It’s amazing that we’re already two months into 2017! Did you think about the best fitness strategy for this year?
I still remember all the worry and hysteria over Y2K! My hope for you all is that you can continue to build on last year’s victories while leveraging and applying what you’ve learned from last year’s shortcomings. I hesitate to call them failures because I am a full believer in the following rule:
You either succeed or you learn
The start of a new year is always filled with endless possibility. The desire for self improvement is a shared American hobby. According to Forbes.com, approximately 40% of Americans make new years resolutions. That’s roughly 125 million people! And it’s seemingly amazing how quickly one can transition from negativity or even despair to a feeling of hope and excitement for what lies ahead. This is the power of a new calendar year.
I, for one, love this time of year. I’m a huge proponent of using the new year to evaluate your wins and losses from the year prior; to evaluate your habits, your mindset, and your vision. It’s essential for setting new and challenging goals that offer the prospect of continued growth. And after all, that’s why we’re here right? To get better. To become the best possible versions of ourselves.
What I find shocking is that, given this passion and enthusiasm to become better and “turn a new leaf,” research from the University of Scranton suggests that just 8% of people are successful with their resolutions. Yes, just 8%. After one full month of a new year, just 58% of people are still on track with their goals. There is a mammoth sized disconnect here.
Now here’s the deal: I’m sharing these numbers simply to inform you. Now is not the time to beat yourself over the head for how your 2017 has started out. There is far too much unwritten to paint your year with a broad stroke. So whether you are still on track for your goals this year or whether you’ve already had some setbacks doesn’t even mater. The point is to not let one bad week or one bad month define your entire year, but to follow a fitness strategy that can help you succeed.
With this in mind, I’d like to share with you the fitness strategy that will set you up for massive success this year and long after we tear 2017 off the calendar for good!
Fitness strategy for a successful 2017:
1. Keep It Simple
This is not to be confused with selling yourself short or playing small. In our excitement to start a new chapter, it’s common for people to focus on too many things. We end up with a list of 25 or 30 resolutions only to end the year with little to none of them being given the least bit of attention. So how do you simplify?
You need to reflect on what is truly important to you. Many of the resolutions we make may look good on paper. They may sound good to rattle off when others ask us what our resolutions are. But are they goals that will add value to the areas of your life most important to you? To help answer this question, try this: Fast forward to December when you’re reflecting back on all that happened in 2017. What would need to occur for you to look back on this year with pride on all that you accomplished? What would fill your heart with happiness and gratitude? These are the goals you need to be focused on. My advice is to narrow it down to 6 for an effective fitness strategy. See strategy number 2 for a template.
2. Strive for Goals that are Balanced
Balance. There’s that word again. Balance is like the elusive unicorn of the English language. How many times have we heard that we need to strike a balance? The truth is that balance is going to look different for everyone. It’s entirely subjective. Luckily, I’m talking about a different kind of balance here.
I believe there are 6 basic areas of life: Physical, Spiritual, Financial, Emotional, Relational, and Mental. Each of these areas feed off one another in that deficiency in one can greatly affect others over time. When setting goals for ourselves, it’s very important that we’re addressing each fundamental area of our life. To truly reach our full potential, we need to be challenging ourselves and improving in each of these key areas.
Be careful of setting resolutions that are heavily tilted towards any one area. For instance, your life may be very sound relationally, mentally, and emotionally, but lacking financially. You may set an aggressive financial goal and be tempted to neglect other areas of your life. Instead, cultivate, draw, and improve upon those strengths to help you reach your financial goal. Make sense?
3. Focus on Processes
This one is very important in your long term efforts of setting and achieving goals. Let’s say you want to lose 50lbs this year. And that’s a great goal by the way! Perhaps you start out the year going to the gym and striving to make better food choices. Maybe you even have a workout buddy, which is also a great idea! At the end of January, you’ve only lost 2lbs, yet you’ve been working so hard. At the end of February, you’ve lost another 4. At 6 lbs down in 2 months, you begin to feel like that 50lb weight loss goal is going to take FOREVER. The more self-doubt creeps in, the less consistent you become. Eventually, you quit.
Now, taken from a completely different perspective, here’s what you accomplished: you worked out consistently 3x/wk with a friend, committed to eating better, created better sleep habits, gained strength, and lost body fat in 2 short months. Suppose your goal was to work out 3x/wk and go to bed earlier? Nothing too exotic, right? But what would your reaction be after 2 months? You better believe you’d be pretty happy with yourself!
The moral of the story is to make a commitment to the processes, or habits, that will lead you to your goal. After all, that’s what you can control. If you stay hyper focused on the outcome, you just may never achieve it. The outcome will take care of itself if you follow your fitness strategy and stay committed to the process.
4. Have an Accountability Partner
This one is pretty simple, but many people fail to secure a source of accountability. In most every aspect of our lives, we’re accountable to someone. Our boss and our colleagues at work, our spouse and children at home, co-members of a club or association perhaps. Yet when it comes to being accountable to ourselves, many of us fall short.
An accountability partner is simply someone that you “check-in” with on a regular basis and review your progress with. Perhaps every Sunday night you have a short phone conversation to discuss your progress from the week prior and what you’re focused on that upcoming week. This simple practice performed consistently over time can very easily be the difference between success and failure.
5. Have a System of Measurement
You can’t improve what you can’t measure. And the feedback we get from measured progress is often a catalyst to keep going. Whatever your goals may be in 2017, be clear on how they will be measured. It does not have to be sophisticated as long as it clearly illustrates your progress. This feedback can also be used to make any necessary adjustments along the way.
Remember that self improvement is a marathon, not a sprint. Commit to processes and commit to being consistent, and just watch what you’re capable of! I wish you health, happiness, and balanced success in 2017!!