When you hear the phrase “New Year’s Resolutions,” do you get excited, or do you cringe a little bit? One answer isn’t necessarily better than the other. Some people set goals year round, so the New Year is just another day. For others, the New Year is the time to start anew and determine specific destinations to work toward.
I respond to the New Year with both reactions, making an enthusiastic cringe. On the one hand, I’m excited that so many people are embracing goals and dreams with enthusiasm and vigor, but part of me cringes, knowing that many could fall short of their goals if they don’t have the right approach to achieve them.
Since many New Year’s Resolutions focus on improving fitness, I am here to help you get shredded, showing you how to burn fat, build muscle, increase energy, and feel better.
I wrote my book, Shred It!, to help others understand how to set achievable goals and take appropriate actions to attain them. In one of the opening chapters, I asked six important questions for readers to answer before setting goals. I listed the following precise questions for specific reasons, giving purpose and meaning to not only the goals you wish to achieve, but also to each action step en route to achieving those goals. Think about how these questions relate to you and your current goals:
Question #1: What goal do you want to achieve? Be as detailed as possible in your answer, and find a deep meaning behind it.
Question #2: Why does it matter to you? You can’t just say something like, “to look better.” You have to address the root cause underlying your desires to “look better.” So, why does it really matter to you?
Question #3: What timeline are you setting for your goal? How did you determine this timeline? How does your reasoning match up with reality, science, and your actual daily schedule?
Question #4: What three actions will you take each day to get you closer to achieving your goal? Be specific, and select actions that are truly related to helping you get closer to your dream.
Question #5: How are you going to measure your accountability?
Question #6: How will your life change as a result of attaining your goal?
Were you able to easily answer the questions, or did they require some deep thought? Again, one answer is not necessarily better than the other. Some people think about goals every day, while others haven’t given much thought to the why behind their dreams.
I posed these six questions to help qualify goals and give them context. Anyone can say they want to achieve X, Y, or Z in the New Year, but outcomes are determined by actions, not words. Words get us started, but actions help us find the strength to finish what we start.
When you create your next goal, I encourage you to review this list of questions and take them to heart. It seems that far too often we miss some of the key steps on the road to goal attainment and are left wondering what might have been. But, that was then, and this is now.
This year, things are different. This is the year that you clearly identify and define your health and fitness goals with passion, and resolve to achieve them with a detailed action plan.
When you attach deep meaning to the goals you strive for, you are more likely to attain them, and you can assess your progress all along the way. Forget holiday meal recipes for a moment; this is the recipe for goal attainment:
Transparency + Accountability = Consistency, Adaptation, and Success.
The New Year can be a powerful time to set new health and fitness goals because you will naturally have a support network of others aiming to achieve their health and fitness success, too. Joining a club, team, or group of people who are working toward a similar goal is one way to help you stay consistent and accountable.
Achieving your fitness goals doesn’t have to mean spending time in a crowded gym in early January if that is not your interest. Consider your favorite types of exercise. Joining a meet-up (use sites like Meetup.com) to find others who share a similar athletic interest is a great way to connect with people who enjoy the same activities you do. If trail running, mountain climbing, skiing, or playing basketball is your hobby, chances are good that there are others out there who enjoy the same activities and are looking for people to share those experiences with.
“Strength in numbers” is a common expression in athletics, and it could also ring true for you, as you ring in the New Year with a new set of resolutions and a group of people to help keep you on track. Whether the start of a new year is just another day in the office, or you’re the type of person who lays it all on the line on January 1, use the tips outlined above to make this year one to remember. If even the sound of the words, “New Year” makes you cringe, I hope you can at least cringe with a smile this year, knowing you are better prepared to achieve resolutions. You can do what you set your mind to, and now you have the tools to follow through.
Let’s get shredded this year!
Robert is the best-selling author of Plant-Based Muscle, Shred It!, and Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness, 2-time champion bodybuilder, and founder/president of Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness – www.veganbodybuilding.com.