By Tia Norris, February 2016 Issue of Echo Magazine in Phoenix, AZ.
In the fitness industry, the third Monday in January is called “Blue Monday.” It’s “blue” because history shows that 90 percent of the New Year’s resolutioners in the gym will catch a serious case of “gym blues” within three weeks, and start to disappear.
New Year’s resolutions, in fitness, piss me off. Now, I’m not saying that people’s hearts aren’t in the right place with wanting to “get in shape,” to “lose weight” or to “eat healthier,” but the biggest problem with most New Year’s goals is that they are, in most cases, so ambiguous and imprecise, that they are ultimately useless, and will inevitably set you up to fail. Without question.
If you really want to make a change, you’ve got to start by setting better goals. The key to fitness is having a rock-solid plan, so here’s my three-step approach to succeed with fitness, that’s ideal for any time of year:
1. Get Specific
The top priorities on a new fitness venture are figuring out what you want and how badly you want it, let’s say on a scale of 1 to 10. Now, say it with me: “what do I want, and how badly do I want it?” FIGURE IT OUT.
Now be honest with yourself. If you’re at 7 in terms of motivation, accept that, and then also accept that 7 effort yields 7 results. Are you OK with a 70 percent, which is the equivalent to earning a D? If yes, then you need to move to the next step and figure out exactly what that looks like for you. If you’re not cool with a D average, then step your game up and prepare to work harder than you originally thought.
From here, you’ve got to be precise! Set your crosshairs on your exact target. I’m looking for a number on the scale, a dress size, a 10-rep max back squat, a percentage of body fat – anything specific. And then, once you have that figured out, set a realistic date by which you plan to achieve it.
Yes, the “A” word. Everyone needs more accountability when it comes to fitness, including myself. Here are some of my best pieces of advice:
• Hire a trainer who will not only keep your appointments, but can also teach you ways to achieve goals more completely and efficiently (I know a really good one).
• Tell your family and friends what you’re doing. Tell people who are also into fitness. Try to check in with them often and talk about the good and the bad of the process.
• Write everything down. Keep track of what you’re going to do, when, how much, how often, etc. I can’t stress this one enough. Writing your goals down will breathe life into them!
• Carve out 15 minutes each day for time to contemplate your goals and progress. The biggest killer of any fitness program is a perceived “lack of time.” Create consistent, quiet mental time and space to check in, plan and prepare for your program.
• Change your phone background picture, your desktop picture or any images that you see regularly into “fitspiration” to remember what you’re working toward. Whether it’s the biceps of your dreams, someone who inspires you or even just the number you’re shooting for, this will constantly remind yourself of your purpose. Make it inescapable, but don’t tell bae that you swapped the selfie of you two making out, to someone else’s abs.
3. Reality Check
Last but certainly not least, accept the fact that this is not going to be easy. The reality is that nothing worth having is easy. I know that sounds cliché, but please, let that statement sink in for a second. This is not going to be like skipping through a field of tulips on a sunny day with a basket of strawberries to the Sound of Music.
Yes, some days will be doable and your energy will be high. But there will be days where it just downright sucks, and you would rather be doing anything else, and you’re tired, or stressed, or sore or whatever … but remember why you started and how badly you said you wanted it. Hang in there!
For added motivation, just remember that bikini/board short season is technically only 12 weeks away. So, whatever goals you set for 2016, now is the time to get specific, accountable and realistic about them!