It’s that time of the year again, the one where we are still full from our Christmas eve dinner and Christmas day lunch and already feeling guilty about our diet (we’re guilty too) and how all of that must change in 2017. That time of year that is also a bit darker and a bit colder, depending on where you are in the world, so it might come more natural to reflect upon what 2016 has brought you and how you want to change that for the best moving forward.
Even if 2016 might have been your best year yet, and we truly hope it was, the human mind has a tendency to drift more on the negative bias end of the scale. We would argue that the whole notion of a “new year’s resolution” would probably never exist if that weren’t the case. Needless to say, we felt a big urge to write this article.
Our lives are made up of many different facets and the year that is about to end may have affected you in many different ways. Maybe you suffered a heartbreak, the loss of a loved one, didn’t get that job promotion you were working so hard or still didn’t manage to achieve that body and overall wellbeing you so desperately crave. Whatever it is that you want to focus on, our below advice applies to it all.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
You might have heard this saying or you might have heard the saying “it’s a marathon, not a race”, either way, you get the point. When it comes to achieving meaningful long-term gains, especially if you embrace an active lifestyle or plan to do so in 2017, you need to set small, measurable and sustainable goals.
Perfect example? I want to lose 10% body fat so I will finally be able to see my abs and feel my best confident self. That’s great, well done you. However, what is likely to happen is that you will work incredibly hard for a few weeks, exercise every day (no wonder January is the month of the year where gyms make the most money), start seeing some improvement but not enough, get upset, quit and you’re back to square one. Not sustainable.
Solution? Try: I want to lose 10% body fat and will do so by exercising 3 times per week (set separate goal for this), by eating clean (set goal for this) and by losing 2 to 3% of body fat per month. Much better right? Break down the big goal as molecularly as you possibly can. It will feel less daunting and will dramatically increase your chances of success.
Find a close friend or partner and make each other accountable.
This is incredibly powerful, especially if you are lucky enough to have a very close friend or a significant other (or both) with whom you can share goals and ambitions without any shame or fear of being judged. Even better, if this other person shares the same or similar goals, you both automatically find yourselves on the same path. Find a system where you can track your progress and set a time once a week or once a month where you can review everything together. Motivation spikes guaranteed.
Reward yourself along the way.
Let’s say you’ve clearly laid out a big goal into smaller goals and have found a way to track everything and a person with whom to share progress with. Make sure that you reward yourself, every single time you hit that small milestone leading to the bigger one. If dieting is your goal, allow yourself one full day a week, or a few meals throughout the week, where you can binge on your favourite junk food until you feel sick. Not only will this make said food taste even better, but you will enjoy it more as the reward system in your brain will be altered.
Read the title again until it sticks.
This is the most important part of this article, which we hope will inspire you. Chances are you will get frustrated along the way and could potentially hinder the progress. Embrace that, it’s perfectly normal, as long as you pick yourself back up quickly, using the above advice, and continue moving forward. A temporary hiccup is no bad thing, the bad thing is daydreaming about it all the time without even attempting it once.
We wish you all the very best for 2017,
sportmetix Editorial Team