If you’ve made some goals this year (some people call them resolutions) it is now officially the time when statisticians say that 55% of people who set New Year’s Resolutions have quit already.
I am here to challenge you to be in the 45% who have not quit. And if you are in the 55%, then stop, re-evaluate your goals and flip the switch on the odds! Get back in the game and start again. Let me bring you in on a little secret: New Year’s is not the only time you can make resolutions! In fact, you can make one right now. Write out the resolution you started the year with. Didn’t make any resolutions? Great! Write one out right now. Hate the whole idea of New Year’s Resolutions? Fine. Write out a goal, with a deadline. Call it whatever you want to.
Now write out some action steps. What are you going to do in the next six months to achieve your goal? Write down at least 10 things. Now, from that list of things you could do in the next six months, pick a couple of them that you could get started on in the next month. Then choose one or two that you could work on in the next week. Pick one thing you could do in the next 24 hours. Go do it.
Everest isn’t climbed in a day, and the steps required to make it to that massive goal are numbered in the thousands. In fact, you cannot go to Base Camp at Everest tomorrow – it would kill you. You aren’t ready. Everest requires that you set a date for going to base camp for acclimatization to altitude that takes about six to eight weeks of living in a tent on a mountain side. Once you have that date set, then you work backwards from there and choose when you would prepare each step, each step, each step, until you arrive at right now. The first step in climbing Mt. Everest is as simple as calling a guide to inquire about details. You don’t even have to leave your coach to do that.
Let’s take the two of the biggest, most common resolutions and look at them: Get fit/drop weight, and quit smoking.
You said you were going to get fit and drop ‘XX’ pounds this year (that’s your Mt. Everest). You may have joined a gym, or bought some home equipment or started a class. It’s one month later, what happened? Life got in the way. You missed a workout, then another, then another. You got a cold, work got busy, the kids needed you, a family emergency came up, etc, etc. The list is endless. So now what? Restart. Pick the next, simplest step, and get going again. It really is that easy. If you don’t do it today, the likelihood that you will tomorrow and the next drops exponentially. In fact, you could stop reading this and do five push-ups, five jumping jacks, five crunches and five squats. Done! You are now officially back on track. Tomorrow go for a walk for 20 minutes. The next day do 10 of each exercise, and so on. Six months later, life is different.
Smoking. The big goal is to quit right? That’s Everest. Many smokers have tried quitting cold turkey and it didn’t work, so what could you do today that would bring you one step closer that is less drastic and doesn’t require drugs or patches etc.? What if you did this trick — before every cigarette you smoke, you have to drink one large glass of water. That’s it! I mean come on. Anyone can drink a glass of water right? Great! Now tomorrow drink one glass of water before having a cigarette in the morning, and again in the afternoon. Remember, moving closer to your goal may not even resemble your goal. Now the third day, you have three glasses of water, and then four, then five, then six, then seven. Now it has been one week, and you have increased your water intake to nearly eight glasses of water a day. Brilliant! The following week, keep adding until you get to 16 cups a day. Make the rule solid: you cannot have a smoke, unless you have a glass of water.
What if soon, you have your glass of water, and then you don’t feel like having a smoke. Now you are smoking one less cigarette per day, and the water is improving your circulation, muscle tone, and is promoting healing throughout your body. You are starting to replace a destructive habit with a powerful habit. It’s about progress, not perfection, and the only rule that matters, is from the immortal words of Sir Winston Churchill “Never, never, never, never give up.”
Scott McDermott is a personal trainer and owner of Best Body Fitness in Sylvan Lake. He can be reached at 403-887-7667 or check out www.personaltrainersylvanlake.com for more information.