Normally, by the middle of March, I know better than to ask the average American how their resolution is going, because I know: it ain’t. So, I won’t ask. I’ll let you live the stress-free life you asked for.
Actually, I want to discuss resolutions and why we lie to ourselves every year about our fitness or weight loss. Year in and year out we engage in this insane bed of lies: we look at ourselves in the mirror, tell ourselves we’re fat, call that person every name in the book and vow that this year will be the year that we look better, feel better and actually “resolve” the goal or challenge. The problem is you’re looking at an impossible task and that’s why you fail miserably.
Know what you want
You have every great intention – or maybe it is a little half-assed but in your drunken sense of merriment, it sounded like a good idea at the time. In either case, you set yourself up for failure.
First, why do you want to “resolve” to get more fit or lose weight? This question is almost never answered, so you don’t have a clear reason to keep on track. More often than not, when I ask that question, clients can’t answer me. I hear, “I’m fat, I need to lose weight,” “I feel like a sloth and have no energy,” “I need to start eating better and lose weight.” These are not answers, they’re just words coming out of your mouth.
Define Your Challenge
In order to resolve the goal or challenge, you need to define it. If it is not defined, it will never be resolved. Write that down somewhere. Like on your forehead. And read it every day.
So how do you define your challenge/problem in order for it to be resolved? Never use vague terms. Always use clear and concise words that sum up exactly what you want to get done. If you don’t know what the exact problem is, get some help. If you don’t know how fat you really are, go get a body fat measurement so you have a measurable goal to attain.
Let’s say you have a body fat percentage of 32 percent as a woman and I am telling you that a healthy woman should be under 23 percent body fat. Now you have a measurable goal of 9 percent body fat that you know you have to lose.
If you came to me for help, I would suggest your first goal would be to get below 30 percent body fat; so in this case 29 would do. You don’t want to take on the whole 9 percent at once, because it’s probably not something you’ve ever done.
Create Attainable Goals
This brings me to the second phase of resolving this problem or challenge. Create realistic and attainable goals, for now. Small attainable goals are what will bring you closer to the finish line. When I train marathon runners, the first thing I want to see is if they can run one mile, or three, then five; not 26.2 all at once.
The same thing goes for your weight loss or fitness goals. If you can’t walk up a flight of stairs, let’s get you to first walk two flights. You already made a 200 percent improvement. If you haven’t lost 1 pound in 10 years, 1.5 pounds is a good start.
Use specific, numbered, measurable goals and you will attain everyone. The old sayings, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time,” or “A walk of the thousand miles begins with one step,” are not just cool quotes for some Facebook meme, they can get you started and keep you going.
Know Where to Start
Without that clear goal or challenge written down on your forehead, on your mirror in the bathroom or a post-it note that you see every day, you won’t know where to start. That’s where almost every resolution fails: Not knowing where to start. If you just tell me you’re fat and you need to lose weight, I can’t and most likely don’t want to help you. If you come to me with, “I need to lose 12 pounds of body fat and want to gain 10 pounds of lean muscle,” now we have a starting point. Even the worst personal trainer in the world may have the tools to help you, as long they have a measuring tape and a scale.
If they don’t have those basic analytical tools, run for the friggin’ hills or just find someone that does – we still have to resolve the goal or challenge.
Complete one Goal, Then Move on to the Next
This past year I wanted to revisit my martial arts expertise but didn’t want to practice Thai Kwan Do. Instead, I wanted to try my hand at Krav Maga. My goal wasn’t to become a black belt or even an orange belt. My first goal was to learn one technique that could get me out of a jam. When I mastered that, I moved on to the next technique. I wound up loving it and it inspired me to keep going and learn more – every day I feel like I am opening a brand new book.
That’s how I would love for you to approach your New Year: create one challenge, obstacle, a problem you need to resolve. If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it, but when you do make sure the professional is qualified to help you resolve your specific goal or challenge… and it’s never too late to re-think that resolution.