2020 is coming and some of you will use the new year as an opportunity to begin a weight loss program, career change, or some other self-help kickoff. Good for you. No seriously, you should be proud of yourself for having the courage and self-awareness to recognize you need a change. A lot of resolutions fail though, in fact most of them do not survive the end of January. I don’t want that for you. How can we improve your odds of success in 2020 and help you avoid backtracking?
If you have the means, hire a coach. Attending group classes is not the same as hiring a coach. Joining a CrossFit/ functional fitness gym is not the same as hiring a coach. It is better than nothing, but your results can vary widely. You’re going to get a generalized workout and nutrition plan that works most of the time for a lot of people. Group class coaches are doing the best they can in an imperfect setting to help as many people as they can. You need a specific plan and course of action based on your specific goals, body, abilities, and mentality. YOU WILL NOT GET THAT in a group workout! At the least sign on for an online subscription program. You’re going to get a much more customized approach.
Make yourself accountable, publicly. There’s nothing like the fear of public shame to get you out of bed early and into the gym. Do you know why group classes are so popular, because you often develop of group of friends and fellow class attendees that help keep you motivated and accountable. Set a goal on social media and set a penalty if you fail, something mildly embarrassing or make a good-natured bet with your friends. Better yet get them involved as well and make it a light hearted competition.
Hang out with people who share your goals. If fat-loss is your goal the worst thing you can do is continue hanging out with people or in situations that are going to make it easy to backtrack or fall off your program. Food addiction is real and just like you wouldn’t want a drug addict to hang out around people doing drugs, you need to limit your exposure to foods and environments that might cause you to over eat or lose control. This isn’t for the rest of your life, just while you develop the metal discipline to avoid foods that may derail you. There’s a mental aspect to this as well. It is imperative that you surround yourself with positive uplifting people while you set out on this lifestyle change. Those unhappy negative people that never have anything good to say, cut them loose. You don’t need that kind of crap in your life and they’re only going to resent you for what you’re trying to do.
Now is as good a time as any to stop eating garbage. Just because it’s the holiday party season doesn’t give you licence to pig out. This “I deserve it,” mentality is what’s making America the fattest nation in the world. You don’t deserve anything! Children think that way, children operate on the falsehood that somehow the world is and should be fair. You’re an adult, and you know the truth. Don’t fall down the rabbit hole of entitlement. You never deserve to fill your body with sugar and alcohol that not only damage it in the short term but only increase your odds of poor health later in life. Your body certainly doesn’t deserve to be treated like garbage. It’s the only one you have. Be a grown-up and make grown-up decisions. If you’re around piles of unhealthy foods at parties, either eat sparingly or don’t partake at all. Better yet eat a healthy meal before you arrive to limit your cravings. Limit you alcohol intake. I can’t count how many otherwise healthy men I know and have coached that bust their ass in the gym and eat healthy all week long only to blow all that away every weekend with drinking. If you’re overweight at all and trying to lose bodyfat, alcohol and sugar should NEVER be on the menu!
Finally take a deep breath, pull out your calendar and mark a date 12 months from now. That’s the minimum time frame you should be prepared to dedicate to changing your life. I’m dead serious. There are a lot of reasons people fail at their attempts at getting in shape; unreal expectations are right there at the top. We as consumers are sold shortcuts and quick fixes at every turn and no industry is more notorious and insidious about peddling mistruths than the fitness industry. This will not be quick, there are no shortcuts only work and more work. There will be times when you want to quit, and go back to doing things the easy way. Your willingness to push past those moments of temptation determine the real success. Know what you’re getting into ahead of time and you will be better prepared when things get tough and progress seems to stall. This is one time in your life when you want to focus on the journey and the path, not the goal. I promise you if you dedicate yourself to doing the work, the result will take care of itself.