by: Jack Flowers – Professional Coach at MadLab Performance
If you’re looking to improve upon your fitness this new year, whether just beginning your fitness journey or picking up where you left off, kudos!
You’re taking a tremendous step forward towards a healthier, happier lifestyle.
Around this time of year, many embark on fitness goals in some way, shape, or form, and nearly as many who start will not continue. Nearly 80% of New Year’s resolutions are not upheld.
I do not present those numbers to discourage anyone’s resolutions. Rather, I do so to present the reality of making positive change when it comes to your health. Unlike some other areas of opportunity, fitness has no “get rich quick schemes.”
If you truly seek to get the most out of your New Year’s Resolution, my best advice is to tamper your expectations, and embrace the journey.
Sounds like a bit of a bummer, right?
My mother taught me to shoot for the stars too – why shouldn’t we take that approach when starting out on a fitness journey? The answer is that we absolutely should, however it is most important to understand the long, grueling journey ahead that is the path toward improved physical fitness and overall health. I feel this key aspect, the overall time it will take, is often overlooked when choosing a resolution. We begin bright eyed and bushy tailed, with dreams of before and after pictures, having made changes to x, y, and z that will supposedly lead us to the Promised Land. In some cases, these changes work wonders immediately! We see brands advertise stories of “this supplement/program helped me lose Xlbs in Xweeks!” This does happen, but most certainly not to the majority of the population. Many individuals are able to achieve progress as they begin their new lifestyle, but after some progress and an initial infatuation phase, motivation wears off, progress slows, and the wheels start to fall off the wagon in a downward spiral of discouragement.
Avoiding this discouragement is critical in staying consistent, one of if not the most important principle in achieving significant change over time in this area.
Speaking from experience, I’ve had wheels fall off at a number of different points
throughout a number of different (unsuccessful) fitness resolutions.
If I could rewind, the first thing I’d do is alter my mindset and expectations going in. It would’ve saved me plenty of mental turmoil, and I’d likely be much farther along than I am now.
To make real change this new year, embrace consistency.
In order to maintain physical health, one must continually work at it. It is very much a ‘use it or lose it’ game when it comes to our bodies. While a month in the gym is better than no time at all… expecting that month to end, having achieved your goals, without having to return to the gym ever, is simply unrealistic. If you truly seek lasting change, changes must last.
It is for that reason why I’d suggest gearing goals and expectations away from overall weight in overall time, and more toward measures of consistency. Think of small steps on the ladder as opposed to enormous jumps. Giules’ article on SMART goals is a great place to learn more.
Physical transformations are not linear whatsoever, so to expect certain results in a certain time frame may be realistic for one body, and unrealistic for another. We all are starting this New Year in entirely different places, and given our varying anatomy and lifestyle, we MUST consider this when starting up a new fitness routine.
My journey isn’t the same as yours, and yours isn’t the same as the next person’s, but we’re all on journeys – where a long period of time is a prerequisite. Do not forget this once motivation fades! If you’re having trouble figuring out exactly where your body is from a physical capability standpoint, or are just curious where to begin your fitness journey this new year, you can click here to ask one of our MadLab Professional Coaches!