Your New Year’s Resolution is Insane
We’ve all heard it before. The definition of insanity is; doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Although that isn’t the real definition of insanity, it made for a catchy title, and it allows us to make a point.
We want you to make a different kind of resolution this year. For 2019, we want you to make a resolution to do things the right way. You’ve probably tried and failed at the fitness resolution thing for multiple years now, right?
But we’d be willing to bet you that during that time, your approach hasn’t changed that much. You’re still out looking for that quick fix that will solve all your problems. We’re here to tell you what you already know; there is no big secret.
For the majority of people, quick fix programs, crash diets, and challenges aren’t enough to make sustainable changes. Using these strategies, you’ll usually fall into one of these categories:
- You see great results, at first. But over time, you slowly regress back to where you started, or worse than you started.
- You see no results. Now you’re even more discouraged than you were before.
Approaching a health and fitness goal this way is problematic. With each failure that you experience, you become less likely to achieve your goal. This is due to lack of self-efficacy, where you constantly bring those learned failures with you. It’s a self-sabotaging process, where with each misguided effort, the chances of you ever achieving your goal decreases drastically.
Set Realistic Expectations
Nothing kills motivation and progress like unrealistic expectations. If you’re not seeing the results you want right out of the gate, most of us will become demotivated and quit. It’s a good idea to have a solid understanding as to just how much effort is required to get where you want to be.
What is Realistic Progress?
Because most of us have a resolution focused around weight loss, we’ll use that as our example. A healthy, sustainable drop in weight is anywhere between 1-2lbs per week. Not per day. Per week. Any progress more aggressive than this decreases our likelihood of sustaining it for a variety of factors, and it can also be dangerous.
What Do I Need to Do?
It’s always helps to have an idea as to what you want your body to look like, or what shape you’d like to be in when you reach your goal. It’s even more helpful to know exactly what we’ll need to do in order to achieve that goal. Below is a helpful diagram that breaks down the Do’s and Don’ts of people looking to achieve a particular body composition.
We know what you’re thinking; that seems like a lot of things I need to do to be successful. And you’re absolutely right. Which is why (for both your short term and long term success) we highly recommend not doing them all at the same time. We’re going to ask that you focus on building on habits.
Focus on Building Habits
When we set out to reach a goal, we are highly motivated. Change is easy. When our bodies are changing, it’s easy to stay motivated and energized. But what if we aren’t seeing changes right away? Or what if a huge life change disrupts the routine we’re in? Or what if we flat out just get tired, or burn out? We’ll tell you what. You fail!
When our number one priority is fitness, it’s easy to commit all of our attention and focus to fitness and nutrition habits. But this isn’t the reality for most of us. The more brainpower we use making other decisions for work, family, work, work, or family, the less brainpower we have to say “no” to that piece of cake.
Motivation is a powerful thing, and we can use it as fuel to make some substantial progress. But motivation is temporary. There’s only so many YouTube videos and Instagram stories we can watch before we flat out stop giving a shit. In order to combat this, we need to build habits to fall back on. Habits allow us to re-define ourselves over time. We stop wasting valuable energy trying to be someone, we just become that someone. We stop feeling guilty about a piece of chocolate here or an extra glass of wine there, because we are in control and know exactly what to do to get back on track.
You’re As Cold As Ice
We like using a metaphor for describing how habits work. All of us are an ice-cube. Ice cubes will remain frozen so long as their temperature stays at or below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. We could be 0 degrees, 7, 21; we’re all a different temperature. Which means we all have a certain amount of change to undergo before we start to melt.
This is our way of saying building habits may be an overnight process for some, or a lengthy process for others. It can take anywhere from a couple weeks to 9 months to concretely build a habit, and it all depends on our personality, our experiences, and where we currently are in life.
But the best part about habits is that just because we aren’t melting doesn’t mean our temperature isn’t changing. We could be making great progress just by implementing new things and shifting our focus to work on it overtime. And the best part is that it can all be done at our own pace!
The best way to begin a habit is to pick something you really want to start doing (it could be something listed in the infographic we placed above). Take that habit, and break it down into a smaller, more manageable chunk. In fact, let’s make that habit so easy to do that there’s a 0% chance we wont do it everyday.
The everyday thing here is important, because consistency MATTERS. Success is determined by what we do consistently. And when it comes to building a habit, the emphasis is on the repetition, not on the intensity. There will be days where we can do more, and we should. It allows us to experiment with what we’re capable of, to see if we can start to push the envelope. But more importantly we need to set a minimal requirement. Something we can fall back and on and complete no matter what happens during our day.
Before you jump into building a habit, there are a couple things to know. A habit is something we do, not something we stop. It’s far more likely you’ll be successful if you incorporate a habit than stopping a habit. Chances are, incorporating one habit has a ripple effect that touches multiple aspects of our lives and takes care of more than just one thing.
That being said, it wouldn’t hurt to put yourself in the best position for success. Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Set a Goal
Decide exactly where you want to be. Again, referring back to the infographic we listed above can help gain some clarity on what’s realistic and reasonable for you, at least for now. We’ve also attached a Goal Setting Worksheet to help keep things organized.
2. Start an Exercise Routine
Try to stay away from routines that promote high intensity and rapid fat loss strategies. We just discussed why this mindset is a bad idea. Find something that matches your fitness level right now so you can train and progress appropriately. We need something we can do consistently. Signing up for a 6-week Fat Furnace isn’t the best place to start.
3. Don’t Neglect Your Nutrition
Regardless of your fitness goal, if you aren’t eating properly, you’re leaving 50% or more of your progress on the table. We highly recommend reading this article for a practical approach to nutrition, as well as downloading our infographic on the 6 Nutrition Fundamentals