I thought I'd kick of the year by talking about resolutions...in particular the ''I'm going to go to the gym every day and I'm going to eat only lettuce and drink wheatgrass shots instead of tequila and I'm never buying another take-away again. EVER''! type of resolution.
As someone who works in the health and fitness industry, I hear and see these sorts of promises made and broken all the time but especially at the start of a new year. If you read magazines, newspapers or watch television, the media will try and shame you into making them, even if you don't get there by yourself. Every big fitness centre or chain-gym will display stock shot images of naff looking, skinny women with watery smiles holding 3kg dumbbells, waving new membership offers under your nose that you can't refuse. As a result, treadmills and studio classes everywhere will be bursting at the seams in January. For about 3 weeks. Then it's business as usual.
So, year after year people set themselves up for failure by making unrealistic resolutions, not meeting them and then hating themselves for being so crap. Every day becomes a battle of wills between your good side and that devil on your shoulder. It's an unhealthy, way to live I believe. So what instead?
1. Resolve to be the best possible version of YOURSELF this year.
Forget pinning pictures of fitness models on your fridge, you are NEVER going to look like that girl. She is not you. She does not have your bone structure, skin tone or muscle profile. If visual inspiration is what drives you, take a picture of yourself each week/month and compare yourself only to yourself. Set your own goals and start reviewing them week by week - if you are currently a couch potato, aim to train, say, twice a week for the first month and then increase it after that. If you can't get through that Bootcamp class at first, aim for a certain number of rest periods and then aim to reduce them. Focus on what you can do and don't compare yourself to others in the gym.
2. Live by the 7 P's. Prior Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance! Never was a truer word spoken when it comes to food and exercise. Plan your meals, pack your gym bag the night before, arrange to meet or pick up a training buddy on your way to the gym, book the babysitter, schedule your training sessions in your diary - do whatever you can do to overcome the obstacles that will prevent you from reaching your goal.
3. Stop making excuses to yourself and others about why you aren't doing it. Be honest with yourself. We're all guilty of playing the 'too busy' card and so often we give in to work, family or social pressures way too easily. We all have the same 24 hours - what we do with them is up to us. Get to the core of why you aren't fulfilling your resolution. maybe the call to exercise is not being heard because you're trying to engage with something that is not right for you. Try boxing (my personal favourite)? Swimming? Roller Derby? Weight lifting? Or a bit of everything. Keep trying until you find the activity that makes you want to go back for more.
4. Get back on it quickly
All the top performers I've ever met have one thing in common - they get back on track quickly. Missing a training session, sleeping in late or pigging out does not make you a bad person, it makes you human. Don't give up on your goals because you've made a few mistakes, just get back on it as quickly as possible and move on. Don't start again next Monday or next month - start again NOW.
5. Consistency is key
We are creatures of habit and we can give up a bad one by creating a new one. So grit your teeth and get the first month out of the way, the more times you make healthy choices, the easier it will become. Take things a step at a time and don't stop thinking about where you would be (or wouldn't be) if you hadn't started this journey at all. If you were aiming for 10 press ups but can only do 5, that's 5 more than none. Surely that's better than giving up because you didn't achieve 10?
In the words of Bruce Lee ''A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim for''.