If you made some New Year’s Resolutions for 2012, make sure they don’t suck. Be incredibly specific with your goals so that you can actively plan what steps are needed to achieve those goals. Alternatively, if you somebody that NEVER succeeds at your goals, instead try making a new habit every 30 days…put the focus on the habit and not the goal.
Whichever method you decide, it’s important to be deliberate in your actions:
- If you are setting goals – be SUPER SPECIFIC, write them down, and plan them out.
- If you are making new habits – add them to your calendar, set phone alarms or alerts, and do them EVERY DAY.
- Understand that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and Optimus Prime didn’t transform in one move. This is NOT a diet, or a quick fix, but a LIFESTYLE CHANGE. Don’t expect overnight results, or abs in two weeks. Slow, steady progress.
2) Identify your kryptonite. If you tried to get in shape in the past and failed, it’s important to know WHY. Did you get sick and give up after a few days? Did you go on vacation and say “why bother?” Maybe you just got bored? If you sucked at getting in shape last time, educate yourself on the hurdles and kryptonite that made you suck, and work on either avoiding those pitfalls or develop methods to deal with them.
3) Clean up your diet. Believe it or not, 80% of your success when it comes to getting healthy will depend on your diet – unless you are running marathons on a daily basis, you cannot outrun your fork, and you can’t out-train a bad diet. I honestly cannot stress the importance of this enough. Whether you want to count calories, cut out certain foods, or attempt a new diet all together, this is the most important step you can take:
- Start here: How to eat healthy – yes, it’s a long read. But it covers the basics and teaches you what to eat and not to eat.
- The Beginner’s guide to the Paleo Diet – my preferred diet of choice. Not for everybody, but it works.
- Short on money? How to eat healthy without breaking the bank.
Now, most people suck at eating better because they try to make TOO many changes at once, their stomach freaks out and they run back to their comfort foods. My advice? Pick one food change every few weeks, and stick with it. Whether it’s eating less calories per day, drinking one less soda, eating more vegetables or cooking your own meal once a week…small changes can lead to big successes in the long run.
4) Find an activity that makes you happy, and do it all of the time. Do you like to run? Awesome, do that (just do it right). Do you like to lift weights? Awesome, make sure your workouts don’t suck. Maybe you like yoga, or dodgeball, or Ultimate Frisbee, or rock climbing, or whatever! If you tell me that “I don’t like to exercise,” then you just haven’t found the activity that makes you happy yet.
We’re genetically designed to be active. If you don’t like to move, then it’s time to try new things until you find something that you DO like. Sign up for a new class, join your company’s running club for a day, try out something in your basement or living room, just keep trying new stuff until you find something that you like. And then do it as often as you can.
Remember, your diet is 80% of your success or failure. Exercising regularly will help you build muscle, strengthen your heart, lose weight, increase your endurance, stamina, and/or flexibility. On top of that, regular exercise keeps your mind thinking healthy, which in turn will keep your stomach thinking healthy, which will cause your mouth to want to continue eating healthy foods. It’s the circle of life, sucka.