December 31, 2015. It’s New Year’s Eve and a new year is upon us. It’s a clean slate and 2016 is going to be a year of change.
January 1, 2016. Meals are being prepared, cardio is done, the gym is closed so weights have to wait. That enthusiasm is still there though. 2016 is “your year”.
January 2, 2016. It’s a weekend, you’re recovering from the partying of a couple of nights ago. You’re not quite ready to learn how to meal prep and the gym has limited hours on weekends. You'll wait until Monday.
January 3, 2016. It’s Sunday and you’ve already decided to wait until Monday so you might as well eat whatever you want. Maybe you take a Sunday stroll for cardio.
January 4, 2016. It’s back to work and a normal routine. With everything being behind because of the holidays and other things happening like your TV shows being back on, this can wait until tomorrow.
I can keep going but I think you get the idea. Here’s a serious question that I want you to consider. Does that storyline look anything like your situation? Do you even remember what your New Year Resolutions are?
If you make it to February 1st and haven’t dropped your resolutions yet, you’re doing better than most. In this situation we haven’t even gotten through the first week of 2016. It still has that New Year smell and you’ve already fallen back into old habits.
I thought this was going to be your year of change. 2016 is supposed to be your year. You were going to finally get in shape, lose weight, build muscle, get stronger, and maybe even step onto a bodybuilding stage or powerlifting platform.
Yet here you are, falling back into your old habits just like you did in 2015, and 2014, and 2013, and so on. I know you don’t want this to be the situation, but perhaps you think since you didn’t start on January 1st like you hoped that the whole year is a wash. Pay close attention to this next statement.
It's not too late!
There are 11 and a half months left in 2016. This is still a new year, it can still be your year of change. 2016 can be the year of you. Don’t give up on 2016 yet and more importantly, don’t give up on yourself. If you decide, right now, that this can still happen and you will still do it, then you have a great chance of success.
So, how do we start again?
Let’s face facts. We can rationalize and list excuses from sun up to sundown about why it didn’t go right from the beginning. The fact is your mind wasn’t right. The motivation wasn’t there. If you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way to do it.
Related: When Willpower Isn't Enough - How to Maintain Motivation
If your boss comes up to you and says “there’s a $1,000 bonus for you if you can complete this program”, then you’re going to bend over backwards to make that happen. It’s that motivation and that sense of urgency that you need to not only get started again, but more importantly, keep going and achieve that hard earned success.
You also need to be in control of your resolutions. You’re making the decisions and everything about making this year your year is going to be because of you and you only. Taking control is a big factor that can determine success or failure. You’re going to take that control right now by writing out your plan with me.
You’re going to need to get a sheet of paper and a pen or open a document on your computer. We’re going to set up your plan right now. I’m going to ask you a series of questions and you have one minute to answer each one. Don’t move on to the next question until you’ve answered the last one. Ready? Here we go.
#1: What are your resolutions?
Whether it was one or ten, take no more than one minute to write each of them down. Don’t just type out general answers like lose weight or build muscle. Be specific and be bold. If you write something like “lose 5 pounds” then you’re not challenging yourself and you’re also not giving yourself enough credit. Challenge yourself.
#2: What are your deadlines?
This might have been a reason why it was so easy to stop focusing on those resolutions. There was no finish line. Giving yourself a deadline will put more pressure on you. The good news is this is a self-imposed deadline so although you should challenge yourself, make it a deadline that ultimately you feel you can accomplish the goals in.
#3: What will you need to do to reach your goals?
As an example, let’s say your goal is to lose 20 pounds of fat by April 1st, what will you need to do to accomplish this goal? Write each of these down so you have a summary of each commitment you will make to achieve success? They can look something like this.
- Train with weights 5 days a week
- Perform cardio 6 days a week for 30 minutes per session
- Follow a sound and proven nutrition plan
- Take quality supplements to back up my training and nutrition efforts
Your list might be a little different. Just make sure you write out each task it will take to go from struggle to success.
#4: What will you need to perform those tasks?
To train, you need access to weights. For cardio, a treadmill or a place to run. You can take care of both with a gym membership. This is what I’m asking for here. Your list might look like something similar to this.
- A gym membership
- A training partner to hold me accountable
- A list of recipes that are healthy and enjoyable so I won't be tempted to cheat on my nutrition plan
- A solid supplement plan that can fit my budget
- Positive reinforcement
#5: Why do you want to do this?
Ok, now we’re going to get a little sentimental and this might be emotional but it needs to be done. Why do you want to do this? Why did you originally make those resolutions to begin with? Why are you here? Is it to be attractive to people you find attractive? Is it to inspire others? Do you want to break into the fitness industry?
Perhaps it’s something deeper. You’re wanting to save your marriage, get in better shape for your kids, or your doctor told you that you’re going to have major medical issues later in life if you don’t straighten up and focus on your health. Whatever it is, write them down and this time, do it in bold type or circle it. When you hit those days that motivation is tough to come up with, this is going to be your kick in the butt to get moving.
#6: What's in this for you?
That motivation should be enough but let’s face facts. A reward is great incentive. So after you busted your butt and committed to do this, you deserve to treat yourself for doing it.
What do you want? A new TV, a vacation, a wardrobe to show off that kick-ass body you worked so hard to showcase. This is your reward so write out whatever you want so long as you can afford to do it.
#7: Will you do this?
Now technically you have one minute to answer this one but I think you won’t need that much time. Your answer should be similar to a resounding “hell yeah”. You know what to do, how to do it, and why you’re doing it, so your motivation should be at a new high. You’re ready.
First, sign that document. Whether you print it or write it out, sign your name to it because this is your new contract. You just wrote out a contract with yourself that says you’re making a commitment and that you will achieve it and be given something when you do it.
Next, do something right now as soon as you finish reading this article to move forward and get you closer to the goals you set. Every small step forward beats standing still so get started immediately.
Finally, comment below what you’re going to do in 2016 so everyone in the M&S community can support you along the way. If you’re changing your life and reaching these amazing fitness goals, then we’re doing our job and reaching our goals as well.
By the way, you can use this outline for resolutions at your job or in your personal life. Don’t limit your resolutions to fitness. Make 2016 the year you change your whole life for the better. Make this the year you didn’t give up.