Resolve To Do Nothing...Sort Of
Yes, the New Year is now here! Many of us resolved to do things like lose weight, exercise more, do this, do that. But what will happen to those resolutions? By the end of January, maybe as late as February, those resolutions go by the wayside.
As a fitness professional, I see many people start out their resolutions with great enthusiasm and commitment. However, quite often, they let it go before they have a chance to effect a change of any real significance.
What’s the reason? That’s the $64,000 question. Many of us, when we resolve something, really mean it this time. But along the way we start to feel that it’s either not a reality, or we feel that we’ve gotten at least part of the way to our goal and we can relax a little. Well, here’s what I resolve: I resolve to do nothing…sort of…That’s right, I said nothing. And here’s my reasoning. Resolutions go by the wayside, because they are sudden and unrealistic goals. We resolve to make sweeping changes in our lives without laying down any of the groundwork, or setting attainable objectives.
In my professional opinion, the most effective way to make lasting changes is to start out small. What’s the first thing you do when you build a house? You build the foundation. Well, resolutions are essentially the same way. You have to start small and then build on that.
Now, even with 10 plus years of experience, I’m not saying that I know what to do in every case. What I am saying is that to make wholesale statements about what I am going to do is not necessarily a reality. If I am going to work out more, first I try to get myself into the gym or out the door to train once or twice a week for, say, one hour. After having achieved that on a regular basis, I up the ante. I get into the gym or out the door to train for 1hr three times a week. After that maybe its 90min two to three times a week. AND each workout has a purpose.
I see so many people in the gym or on the road on the first Monday after the New Year that I have never seen before. These people have good intentions and are determined to reach an advanced level of fitness and health. But by the end of February or early March they are no longer around. Most often the reason behind this is that they haven’t reached their goal in record-setting time. And at this point they give up.
With that said, recognize that setbacks may occur. And that’s okay. The key is realizing that along the way (because we are human and we are making changes in our normal routine), sometimes we will lose focus or stray from the path. The trick is maintaining that focus and getting ourselves back on track.
Attaining your fitness and/or health goals is like climbing a mountain. You may lose a few steps along the way, but you’re still higher than you were when you started. It’s important to remember that, like most things in life, the path is not always a smooth ride. There are twists and turns that are unanticipated and will slow us down, but if we are patient and deliberate we will ultimately reach our end goal.
It sounds corny, but it’s not necessarily about the goal; it’s about the process. Cycling, health and fitness are lifelong pursuits. Our bodies and lives are dynamic. Therefore goals are constantly evolving. Even the most highly trained athlete is always trying to achieve the next level. Perfect health and fitness is hard to define.
So give yourself a break! When you lose focus or fall short of the goal, look at what went wrong and ask yourself “what are the changes that need to be made to get back to where I want to be?” Here are some tips:
-First, set short term, reachable goals as well as long term goals.
-Second, write down these goals and put them in a place where you can see them everyday. Repeat these goals out loud to yourself every morning and night. Never mind the fact that anyone who hears you saying this out loud may think that you’ve truly tipped over the edge, just do it! Affirming your intentions in open air goes farther than you’d think.
-Third, when your short term goals have been met, set the next set of short term goals that will help you towards your long term goals. As you get further along the continuum of success, treat yourself with small rewards to positively reinforce the behavioral changes that you’ve made.
The combination of setting realistic goals, reassessing your progress and reaffirming your commitment will help you to make the healthy lifestyle changes that you can maintain for a lifetime.
Ainslie MacEachran is the owner and head coach of www.geminitrainingsystems.com and www.orchardsathleticclub.com
You can follow Ainslie on twitter = Cycle_Coach_Ace