BASICALLY: HOW TO CRUSH 2018
5 min read
A lot of people worry (rightly) about the possibility that their resolution will fall apart within a few months creating it. I don't think there's any problems with feeling a spike in motivation in January - but if you're feeling anxious about being unable to maintain that motivation going forward - read on!
Well, first of all - its a GOOD thing if you are worried about being able to stick it out; because it means that you are thinking critically about the possibility of life getting in the way. BUT that is where the pessimism should stop. In all my years as a fitness lover; I've seen two types of new years resolution-ers. The type that stick around, and the type that don't. Here is a list of some most easy-to-imitate behaviours stolen from the ones that stick around.
1. Don't aim to be FIT, aim for HABITS
It's easy to say that "I want to get shredded in 2018" or "I want to weigh XYZ pounds", but this can actually be a big mistake. While it is important to set specific goals; I'd argue that in the case of new years resolutions especially - the emphasis should be on adopting a new behaviour. Even with the best plans in place, you can expect things to get in the way of milestones. And when that happens, you can start to doubt your initial goal.
For example if you wanted to have a six-pack by June, and you haven't yet done so by May - it becomes really easy to start doubting everything. This is why you should frame your overall goal as a behaviour, instead of an outcome. Don't say "I want to have a 6-pack by June" instead think along the lines of "I want to hit the gym 2-3 times per week". It's much harder to get discouraged with this kind of mentality, since your success is not tied up with a hard-to-measure outcome (there's nothing stopping you from modifying this approach to be more in line with your other goals either).
It's just a very useful mentality because it helps you focus on the process instead of the results. Instead of fixating on getting that 6-pack you can instead focus on performing good workouts and building longer term habits. Don't write this off. The motivation you feel during this time should be leveraged to create something truly beneficial for your body and health.
2. Regularly THINK HARD on your goal and desires
What does that mean; "think hard". The basic idea is to do everything you can to keep your goal somewhere in the non-dusty parts of your brain. People don't lose sight of their new years resolutions because they're lazy or lethargic; but because their initial motivations slip into the background and get faded out.
You can easily avoid this problem by regularly engaging the part of your brain that houses these motivations. Don't let it get dusty, and don't let it fade out. A good way to do this is to occasionally interrogate yourself about your motivations (side note; a great time to do this is on your way to the gym). Ask yourself the tough questions and come up with good answers;
- Why are you doing this?
- Why might you quit?
- How much will you regret not sticking to your goal in 6 months?
- Whatever else comes to mind.
GET FIT AND STAY FIT IN 2018
Anything that makes you think about your goal itself, will keep it in your mind for longer - and THAT will keep you going to the gym longer. The more you understand and think on your own motivations, the more likely you are to continue to prioritize them.
3.) Take it DAY-BY-DAY; WEEK-TO-WEEK; and MONTH-TO-MONTH
Focus on getting through January with your new goal intact. To do that, focus on finishing the week, and finishing the days in accordance with your goal. Just focusing on each day will let you break-down the overall ambition of your goal into a task that can be conquered on a daily level. With this mentality; each day you end up doing what you are supposed to do is a success; this reinforces the habits over outcome mentality we mentioned earlier AND helps you stay consistent on your path.
The "successful new years resolution-ers" I mentioned earlier STILL live and die by this mentality. Even though it is incredibly important to look out on your goals over a long period of time: there is absolutely no substitute for the value of the day-to-day effort, intensity, and work. And the good thing about this is that you can make tangible and measurable progress every single day, like I mentioned any day you lift (for example) is a success. This is a much better mentality than thinking of success as something that happens all-at-once with something like "super-toned-6-pack-abs".
New years can be a time for wishful thinking and echo-chambers, or a time that can genuinely be the start of something great for you - something that will help you for years to come. If you are feeling inspired this month: I earnestly recommend that you use this motivation to set yourself up for lasting habits instead.