New year's resolutions

I think you’ll agree with me when I say it’s really frustrating when year after year you keep making fitness resolutions yet struggle to stay consistent and stick to them.

Unfortunately, you’re not alone ...

On January 1st, millions of people around the World have the same idea of making a fresh start and proclaim a New Year’s resolution (or two or three) that they also don't end up keeping.

Before you continue reading this, I want you to think about:

  1. How many New Year's resolutions you've made in your lifetime?
  2. How many have you successfully accomplished?

According to research, only about 8% of people achieve their new year’s resolutions.

You read that right, it wasn't a typo girl - 8% Gwao.

I dealt with the same problem for years.

I would sign up for the gym every January hoping something different was going to happen "this time around."

In 2014, I finally got the results I was looking for: Abs. Yes, it was a vain goal but alas, it was my goal!

& I’d really like to tell you that it was hard work that got me to change my ways but the truth is that breaking down my habits is what actually got me the results I wanted.

I was finally able to build muscle, get a 6-pack, build my glutes, eat clean and create an enjoyable fitness routine that I could stick to.

In this blog post, I’m going to help you do the same and share the 5 secrets to sticking to your new year resolution(s).

Sticking to New Years Resolutions

#1 Put some skin in the game

If you want to achieve exponential fitness results you need to make a serious commitment to yourself.

It’s amazing how our perspective changes when we have, skin in the game because, without it, there's no value or commitment. Without value and commitment, there is no sense of urgency.

& If you haven't figured it out yet: signing up for another gym membership is not going to be enough.

According to Google:

The term "skin in the game," was coined by one of the World's most successful investors, Warren Buffet.

Having skin in the game means you have a personal investment in a particular undertaking, and therefore a vested interest in its success.

When we’re in a rut it’s because we often think everything is going to work without making any investments.

As human beings,  we have a hard time valuing the things we get for free in comparison to the things pay for.

& oftentimes if something doesn’t pertain to us or gives us deep value or meaning we find it difficult to complete the task.

It's necessary to have a combination of both Financial & emotional skin in the game to stay focused.

Financial skin in the game is effective because of something tangible, like your wallet, your coins, your dollars are attached to it, as well as personal skin in the game that shows a true emotional investment.

Trying to figure it out on your own and pull yourself up by your bootstraps is possible if you have that kind of time - but it will also take you 10x longer that investing in a professional.

As my marketing mentor, Emmelie De La Cruz likes to say, You'll either pay in time, money or with your mistakes.

#2 Execute Small Actions

January signifies a new beginning and another chance for you to take strides towards accomplishing your fitness goals.

However, thinking positive thoughts or “putting your goals out in the universe” requires no action.

The simple thought—the idea that we intend to lose weight or exercise more—satisfies our instant gratification.

In the moment, just thinking about losing weight makes us feel good, yet we don’t actually have to go out and do the tasks necessary to achieve that goal.

Research from the Harvard Business School has demonstrated that making progress, even in small ways, is the key to productivity and happiness.

Once we begin to move towards our goals we gain momentum and each time we hit another milestone or see progress it triggers our brain to keep moving you forward.

One of Newton's Law of Motion states that a stationary object remains at rest until you apply a force to it. But once you set it in motion, the object continues to move at a constant speed until it strikes another object.

We work in the same exact way. Success is about execution.

 "Knowledge is not power. Knowledge applied is power." - Unknown

#3 Break It Down

"I want to lose weight" is a pretty common New Year’s resolution, but the question is how exactly are you going to get from point A to point B?

When I'm working with my personal training clients, my role is to help them to master their health and fitness. I do this by assigning realistic tasks that can be completed each week.

If this week they didn’t master the skill, the following week I re-assign the skill until they become proficient at it.

Although we live in the generation of glorified multitaskers (and I admit - I suffer from this affliction ) there's no point in doing 10 things half-assed when you could do 1-2 exceptionally well. 

According to Inc.com "We sacrifice our power of full presence when we're multitasking, and we do so for a perceived benefit of improved productivity that simply doesn't exist.

Research indicates that multitaskers are actually less likely to be productive, yet they feel more emotionally satisfied with their work, thus creating an illusion of productivity.

This is exactly, what happens when we try to focus on too many fitness resolutions at once.

Let me repeat, "we're not actually accomplishing what we think we are."

In fact, research also shows that multitasking, i.e. trying to do two cognitive things at the same time, simply can't be done--the mind doesn't work that way. Even trying to parallel path a cognitive activity and a more automatic activity doesn't really work.

That's why the National Transportation Safety Board reports that texting while driving is the equivalent of driving with a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit.

We believe we're effective at multitasking when in reality we're good at what researchers call "task-switching".

Earl Miller, a professor of neuroscience at MIT, says we can't focus on more than one thing at a time but what we can do is shift our focus from one thing to the next with astonishing speed.

"Switching from task to task, you think you're actually paying attention to everything around you at the same time. But you're actually not." 

Poor execution will KILL great ideas. So instead of trying to do a complete diet and exercise overhaul in the new year, break down your goals into weeks or quarters. 

The force of habit is powerful.  Any unhealthy behaviors we have, have been developed over the course of a lifetime.  

To keep it simple: Habits are the things we do that have been perceived to be beneficial over time.

The more we execute the habitual behavior, the stronger those neuronal connections in our brains become.

Remember that you didn’t gain the weight overnight and you won’t lose it overnight either. 

Complexity is the enemy of execution, so break it down and keep it simple.

#4 Master Your Mindset

"Do your actions match your ambitions?" - Gary V

A lot of us have the "I would do anything to have that body" yet we do absolutely nothing to have that body - syndrome

If we keep failing miserably at achieving the transformation we’re striving for, chances are there’s a huge disconnect between thinking we want something and the steps we have to take to achieve it.

In other words, our work ethic doesn't match what we say we want.

& the reality with fitness results is that we need to develop the mindset in which we see the goal or the finish line so clearly that nothing is going to stop us from getting there.

To create new habits we also need to focus on creating a new discipline in a new frame of mind.I'm going to share a story told by Simon Sinek, the author of why Leaders eat last to put this mindset shift into perspective. Here's his story :

At Central Park, an association of runners organizes races on weekends. And a weekend, we decided with a friend to participate in a race. And at the end of it, as they are used to do sometimes, some sponsors gave goodies, apples, juice, etc ... And this weekend, in particular, a sponsor offered a bagel. A free bagel. And as you can imagine the scene, there was on one side of the table busy volunteers, and on another a giant queue of people hoping to have their bagel too.

So I said to my friend, "Hey, let's go eat a bagel!"

And he said, "But did you see the line of people, it's too long ..."

I watched him: "It's a free bagel"

"Naaaah ... I do not want to wait," he replied.

"It's a FREE bagel"

And that's when I realized that there are two ways you can see the world: you can see the things you want OR the obstacles to the things you want.

At that moment, I saw only the bagel and my friend saw only the line.

And people who can see the bagel, able to see what they want, then see the size of the obstacles before them decrease.

This gives a real motivation for innovation, while those who see only the obstacle manage to lose the very why of what motivated them at the beginning, paralyzed by the fear or blocked by the challenges.

Some see the obstacle others and others see what they want. What kind of person are you going to be in 2018

#5 Find Your Tribe

 “Man is by nature a social animal.” - Aristotle

Not only do you need to change your mindset to stick to these New Year's Resolutions but you also need to have the right people in your corner.

Among my personal training clients, something I hear all the time is how easy it is to quit when you have no one holding you accountable.

& as humans beings, this makes sense because we have an innate need for connection, and to belong.

In prisons, they know that one of our most primal needs is to be connected to others so one of the worst punishments is considered to be solitary confinement.

Studies show that communities actually motivate us to take action, even when the community is based on something completely arbitrary, such as a birthday or being randomly assigned to a group.

We yearn to connect with others who share our values and priorities and are more likely to reach our goals when we are surrounded by a supportive community.

However, although we're social beings, most of what we do on a daily basis is isolating.

For example: Texting while walking. Scrolling through social media while we’re out. Have headphones on while we're on the train.. so in other words, we're not having as many real interactions with others than we used to.

We then try to use this same frame of mind to tackle our health and goals in isolation which doesn’t make a lot of sense.

If procrastination or a lack of progress has been holding you hostage remember that knowledge usually isn’t the problem.

Typically, the issue is a combination of implementation and accountability.

Because when you harness the power of those around you who are already making healthy choices—friends, family, coworkers, etc.—you’re more likely to make smart choices around food and exercise, too.

 The data bears this out: MyFitnessPal users who have 10 or more friends on the app lose an average of four times as much weight compared to those who haven’t connected with friends.T

Working out with a crew makes it more likely that you're going to get to your goal.You're the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with

Healthy habits are contagious because we tend to mirror the people around us. The power of reinforcement with your support system can be instrumental as you form new habits.

Changing your circle completely changes your circumstances. 

So this year, instead of trying to wing it on your own, ask yourself:

  • Is there a group of like-minded people that you can join?
  • Is there someone who has already achieved a similar goal who can act as a mentor?  Perhaps an online community can offer support?  

It’s not the number in your tribe that leads to more success; it’s the power of the support you get from them that counts.

If you learned something new or want to share a tidbit, please leave a comment below. The comfort zone, is a beautiful place but nothing ever grows there! 💖 — Your digital fitness Mentor, Masiel Encarnación