It’s this time of the year again. People all over the country are making their New Year’s resolutions. Millions will sign up for a gym membership or some online training program.
Some will promise themselves that starting January 1st, they’ll stop eating junk and drink less alcohol.
Fully motivated and excited, they will start the new year, but they will return to the old patterns and habits by the end of February.
Gym memberships will be forgotten, and promises be broken.
The sad reality is this: about 80% of all New Year’s resolutions fail.
So why is that? Why do so many well-intentioned decisions to lose fat and get healthier made on January 1st fail to materialize?
You haven’t changed your mindset
Albert Einstein once said: “We cannot solve a problem on the level of consciousness that created it”
Any change in your life needs to start with the changing of your mindset.
Here’s what I suggest you do to change your mindset: instead of thinking about what you want to do next year, think about what you want to be. Become that person you want to be. Adopt the mindset of someone who eats healthy food. Adopt the athlete mindset and make it your identity.
I know this is not a small task and easier said than done. But this is a crucial step forward to changing your mindset.
You’re treating a marathon like a sprint.
You may have been there before. You go all-in with the decision you made. You’re highly motivated. You start a demanding training program and a new crash diet all at once. You get burned quickly and slip back to the old patterns. Look, I understand. Tempting crash diets that promise to lose “50 pounds in 50 days” are all around us—also training programs that promise you the “Fight Club Brad Pitt” body in 3 months. But reality comes to slap you in the face sooner than later.
Instead: Don’t try to change your life overnight. You’re in this for the long run, and you want this to be sustainable. It is much better to be 70% or 80% in than entering the roller-coaster of going all in and out over and over again.
You know your what but not your why
It’s easy for most people to know what they want to achieve, but they don’t really think about the reason behind what they want. So let’s say you decided to lose fat and get fitter in the coming year. But have you spent some time figuring out why this is important to you?
Be specific about your why. Whether you want to get healthier to keep up with your children, or to gain more energy in your life, or even if you do it to look sexier in your underwear – whatever it is, spend some time and imagine it. Make it clear and vivid in your mind.
You don’t have the support system to keep you accountable.
The change and goal you want to achieve will require long-term, sustained actions. They will need that you go out of your comfort zone. Sometimes way out.
Most people can’t do that without any social support. You need outside help. Someone who sees your blind spots and brings them to your attention. Someone who can encourage the best in you and call out the sides in you that sabotage your success. Someone who can provide an honest and straightforward mirror to yourself. It can be a friend or a family member, but these days you can find support online in groups of like-minded people. Check out our Men Over 40 Health and Fitness Facebook group, where we support men over 40 in their health and fitness journey.
You don’t have a clear and detailed plan
So you got inspired at Christmas, and you decided you’re going to lose 50 pounds in the next year. Great!
Now what? What does that even mean?
Most people don’t define their goals well enough and spend enough time on an action plan.
You need to break down your goal and define it more precisely. It would help if you also had a roadmap to achieve it. So let’s look at the “50 pounds” goal I mentioned above. Instead, it may look like this:
“I am going to lose 50 pounds of body fat and retain my muscle mass. I’m going to do that by changing my diet and apply a training program that will sustain that goal.”
Do you see the difference? Of course, the action plan should be even more detailed than this, with timeline and detailed steps to achieve the primary goal.
A way to simplify this is the SMART method. Make your goals:
You set the bar too high
We all have ambitions. We want to look a certain way. We want to be as strong as that guy we saw on Facebook (who is older than us!). But many times, we’re not realistic about our goals. They’re simply out of our range of possibilities (at least for now).
Be honest with yourself and make your goal achievable. Set easy goals!
Once you achieve them, continue, and set another goal. It’s much better to achieve goals in smaller increments and to move slowly and patiently to the bigger goals in the longer term.
Like I said before, it’s a marathon. Not a sprint. To sustain this marathon (which is the rest of your life!), you have to be patient.
Make a lifetime resolution!
I want you to take the whole “New Year’s Resolution” idea with a big grain of salt, to be honest with you.
Gaining control over your health is not a holiday or an event with a specific date. It’s not something that pertains to a particular year, and it doesn’t have an end—only a start.
Don’t wait for January 1st to make your resolution. The time to make it is always NOW.
And after you make it once you keep making it at any given moment of your life. In every lifestyle choice you make.
This is the process. And the best you can do is embracing it!
Please share with me what you think in the comments below!