It’s hard to believe we are almost into the New Year. The best time to evaluate you fitness goals and motivation is right now. Why? Because the overwhelming majority of us will quit before spring even gets here. According to Dr. Donald E. Whetmore, 90% of those who join health and fitness clubs will stop going within the first 90 days. This comes as no surprise. I’ve been in the fitness industry for nearly 17 years and I see it happen every year. Most of us have the best intentions when it comes to changing our health habits. It’s not necessarily a lack of desire, but rather having a strong foundation in place to keep us on the path of permanent change. Rather than saying, “I want to lose weight” do a little soul searching, dig in, and really evaluate your plan. Here are five powerful steps you can take right now to help get you started and build even more positive momentum for the rest of the year.
1. Write Down your goals: Want to lose 20 pounds? Bench press your weight? Compete in a triathlon? Write it down! The power of goal setting is remarkable. A study was conducted on students in the 1979 Harvard MBA program regarding goal setting. In that year, the students were asked, “How many of you have set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” Only three percent of the graduates had written goals and plans. Ten years later, the members of the class were interviewed again. Of the three percent who had clear written goals, they were earning on average ten times as much as the other 97 percent combined! This same process works when it comes to fitness or weight loss. By writing down your goals and reading them daily, it will put your subconscious mind to work and keep you on track to achieving what is important to you. So be specific, write it down, and visualize it…you’ll be amazed at the results!
2. Narrow your focus: When people make New Years resolutions, many make the common mistake of trying to change too many things at once. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t have more than one goal, but it’s important to narrow your focus down to one habit at a time. Numerous studies show that people are typically quite successful when they limit their change to one behavior at a time before introducing a new one. But introduce even two new behaviors at once, and the failure rate is nearly 100%. The reality is people overestimate how hard change will be and underestimate how long it will take. So pick one, put all of your focus and efforts into it for the next 3-4 weeks until it becomes second nature and then introduce your next one. There will be plenty of time for all of your goals. So narrow your focus and you get there one step at a time.
3. Self-belief: Henry Ford said it best, “Whether you believe you can, or you can’t, you are right.” Having goals is one thing, but they need to be backed with a positive mindset and strong self-belief. Belief has a huge bearing on behavior. It was once thought that breaking the four minute mile barrier was impossible until Roger Bannister accomplished the impossible on May 6th, 1954. Many others broke the four minute barrier since then.
If you believe a particular task will not be successful or worthwhile, you’re less likely to do the task. Alternatively, the likelihood of consistency and success while soar when you know you can and the task will become even easier. The bottom line is everyone has the potential for greatness, start expecting it and believe!
4. Have a “like minded” team: Who you have in your social circle can have a magnetic pull on who you are. It’s important to realize that some people in your circle may inadvertently try to pull you back to your old ways. It’s not because they are trying to be malicious, it’s usually just a case of human nature. Now that’s not to suggest you need to dump any friends and family who are suspect, but rather seek out “like minded” people who support you in your fitness quest. Try connecting with a fitness group, working out with a friend, or joining a sport league. Combine this with the love and support of your family and you more likely will become the person you want to be.
5. Have Fun and Get Fit! Don’t limit yourself to just “working out” at the gym. Get out and enjoy some recreational activities too. There is so much to choose from and many will compliment your training even more. Make this your year! Get out for a spring time hike or fun run, join an indoor soccer team, get your Zumba on. Life is too short not to enjoy yourself. In other words, find activities that you truly enjoy, get fit, and have fun!
Jason Wanlass, the owner of Champion Fitness Training in Meridian, has more than 16 years experience in the fitness industry. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.championfit.net.