Writing this Happy New Years post was very challenging. I felt pressure (self imposed) to write a powerful, motivating and the best inspiring post you’ve ever read, to rival any TV commercial or banner ad that is promising “a new you” this year with their diet, fitness or weight loss program. Everyone is excited, full of energy and promise that “this is going to be the Best Year Ever!” The thrill and motivation are exhilarating, but …… it quickly fades as we settle back into our regular daily routines.
New Year’s Resolutions are just another way of stating a goal, and regardless if they are health, money or time oriented, I think people make them with good intentions but fall short with assessing, planning and executing them. Goals are focused on an end state but they lack an action plan to delivery. To achieve your goal, you need to set an objective that includes actions (new behaviours), measurement and a time frame. I dedicated a whole blog post to this topic that you can read here:”How to Action Fitness Goals“.
But here’s the thing. You can set a goal anytime of the year. When I decided to do my first triathlon, it was the middle of June. And when you do, there is not one strategy that works for everyone, in how you execute it. I don’t have a magic formula to give, that works 100% of the time. What works for me may not work for you. Part of the process is learning and testing out what you like and what fits in your lifestyle.
So I’m sharing with you 5 additional tips that I have used over the course of my athletic career, and maybe one of these will resonate with you to get you to the next level.
- Create a timeline - we all know someone who has gotten married. There are tons of wedding checklists out there telling you want you need to have accomplished 6 months-3months-1-month-1 week-1 day, up until the wedding. Same goes for training, but it’s called Periodization. You break the year down into smaller chunks because it’s more manageable to approach, focusing one phase at a time. Set a goal, then an objective and work backwards determing how you are going to achieve it. Maybe January is your month investigating, what kind of athlete you want to be. Then February - March is base training. In April you start building up your duration and endurance. By May you add a new movement to your routine etc. Set it out in advance, but only focus 1 day at a time. There should be comfort and confidence knowing you have a plan in place, you just need to execute it.
- Start Small - don’t change everything at once, it’s overwhelming and you won’t be able to keep up. Set yourself up for success by just focusing on one thing. For example, if you are starting a new fitness or training program, I think frequency is more important than duration. When I used to provide online coaching, my new client program started off with 20 minutes x 2 a week. Once that routine was established, we would add another day and after a few more weeks, we built up the duration with time increases of 10% a week i.e. 20 minutes, 22 minutes, 24 minutes, 26 minutes etc. until we reached out desired duration.
- Schedule your time - I cannot stress this enough to book your time and treat it like any other appointment. The challenge when we train by ourselves is that we aren’t accountable to anyone when we bail, unlike with a boss. We easily forgive ourselves for missed sessions. This happens to everyone whether a novice or an elite athlete. A few years ago, a gym-friend who participated in 2-3 Ironman races a year (he was highly discplined) was laid off from his job. All of a sudden he had unlimited free time, but he started slacking in getting his workouts in because he didn’t have the same rigorous schedule and felt he could do them whenever. But he didn’t. To get back on track, he changed his approach and he treated his training like a job by scheduling his workouts.
- Set Some Rules - making any kind of change takes some work. But we also need to be flexible to adapt to life’s changing needs. Set some ground rules as to what constitutes missing a workout. Everyone has different responsibilities, so customize them to your own situation.
- Create Accountability - find a system to create some accountability to yourself, someone else or a group. Maybe you have a family member or friend who is further along in their journey, that you can check-in with. Or use an app to track each workout, the feedback you get in visual charts showing you how much you’ve accomplish is pretty powerful. Maybe you even want to put some money on the line. There’s an app called “The Pact“. Their motto is “Earn cash for healthy living, paid by members who don’t.” I tested it out, it’s a lot of fun with your ego. Because there is no way, I’m paying others to not workout.
To achieve my health & fitness goals this year, I’ve determined that I need to increase my strength training to 3 times a week, which means a workout on Saturday mornings. I’ve never been a weekend training person in the winter, so this is going to be a real challenge. To give myself some accountability, I’m going to take a picture of me at the gym on Saturday’s and post it on our Facebook page - starting Saturday January 17th. I invite you to do the same for an objective you need help with on the accountability aspect.
In the spirit of #2 Start Small, we are doing a giveaway for Body Exchange’s Plus Size Fitness DVD that came out in December 2014. What I love about this DVD is that it offers multiple levels of cardio and weight training from starting in a chair to more advanced. It’s a great example of starting small and building up.
To Enter: follow the instructions below, you must leave a comment on this blog.
Contest rules: The contest begins Monday January 12, 2015 at 12 am EST. The contest is open to legal residents of Canada and the United States, must be the Age of Majority in province/territory/state and ends Monday January 26, 2015 12:00 AM EST. Full terms can be found at the bottom of the Rafflecopter form.