Fit For The New Year, Fit For Life

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Every year we have the opportunity to start fresh, with a brand new set of days to change our attitudes and tackle our goals. Many people start the New Year with resolutions to embark on diet and fitness programs in an effort to get into the best shape of their lives, improve their health, or perhaps enter a bodybuilding contest. New gym members will pack gyms this month, but the attrition rate will weed out many of these people.

 

If you want to avoid becoming one of those people who abandons fitness goals soon after the New Year, you must commit to changing old habits and clearly define what your immediate and ultimate weight loss goals are. What I see all too often is that new gym goers, or people who are starting back up after holiday binges, pressure themselves to be on their best behavior, but they don’t have a specific strategy in mind. These are the people who usually give up on their fitness goals soon after the New Year out of frustration and disappointment. You must focus on making positive changes for the days ahead, regardless of the baby New Year.

Fit For Life

The most important element of embarking on a successful fitness journey is to make a promise to yourself that the goal is a LIFE goal, and not something you are only doing so that you can fit into a wedding dress, get bikini ready, or fit into your jeans from college. When you aim to reach a fitness goal because you truly want to transform, you will undergo a spiritual transformation as your body changes, and the experience will be much more rewarding, not to mention much healthier, over the long haul.

If you don’t feel that you have enough knowledge to put together a nutrition or training plan, then hire someone to put those plans together for you. A coach will keep you in line, hold you accountable when you slip up on your diet, and be a strong ally in your pursuit of your fitness goals. As human nature would have it, we never push ourselves as much as someone else will. It can be a major confidence booster to have a trainer or coach who encourages you and reminds you of the progress you are making.

Visual Inspiration

I instruct weight management and fitness clients to take weekly or biweekly progress pictures so that they can monitor the subtle changes in their bodies over an interval period of time. What they might not see from week to week can be very dramatic when they compare their baseline photos to photos taken many weeks or months later. Over time it becomes easier to take these progress pictures. Trust me, I still do it regularly myself.

Another favorite motivating tool is the use of inspiring photos. My patients and clients often will mention a friend or relative who has the physique they desire, or they will mention a time in their lives at which they considered their own bodies to be ideal. At the end of the evaluation, I instruct my patients to find at least one picture of that ideal body and post it in a prominent place, either on a desk, bathroom mirror, refrigerator, or car dashboard. The whole point is to create a visual representation of the patient's goal so that it becomes more tangible over time. In addition, the goal becomes more specific.

When I first began competing in 2009, I quite randomly picked a couple of images of female competitors whom I really admired, printed them, and placed them on my bathroom mirror. I saw these images daily and was able to visualize my goal on a consistent basis. I did not remove these images from my mirror until I moved in October of 2012, and when I did so, I moved the images to bulletin boards in our trophy room. What is amazing now is that I have images of myself next to the images of the ladies I had so admired, and you know what? I achieved my goal. I no longer look at the images of these ladies as something to aspire to, but instead look at them as peers.

Whichever methods you use to inspire you to stay on track, be specific and reasonable about your goals, give your body time to transform, and by all means, keep looking at those inspiring photos!