How to stick to your New Year’s Resolution fitness goals….for real this time!

I myself personally am not big on setting new year’s resolutions.  What’s so special about starting something on the first of the year anyway? Why not mid July or even November?  It can easily turn into a placeholder to push something off only to fail again.  That’s just my personal take on it, however many people see it differently and actually see this as a chance to start over and get serious this time around.  It’s a fresh start to a new year.  If you’re one of those people and you just so happen to have a fitness goal then I’m here to help 🙂  You can also take what you learn here and apply to other goals you’ve set as well.

Whatever your fitness goals may be whether it’s to lose weight, gain muscle, tone up, or even increase cardiovascular endurance, it can happen this time around.  I know you’ve probably tried a million times and set the same goal each year only to find that you’ve fizzled out before February even hits.  Have you ever actually taken time to figure out why?  If you haven’t don’t worry because I have!

First off you need to change the way you set your goal(s).  Saying you’re going to lose 20 pounds is too much pressure.  Instead say that you are going to start going to the gym….simple as that.  Why?  First we want to build the habit that is going to help us reach our goal.  The key here is creating the habit.  We are not concerned about how many pounds you want to lose, we simply want to get in the habit of going to the gym.  Sounds easier doesn’t it?  I’m using this as an example so there are other ways to create a habit.  Another example would be to say I’m going to start walking. Remember keep it simple and vague with no defined goals such as I’m going to lose 20 pounds.  That’s a no no.

Next we decide how we are going to create this habit.  The key here is to start out slow (baby steps) with something that is not overwhelming and easily achievable.  How does that look you ask?  Let’s take our goal of creating the habit of going to the gym.  To start out you may start off by going to the gym at least twice a week.  This is a goal that is not overwhelming and definitely achievable.  You’re taking baby steps.  What tends to happen is a natural progression to increase the number of days you go to the gym.  You begin to be proud of yourself, you’re seeing results and you figure going an extra day out of the week could only help.  So now you increase from 2 days a week to 3 days and it’s easier to stick to that goal because 2 days has become a breeze.  Notice how the focus is never on losing those 20 pounds?

So you’re working on creating the habit of going to the gym, you are going to start out going 2 days a week, you’re at the gym….now what?  Well that’s the beauty of it, you’ve put all the time and effort into getting to the gym so there is no way you’re going to waste that effort.  You’re not going to go there and do nothing.  You may have a rough day every now and then and not give it your all.  The important thing is to do something.  You may only do 30 minutes of cardio and go home and that’s perfectly fine.  What I want you to see is that creating the habit creates a ‘trickle down effect’.  I had this same problem.  I’m going to explain how these tips worked for me and highlight the trickle down effect that happened from me creating the habit.

My Story:

Of course we all know I’m into bodybuilding and for as long as I can remember up until this year (2014) I was very inconsistent.  I would go to the gym steadily for a few months and then it would just fizzle out and I’d stop going for months.  Of course this happened over and over. As mentioned at the beginning of this article I finally sat down one day and took time out to figure out why I was so inconsistent. What you are reading now is what I came up with, tested and proven by yours truly.  Of course my ultimate goal was to build muscle BUT I scratched that and set a goal of going to the gym at least 2 days a week.  To take the guess work out of my workouts when I got to the gym I would find a bodybuilding program on bodybuilding.com (shout out, great site! 🙂  ) and complete the workout for that day.  If figuring out what to do once you get to the gym is a problem I would encourage you to find a program to follow.  The funny thing is I never gave 100% at all times.  Sometimes I’d go in and wouldn’t feel like working out so I’d only give about 50% BUT I did complete the workout.  So what started happening is after about three weeks of going to the gym 2 days a week consistently it started to feel like it was part of my daily routine…..kind of like going to work.  You go even when you don’t want to.  So I’m about 2 months in and have been going to the gym consistently for 2 days out of the week and I notice my physique beginning to change.  I’m seeing muscle where there once was none, I’m seeing cuts, my shirts are fitting a little tighter….this was awesome!  I got very excited and began going to the gym 3 days a week, Why?  Because I wanted to see more of the results that I was beginning to see so I became more excited about going to the gym and wanted to put more effort into my workouts.  I eventually increased my gym days to 4 times a week.  I saw myself getting stronger with more muscle so the increase was no burden at all.  I was giving at least 90% in all of my workouts because I saw that it led to me seeing better results a lot quicker.

Recap:

So what happened was what I referred to earlier as the ‘trickle down effect’.  I started with a simple goal of going to the gym at least 2 days a week.  Although I didn’t give my all in every workout I still saw results which led to me  WANTING to increase to 3 days a week as well as giving more effort in my workouts.  Of course I began to see even better results than before thus I increased to working out 4 days a week with even more effort during my workouts.  The increases were nearly effortless as I was excited about the results I was seeing and wanted to keep it going and gain even better results.  So you see, the simple goal of going to the gym 2 days a week helped me reach and maintain my ultimate goals of gaining muscle without that even being my main focus.  However, it is important to keep your main goal in the back of your mind but it should never include a number like lose 10 pounds or gain 8 pounds of muscle.  If you do that then you are just falling back into the trap.  Just a simple goal of ‘gain muscle’ or lose weight’ will suffice.  The only reason this is important is because it determines what type of workout or program you will do when you get to the gym.  If you want to lose weight then you shouldn’t go into the gym lifting heavy weights because it won’t do much for reaching your ultimate goal.  So the undefined ultimate goal serves only as direction for your workouts and that’s it!

Like I said, I’ve only provided examples thus your habit may differ from the ones mentioned.  It may be to walk around the block one day a week or eat healthy 2 days a week.  Whatever it may be just remember to create the habit and the rest will come!

I wish you all nothing but the best in your fitness endeavors!  Happy New Years!!!!!!!!

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