Do you have the same New Year’s Resolution every January?
Don’t worry! No judgement here; making the same new years resolution for several years in a row is very common. I have had the same New Year’s resolution in my past too! However, I have solutions for you that will actually help you achieve your New Year’s resolutions this year!
Every year, on January 2nd we humans make plans for what we want to accomplish during the year. Some of these plans include losing weight (more specifically losing fat) eating clean, and increasing sleep to seven to eight hours per night, becoming more productive, and fitting into our high school size four jeans.
In 2014, Statistic Brain released a report about New Year’s Resolutions. Nearly 40 percent of people don’t even bother making a new years resolution and of that 40 percent only eight percent actually follow through and achieve their new years resolution.
I really don’t like this date and will chose to ignore it after this blog, but January 17th is now known as “National Ditch Your Resolution Day.” This day is supposed to make us feel better about bailing on our commitments for the New Year. OMG! That is a pile of horse crap!
If you have given up setting new years resolutions for your self keep reading. This year I challenge you to take your life to the next level. Start again, and set some goals that will improve the quality of your life.
Solution #1: Think Marathon Not Sprint
Losing weight is different from losing fat. You can cut off your left leg, and you will lose “weight.” You can eat 500 calories day for three weeks or eat cardboard tasting meals and you will lose “weight” (you’ll lose your mind too.) However, when you lose weight fast, I guarantee you, that you WILL gain it back again and that “weight” will bring a few extra FAT pounds with it.
Our bodies are designed NOT to lose weight. There are all sorts of mechanisms programed into your brain (I will go deeper into this concept in future blogs) that are there just too keep you from losing weight “fast.” Your mind and body recognize losing weight fast as a very significant danger to your survival. What you really want to lose is FAT (and to keep your left leg too.) The best way to lose fat and keep it off is to NOT set off the triggers that tell your brain to put the “weight” back on.
Think about losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle like a marathon – it’s going to take time. Slow and steady habit change might not be sexy, but it’s a lot more effective than the “I want it ALL and I want it NOW!” mentality. It going to take time to change your habits so don’t set unrealistic goals. Small steps are better than a big leap.
Solution #2: Stop Being Soooooo Dramatic
Most people dramatically change their eating habits on January 2nd. But after a couple of weeks you start to get cravings, your mood drops, you feel terrible and your friends don’t want to hang around you any more. Some of you will actually hang on through the cravings and hit your goal weight. The problem is, once you hit your goal weight, you go back to your old habits of eating and the weight creeps back.
Try the 90-10 rule; 90 percent of the time you are “on” your plan and ten percent of the time is “play time” where you can eat “off” your plan. I don’t like to call this “cheat time,” because it’s not cheating; it’s just being a human. Personally, I will NEVER regret eating my dad’s homemade pumpkin cobbler and home made vanilla ice cream during the holidays or sharing some sweet potato fries with my kids. I have planned for these times in my food plan because I have accepted that I am a human.
And for those who stick through it past a few weeks, once they hit their “goal weight” they go back to “eating normal” which is what caused you to gain extra weight to begin with!
By eating real foods and giving yourself the flexibility to “break the rules” from time to time you’ll be able to have long-term success. Having a bowl of ice cream or some fries once a week isn’t going to make you fat – so give yourself the chance to loosen your eating from time to time.
Solution #3: Start Small
You make resolutions because you know they will improve the quality of your life. However, declaring your goals is the easy part.
I have to admit that I have done this in the past. I would set a big goal. I would write it down. I then told the world about my big goal. I was determined to achieve my big goal. But, then…. I wasn’t sure exactly where to start, I didn’t set up check points and smaller goals that lead to my big goal along the way. What happened? Nothing happened. Well maybe a few things happened but the progress stopped fairly early. I moved on, until I read my goals the next year and remembered that I didn’t achieve the big goal I had set for myself.
This doesn’t happen anymore in my life. I discovered the missing link. Chunking my big goal into smaller goals allowed me to feel successful along the way to my big goal. Chunking also allowed me to track my progress toward my big goal.
Setting big goals is what we need to do to move our lives forward. But where do you start if you want to lose 50 pounds? How long should it REALISTICALLY take you to lose 50 pounds? What are the steps that move you closer every week to losing 50 pounds?
Okay, assuming you will lose about five pounds in the first two weeks just by cleaning up your diet, setting a goal to lose one pound per week seems reasonable. It will take you about 50 weeks to lose 50 pounds OF FAT. You may lose it faster than this, but you are setting yourself up for success by allowing “being a human time,” in your goals setting time line. Human time is not linear, only imaginary time is linear. I mean, are you never going to go out and get a glass of wine with your friends again? I would set your self up for one pound a week and on top of that, give yourself the extra two weeks, 52 weeks. Next you want to set a 10 pound goal for every 10 weeks. And that takes you right to the end of December to lose 50 pounds of fat. You may be thinking to yourself, “A whole year to lose 50 pounds? I could lose that in a few months if I double down.” Yes, you could, however; you will be miserable, your friends won’t want to hang around you any more and by January of the next year, you will be pissed off that you are the six pounds heavier than you were last year when you set the goal.
At Mo-Mentum Fitness, almost every person who has lost a significant amount of fat and kept it off, did it slowly over time. They changed their habits one at a time, they set smaller goals along the way and they enjoyed themselves along the way. (Just a side note….many of our people started their path to losing significant amounts of weight through our challenges–just saying!)
When you break down your goals you start to have small successes, which are keys to long-term success. Instead of thinking “I’m only 1/10th of the way to my goal,” you’ve shifted your mindset and have already completed one goal; losing 10 pounds.
Solution #4: One Is a Lonely Number
Humans have been tribal beings for thousands of years. We need a tribe to support us in our endeavors. It’s in our DNA. Setting a goal to lose fat and get healthier is hard enough to do it by yourself, let alone being surrounded by friends or co-workers that are constantly tempting you to break your new habits. There are numerous studies showing people who have solid support systems reach their goals at dramatically higher rates than those who try to achieve goals alone. This is especially true when those goals are health and fitness related.
Share your goals with your friends and family so you have support and accountability is vital. If you’re going to join a gym, make sure that it’s a friendly and fun and that you’re not treated like just another number. Even better, find a workout buddy or small group to people to train with every week. This way, you will receive the support and accountability you need on the day’s you want to quit!
Solution #5: Slow Down
Starting your new exercise habit with a one hour advanced exercise program after the most movement you’ve experienced in the past year is the track up two flights of stairs in a parking structure is a bad idea.
This kind of ties back into #1 – most people go from doing barely anything to trying to do advanced workouts in a day. And this is a sure fire way to either injure yourself or be so sore that it takes you a week before you’re able to do your next workout.
The best thing you can do before you get started is to get an assessment done by a qualified personal trainer. This way you know which exercises are appropriate for your starting point. Your goal may be to do 10 unassisted pull-ups but training with pull-ups everyday will not get you there, it will only destroy your shoulders. The idea of exercising is not to just make you feel tired and sore – it’s to systematically build your joints and muscles and more specifically, your cardiovascular, endocrine, neurological and muscular systems slowly so become strong and efficient enough to take you to your goals.
Solution #6: Stop Spinning Your Wheels
One of the most deceptive myths about losing weight is that cardiovascular exercise is the best way to burn fat. Yes you will lose weight if you do cardio exercise, but again you won’t keep the weight off and remember, your goal is to lose FAT not just “weight.” This is also a great way to tell the difference between personal trainers who knows what they are talking about and those who do not.
If you really want to maximize fat loss, a mixture of resistance training and metabolic (interval) training is very effective and time savvy. Jumping on the treadmill or bike for an hour will not change your body enough to make an long term difference. Long slow cardio also uses up a lot more of your time. If you better things to do with you life than to spend an hour or more on a treadmill everyday – you’ll want to prioritize resistance training over cardio and even better prioritize metabolic resistance training.
Why? Lean muscle mass requires more energy to maintain and therefore raises your metabolism, which is what helps you keep the weight off. Muscle looks better on your body, it helps you to move more efficiently (also keeping you metabolism higher), and it releases and required hormones necessary help you keep fat off your body.
Fat is fluffy. Muscle is lean. And girls…..building muscles will not make you “bigger.” What makes you “bigger” not building your muscle at all or building your muscle and not paying attention to what you put in your mouth. Working with a GOOD professional trainer (even for just a few months) will help you build muscle and burn off your fluffy fat. Remember, FAT IS FLUFFY, MUSCLE IS LEAN.
Solution #7: It’s You VS. You
I hear this question often, “Why is it taking me so long to lose weight? My friend lost her weight in just a few months.” The truth is, it only appears as if your friend lost all of her fat in just a short time. You just watched her successes as she posted them on social media. You weren’t there when she was struggling, on the days she wanted to quit but showed up to her training session anyways, on the days she told her friends she was going to pass on margaritas and chips and salsa because she had “splurged” two other times that week already, or on the days that her fat loss wasn’t moving as fast as she’d like it to. You got to watch “magical” Facebook version of her journey.
And don’t even think about comparing your weight loss with the people who lose weight on reality weight loss shows. These shows are anything but real. You do know that some of these shows wait for several weeks between weigh ins, making sure that the contestants have lost enough weight? It’s also easier to lose weight when you know millions of people are watching you and you are removed from your everyday life and everyday stressors.
Solution #8: Who Has Your Back?
Surround yourself with people who have your back and sincerely want the best for you. Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with?” Well, we may not get to chose who we spend time with at work, but you can surround yourself with friends who are active and healthy and who want the best for you.
Being part of a tribe that is striving towards similar goals has been one of the most significant reasons for our most successful clients achieving such amazing fat loss results.
Solution #9: Track It
Mark Twain once said, “Even if you’re on the right path, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
When I fly to Hawaii I know the the airplane will be off course 99% of the time. Nonetheless, a few minutes after the airplane’s wheels leave the ground and we are in the air the captain’s announces on the speaker that we will be landing in Oahu at 11:15 am. During the flight, because of updrafts, downdrafts, and weather patterns the airplane is off course almost the entire time, but the pilot keeps readjusting the course and at 11:15am we land in Oahu. It’s like magic! But it’s not! The auto pilot and pilots keep track of where the airplane is during the flight and where it needs to be and this is what keeps us on track.
The same is true for goals, if you don’t know where you are starting, where you are going and where you are at every point during your journey you will not arrive at your goal destination.
You know where you are today, and you know where you want to be in March, June September and December. If your goal is to lose fat you need to keep track of your circumference and caliper measurements and your weigh, your daily steps, exercise and what you are eating. All of these factors let you and your trainer know that you are on the right path to your destination.
Solution #10: (Bonus Solution)
Are you serious about reaching your improved health, fat loss, increased productivity goals in 2017? Remember, it’s easy to declare your goal, but if you are actually going to achieve your goals, you need to take immediate and serious action. Join our 2017 New Year, New You Transformational Challenge. This challenge has been the first step for almost all of our most successful members. The reasons the challenge will be a game changer for you are listed above. The first week of any big endeavor is hard, but doable. Around week three you will want to quit. But we have seen over and over and over that people tend to do more for their tribe than they will for themselves on their own.