5 Steps to Follow For New Years Resolutions

I teach university students and adults one to two evenings a week in an English conversation class. I keep the class informal and set it up like we are in a café having a discussion.

I use it to speak about topics I am interested in. Last week the theme of the class was “Stress” and one of the questions I asked was “What are some of the things that cause you stress?” I expected the regular ones like money, your job, family, friends and so on.

An interesting one that a few of the students mentioned was making decisions. One girl finished university last year and has to decide what to do with her life. Should she stay in her hometown, move to Bangkok or study further?

All of these are good options but the anxiety arises with the thought that what she chooses will lead to more problems or less success.

If we look at our lifestyle, diet and exercise routine, maybe a lot of us are reviewing the past year and hoping to build on this years success or make positive improvements that we failed on this year.

It is great to have these thoughts about your life but it can be stressful to know what path to take. What to focus on and what to forget.

So in todays post I’m going to list 5 points to focus on when making your New Years Resolutions.

1. Make realistic goals

Do you want to look like one of them “Fitspo“ girls or guys? I think we would all like to have a cover model body but it’s important to realise what it takes to attain that level of conditioning.

A lot of the models you see on websites and magazines are professionals. They can train everyday, they have private coaches and may not have any kids to worry about. A lot of them are also taking illegal substances and they have gone through 2-3 days of carbohydrate and water depletion to get as lean as possible. They may also have years of strength training and healthy eating behind them not to mention favourable genetics.

Now that you know the details you see that 12 – 16 weeks is just too little time to change into one of these specimens. A good guideline is about 1lb of weight loss per week. The heavier you are the faster the initial weight loss will be. So 12 – 16 lbs in the first 3-4 months of 2015 would be a great goal. Along with learning how to do the basic movements safely.

2. Stop looking for shortcuts

Fitness marketing is as mean and shady as it gets. Every week a new website offers a program like “6 weeks to a 6 pack”.

All of these programs offer the same thing, “a shortcut” or the final piece to the fat loss puzzle that you’ve missed. This silver bullet of fat loss. The problem is it doesn’t exist.

If you want to look like a cover model, you got to train and behave like one. Stop looking at your life as a 12 week program. Look at your training as a journey. One that you hope to continue late into your life.

3. Cut out the information

If you google any fat loss, muscle gain or exercise related topic you’ll get millions of options. All offering a different path to the top of the mountain. While a lot of these articles may contain valuable information they also lead to more confusion.

I’m a fitness professional who loves researching all things related to health and performance. It’s my passion and a hobby but even I got overwhelmed and confused at times. There is just to many opinions out there.

When you choose your exercise routine keep it simple and make sure it includes the basic movements.

  1. A push (push ups, bench press, military press)
  2. A pull (rows, pull ups)
  3. A squat (back squat, front squat, pistol squat)
  4. A hinge (deadlift, kettlebell swing)
  5. Abdominal work (plank variations)
  6. A loaded carry (farmers walks, waiters walks, suitcase carry)

When you are looking for nutrition guidelines these 5 rules from Precision Nutrition work great.

  1. Eat Slowly and Stop at 80% Full
  2. Eat Protein Dense Foods with each meal
  3. Eat Vegetables with each meal
  4. For fat loss, eat a majority of other carbs after exercise
  5. Include Healthy Fats Daily

4. Stick to the program

Imagine a block layer who after each block he lays looks up and panics because the house is not build. How much more difficult does his job become?

What if after not even finishing the foundation he packs up and leaves?

Then he moves to another site, starts again only to leave again just after the foundation is built again,

A good block layer carefully lays each block knowing that if he does this part right, things will be much easier later on. He knows that the house will be stable and sturdy.

If you spend your time questioning each exercise and workout or get stressed because the scales have not moved in two weeks, how can you expect to see results. It’s like when your watching the clock time seems to stand still.

Enjoy the process. Wanting to go from where you are now to where you want to be is understandable but remember there are a lot of hours in between these points. Learn to enjoy this process. Whether it’s working out, dancing, preparing meals, eating and recovering. They are all important parts of the journey.

So pick a program that includes the movements above and follow your nutrition plan with confidence. There are always alternative ways to reach a destination but if you don’t follow any path fully you will never get there.

5. Use the 5 Whys

The 5 Whys was popularised by the Toyota company who used this questioning system as a way to find the reason behind any problems encountered.

Here is an example of how we can apply this to a fatloss client.

Lets take Jan who is a 28 years old and wants to lose 20 lbs.

  1. Why? So I can fit into my favorite jeans
  2. Why? I haven’t been able to fit into them for 2 years.
  3. Why? I gained weight.
  4. Why? Binging or emotional eating.
  5. Why? I lost my job and lost some self-confidence and didn’t care about myself or image as much as I used to which resulted in my confidence dropping a bit.

So from wanting to lose 15 lbs we now know the reason why Jan put on the weight in the first place. It was caused from a job loss and lack of confidence. This lack of self confidence is the driving force behind her wanting to lose the 20 lbs. So this is what should needs to tap into every time her motivation is running low.

Wrap up

Every January millions of people set New Years Resolutions with the hope of making a positive change to their life. Unfortunately most of these result in failure. A University of Bristol study in 2007 found 88% of those who set NYR failed even though 52% were confident of success.

So how about making 2015 different?

  1. Make your goals realistic
  2. Stop looking for shortcuts
  3. Cut out the information
  4. Stick to the program
  5. Use the 5 Whys

Question: What is your New years Resolutions? Let me know in the comments.

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