Making and Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

Posted: January 1, 2012 in Guides, Miscellaneous
Tags: , , ,

Well, it’s the time of year that we all decide to change our physique.  In a couple weeks, it will be the time of year everyone gives up on that same decision.  Why does this happen?

It’s easy to say people are unmotivated and there is some truth to that.  Physique changes certainly require a good deal of dedication.  However, I think there are plenty of well-meaning folks that just get frustrated when bad plans are followed with bad results.  The first part of successful achievement of New Year’s resolutions (and any other goal, really) begins with the setting of the goal.  Let’s start with an example of my own –

I wanted to get a six pack. Who doesn’t? I would work hard and try not to eat too much for weeks at a time.  Alas, no six pack.  I continued to be disappointed and I’d eventually for some reason give up.  Maybe I’d binge on some Dairy Queen in my frustration.  Perhaps I’d try on that shirt that I liked but didn’t flatter me…and of course it still wouldn’t.  That stinks – where’s the progress?

You need to set realistic goals in both the short term and long term.  Focus on short term goals.  A physique change like obtaining a six pack is a worthy goal, but it may be far enough in the future (like it was for me) that you’ll torture yourself trying to obtain it.  Instead, if you focus on just losing that one pound per week or getting one rep stronger per workout and you will find yourself approaching those long term goals faster than ever.  I will of course refer you to Fitness 101 so that you can rest assured that your plan of action is well thought out.

What happens when you fail? Unfortunately, you’re going to have this great plan – you’re going to eat in a certain way, work out in a certain way, etc.  Then…your mother bakes you your favorite dessert.  And you eat it all in one sitting, effectively ruining your daily intake.  This is not when you quit!  So what, you lost a day – forget it.  Honestly, just enjoy yourself once you’ve let that day happen.  Tomorrow is a new day and you can get back on track.  Think of it like this: your positive days will so far outweigh those hiccups that the difference will be negligible.  This is no license to slack, but you have to put things in perspective.  A single missed day out of 30 still makes for a good month.  I use a nutrition example here, but you can apply this in many different ways.  I believe that setting short term goals is key to achieving a mindset that allows you to overcome failure.  Every day, regardless of how good or bad yesterday was, you have the same goal.  A good day does not mean that you approach the next day carelessly and a bad day does not mean that your next day is worthless.

I’ll even use this blog as an example of how my positive attitude will keep this going in times it wouldn’t have before.  Some of these posts, particularly guides, are rather long and take considerable effort.  My long term goal is to have several different guides that encompass all kinds of different parts of fitness and athletics.  However, I know that I cannot just make them all appear (especially with the quality I require of myself).  Instead, I write bit by bit.  I focus only on writing the next section and making it well.  Even this relatively short article was written in several different sessions.  Once, I sat down and couldn’t quite find the right words to say.  I just let it go, and now I’ve reset my mind and gotten back to writing.

One thing that helped me in particular once I’d really done some research is that you can really dive in all the way once you are certain that your plan will be effective.  The last thing you want is to let doubt creep in that even with perfect effort, you won’t get results.  This is part of the reason I created this blog in the first place, to let you rest assured that your efforts won’t be wasted.

I’d like to emphasize that the point of this article is not to give license to laziness.  However, we must acknowledge our humanity.  The people we admire aren’t perfect either, so we can’t put so much pressure on ourselves that we crumble at the first moment that things get hard.  You will find that the less pressure you put on yourself, the easier it is to do what you know you need to do.

To summarize:
– Set those big goals!
– Also set short term goals
– Focus on hitting daily goals
– Don’t get hung up on misses
– Results

Let’s make 2012 a big year.

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