How Not to Drop the Ball When the Ball Drops

Fitness Resolutions can be as difficult to make as they are to keep, but resist the urge to opt out.  The start of a new year is the perfect time to dream big.  The Fitness path from the life you have to the life you want is marked by action.  2020 is a blank page –step by step, you can pave the path to a better life.

Most of us reassess where we are with regard to weight loss and general Fitness and where we want to be as a new year approaches.  Some of us are full of unrealistic expectations (like lose 30 lbs in 30 days), while others feel they have no control over their future.  In reality, we have more control than we’d like to admit, especially when they concern our own well-being (eg.  Lose Weight, Gain Strength and Get Fit). We wouldn’t be where we are today without transforming thoughts into action.  But we also didn’t come this far, to only come this far. 

The majority of Americans make Fitness resolutions every year.  Often they have to do with exercising more and eating less.  Many of us wait until 11:59pm on December 31st to ‘cut and paste’ our fitness goals from the previous five years onto our agenda.  Based on past experience, we have little or no hope of ever achieving them.  That is why  the majority of us fail to keep our fitness resolutions.

It tends to go something like this: January 1st all-in, full speed ahead, January 2nd this is harder than I thought…January 12th this is stupid, I give up!  Rather than concede defeat, we tell ourselves we don’t really want it, or that we just can’t do it. 

We’re not going to get different results by taking the same actions this year, so here are some important tweaks you can make to your strategy:

#1

DECIDE what your best life looks like

The first mistake many of us make is to set Fitness and Health goals based on other people’s values.  Subconsciously, we resent having to meet the standards of anyone other than ourselves.  Our mind senses this discord and self-sabotage ensues.

This year, why not think about what is most important to YOU, and how YOU want to spend your time?  If you choose a Fitness goal that aligns your desires with your values, you are much more likely to succeed.

We owe it to ourselves and the world to be our most authentic self, and that is at the heart of the matter.  As Paulo Coelho points out in his novel “The Alchemist”, when you put your heart and soul into a worthy pursuit, “the whole universe conspires to make it happen”.  This is a great book to read for motivation. 

#2

VISUALIZE your outcome in as much detail as possible

VISUALIZE your Fitness and Health outcomes in as much detail as possible:  People experience some of the same joy planning a vacation as they do taking it.  The same can be true for planning your next year.  What would it feel like to weigh 10 pounds less?  Creating a vision board is a great way to keep the positive energy of your dream front and center.  Using a mantra that encapsulates your new attitude is another great tool.  A third technique you can use is to write down every reason you want to accomplish your goal, from the tiniest to the most significant.  The first time I lost a substantial amount of weight, I wrote down every reason I wanted it to happen and I’d read it each time a hurdle hit.  It worked!

#3

TAKE BABY STEPS

Break up your big goal into small, manageable action steps.  If your resolution is to take control of your health, you may need to exercise more and eat better.  Your vision board could include a photo of a leaner you, and your mantra might be “I am stronger than temptations and excuses, I am on my way to being my best self”.  Your action steps could be to be physically active at least three days a week, to eat less junk food and more vegetables, and to meditate on a weekly basis.  

#4

ASSESS YOUR PROGRESS

At the end of each day or week, take stock of what’s working and what isn’t.  Keeping a simple fitness journal is a great way to do this.  Be patient and empathetic with yourself.  Adapt your strategy based on your results.  Add more challenges as you see you are able to meet your demands, and are on the right trajectory.  Your internal dialogue should always start from a place of empathy, as you are accepting and attempting a difficult challenge.  If you screw up, rather than beating yourself up about it, just get right back on track.  Nobody is perfect but perseverance pays off.

In addition, you may need to get rid of any negative self-talk.  For instance, my sister-in-law told me I would never get rid of my post-baby fat.  Instead of internalizing that thought and making it a self-fulfilling prophecy, I saw it as a challenge.  Not only did I ultimately lose the weight, but I also became much leaner and stronger than ever before.  I did it by starting with small steps, but never losing sight of the bigger picture.  My heart was in it because my desire was in line with my values.  I wanted to be active with my kids and to be a good role model for them. 

#5

NEVER GIVE UP!

One thought, one action and subsequent baby steps can eventually get you to your desired destination.  An authentic Fitness goal will drive you to take action.  Action creates hope, momentum and energy.  When the ball drops this January 1st, you can capitalize on the excitement of the moment, and it will give you the extra push you need to get a great year rolling.

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