluate their past programs

I’ve outlined a number of areas that, if worked on and adhered to, will ensure a successful approach to correcting these past mistakes .

Goal Setting Made Simple

Certain steps need to be implemented so that the changes you make are advantageous, and one of them is goal-setting. Below are 6 steps toward successfully achieving what you want to do.

Step 1

A goal must be in writing, otherwise it’s just out there floating around in mental space with all that other stuff. It might be a wish or a dream, but it’s certainly not a goal and, most likely, it’s not going to happen anytime soon.

Step 2

A goal must be specific and measurable.” I want to get into shape” just doesn’t cut it as a goal. It’s not specific enough. Wanting to run 3 miles in 30 minutes would be more along the lines of something tangible. In order for a goal to be specific it must be quantifiable so you can watch the stages in your progress.

Step 3

A goal must have some sort of personal meaning to it. To simply want to have a 6% body fat percentage by July 1st so you can turn some heads at the beach come summer, has no sort of real value. Now, if you said you wanted 6% body fat for your next competition, which takes place in July, then it would be part of your long-range objective to become a champion BB (bodybuilder). It has some value since you¹ll be rewarded above and beyond your ego.

Step 4

Is your goal challenging? If it isn’t, then when you achieve it, there’s a good chance it will be soon forgotten. Using the 6% BF example, if you’re already at 7% and your goal is to get down to 6% over 6 months, that’s not much of a challenge.

It’s better to aim for the stars and then fall on the mountain peaks! 

Step 5

Do you have a completion date? Usually it is time that creates the pressure to get a job done. If you¹re not sure, base your completion date on what you¹ve learned from past experience.

Step 6

You must be positive about the goal you’ve set out to accomplish.

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal– nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong attitude”Thomas J.

To get to where you want to go, set up more than one goal. Have a long-term target and then break it down into steps.

The most successful people are those who understand the power of chunking; who don’t bite off more than they can chew.” – Anthony Robbins

Someone once said to me, “How do you eat a elephant? One bite at a time.” No matter how large your objective, if you break your goals down into bite-size chunks they’ll lead to ultimate success. And your success, of course, will always depend on how consistent you are at doing your best to meet your goals.

Bad Habits

Everyone has them, and many of us have more bad habits then good ones. Coach Charles Staley of Integrated Sports Solutions says, ” Habits are consistent patterns that reveal our character and determine our effectiveness in life.” So how do we change our bad habits?

Anthony Robbins explains that bad habits should not be changed “until the negative consequences of those habits begin to outweigh the perceived benefit.” An example of this would be eating a bag of chips every night before going to bed. This is an enjoyable experience, which for a short period of time outweighs the negative outcome. However with time, the negative outcome will arrive in the form of body fat from those extra empty calories. Because of this experience, the chances of changing your habits are greater then before because of the profound effect it has on your body.

Taking action. Or as the Nike slogan says, “Just do it.” There is no better time than the present. No excuses–just change NOW! This is based on your decision to take action without thought. Remember, no one can make you change; the power to transform your body lies within.

However, taking action is not always a fail-proof strategy. So, to complement this move, you must now replace your bad habit with a good one. For example:

If you like to snack at night after dinner it could be because you are not eating breakfast. If this is the case then, eating a balanced breakfast, which includes some carbohydrates, fat, and protein will help you fight your late-night snack binges. As a result, a lot of good things can happen.

1. Your energy levels become more stabilized throughout the day.

2. You have more energy to work out.

3. You have fewer cravings at night, or they become controllable.

4. You start to lose some body fat.

In other words, if you seek out healthy habits the bad ones will progressively disappear.

The next step is preparation, specifically, for the tough times. Failure to plan is planning to fail and when it comes to the tough times, this couldn’t be truer. Good times are inevitable, but when the bad times arrive, life gets hectic, your schedule is full, the gym starts to take a back seat, and nobody is there to support you; most people bail.

Being prepared for these times will help minimize the number of steps you take back which, in the long run, will allow your to attain your goals quicker.

Physcological Tools

Everybody needs to equip themselves with the proper psychological tools as they move onwards to where they want to be.

Imagine. Can you picture yourself achieving your goal? If you can’t, chances are you’ve already lost!

Visualize. Clearing your head of self-doubt makes your journey so much easier. Find a quiet place each day, and visualize your goal while sitting there (I know it sounds silly, but don’t underestimate the power of visualization). There have been studies conducted in which coaches have had athletes visualize their performance before actually performing it, and the results were astounding.

A New Start

How you respond to your New Years resolution lies in your hands. No one said it would be easy; in fact, doing what’s hardest in life is what builds character and confidence. This applies to fitness as well. The journey at hand may be tough but if you follow the steps I’ve outlined the growth you will see will be worth the effort.

Written by Maki Riddington

Discuss, comment or ask a question

If you have a comment, question or would like to discuss anything raised in this article, please do so in the following discussion thread on the Wannabebig Forums – Changing for the better – Making New Years resolutions that stick discussion thread.