I want to start off by saying that every single tip in this article is not a magic pill, it’s not a magic answer, it’s not a magic protocol. What is in this article are the actual things that hold people back from their goals.
What prevents people from reaching their goals, more often than not, is self-sabotage. We believe we have it harder than everyone else, we believe our situation is never perfect, we believe there is something other than ourselves preventing us from being where we want to be. But I am here to tell you, it is always on you.
Don’t have great genetics? Still on you.
Don’t have a lot of resources? Still on you.
Don’t always feel motivated? Absolutely on you.
Hell, I would even say, if there is something in your life you can’t fully control, take ownership anyway! When we take ownership, we can induce the power of change. When we take ownership, we stop blaming our genetics and find what works for us. When we take ownership, we become resourceful. When we take ownership, we don’t have to feel motivated 24/7 to get the job done.
So, this article is about you. Let’s cut out the self-sabotaging and bullshit excuses and start owning it. Below are my top-5 tips on how to get your head out of your ass so you can actually conquer your resolutions this year.
Tip 1: Stop thinking you are special
Let me explain. Far too often I see folks get hung up on finding the “perfect” training plan, the perfect nutrition protocol, the perfect yoga pose that will only work for them for whatever reason. For example, you may say things like this:
“No diet has ever worked for me! My metabolism must be slow.”
“I’ve been eating in a deficit for six months and haven’t lost a pound. Macro tracking doesn’t work.”
“I’ve been following this plan for two weeks and nothing is happening. I need to do a different plan.”
If you are a coach, I apologize if the above phrases triggered any PTSD. I know, we have heard it all.
From my experience working with clients for over 12 years, I can tell you about only five percent of people need an out of this world, unique plan of attack. Usually, it is due to a severe genetic factor, predisposed issue, hormone imbalance, etc. In this case, these folks are typically being treated by a physician. Most people do not have the level of severity for these things to require a magical plan or advanced protocol! For a lot of folks, thinking they need something outlandish to see any results is simply a scapegoat and a form of self-sabotage. They are actually afraid to fail and be seen failing by others, therefore giving themselves a way out. It is an excuse. Chances are, you are not special. You just need to buckle up and adhere to something for more than three days.
Tip 2: Stop hanging around shitty people
Let’s paint a picture: You come from an overweight family. You were always overweight as a kid, everyone in your family is overweight, it is the norm for you. However, you are now 32 years old and already have high cholesterol and high blood sugar, you feel like shit, and you are fed up. You want to make a change and better your health and how you feel about yourself. So you hire a coach, empty the garbage food out of your house, and purchase a gym membership. You are extremely motivated and want to reach out to your family for some encouragement. However, when you do, they say:
“What are you doing that for?”
“You are a fine husky man! You don’t want to be skinny!”
“Ugh, are we gonna have to eat different around you now? How annoying.”
“Guess you’re not coming to Thanksgiving!”
Sound familiar? It does to me. I have had clients deal with issues like this from their asshole families for years. I’ve had clients feel immense anxiety even going on vacation with their families because traditionally, it is an all-out binge fest and they didn’t want to partake but know they will be teased and made fun of the whole time.
Let’s paint another picture: You just finished up your freshman year at college and it was a blast! However, you stopped playing sports because, well, high school is over. You also lived in the dorms, so no more homecooked meals which meant chow hall pizza and McDonalds most days. And you are a student at a small campus where everything is close, so a lot of the time you are sitting in class and not walking much. Let’s not get started about the weekend. Let’s just say your alcohol tolerance has increased quite a bit. So, before you knew it, you’ve gained 25 pounds in nine months! And on top of that, so did all of your new college friends and roommates. But you are ready to make a change. Right before summer break, you commit to 1: No more drinking, at least not three days in a row. Let’s cut it to one for now. 2: Getting in three workouts a week. 3: Taking time to meal prep and eat better. You are motivated and ready to go, so you excitedly tell your roommates and this is how they respond:
“Dude you sound like a girl. You (Insert expletive).”
“You’re gonna give up drinking? HA, okay.”
“If you make our house smell like shit with fish and broccoli, I’m gonna beat your ass.”
“You trying to be a bodybuilder or something? That’s laughable.”
So, I think you can guess how successful these two folks above are going to be with their goals. Probably not very. If this sounds even remotely familiar to your situation, my answer is this: Stop associating yourself with shitty ass people. I do not care if they are your family! That doesn’t mean you have to disown them, but limiting your interactions with them might be the best thing for your future. And let’s be real, when people in your life do not have your back or your best interest in mind, it says a lot more about them than it does about you. I truly believe we are all a reflection of the five people we spend the most time with. If you hang around pieces of shit, you’re going to be a piece of shit. If you hang around positive go-getters, chances are you will gravitate towards that behavior.
Tip 3: You have to develop a strong and truthful purpose
What is your WHY? Why are you setting this resolution goal in the first place? Is it to look good for an upcoming vacation? Is it to look better for your wedding? Is it to impress your coworkers? Is it to get back at your ex-boyfriend?
If any of those ring a bell, guess what? Those are super shitty WHY’s and there’s a solid chance you will fail. So, let’s talk about why that is. First, all of those goals are extremely superficial and extrinsically motivated, meaning they are for other THINGS or other PEOPLE. Not yourself. A strong WHY is a purpose. It is an intrinsic motivator. It is strictly for yourself. Some examples of strong WHY’s are:
“I want to feel more secure. I lack self-confidence and I know I can be a better me.”
“I am scared about my health. Diabetes runs in my family and I want to be different, I want to be healthy.”
“I want to feel strong and empowered. I know that reaching my physical goals will cross over into other areas of my life.”
See the difference? You know what also makes these WHY’s better than the first? They aren’t referring to a date, event, or future impression. They are referring to lifelong change, not short term gratification.
Tip 4: Do not expect it to come easy
For most people, reaching a fitness goal is not easy. If any company/organization/person promotes that ideology, they are selling you a lie for a quick buck. The process behind the goal is typically easy, but the execution is not. Let me say that again, the process behind the goal is typically easy, but the execution is not. Execution is not easy, but it is required. Your current habits and lifestyle are what is keeping you where you are at. Therefore, if you are not willing to execute new habits, be prepared to stay the same. And changing habits is the part that is not easy. Humans are creatures of habit, good and bad. We justify behavior even when it doesn’t make sense or benefit us. We do this in all areas of our lives. We do it to our bodies, we do it at work, we do it in relationships. For some reason, we expect that changing our current habits and executing new ones will not trip us up, but it will. So, you need to be prepared for that.
How, do you ask?
First, make a list of all the habits you need to change. And keep it simple, say five things tops.
Second, pick one to start with and focus on it solely for a month. Execute this new habit with ultimate attention.
The next month, add one more habit. And so on, and so on. Adding one habit at a time, albeit it does not happen quickly, will allow these habits to become second nature rather than a chore.
You probably noticed this simple protocol is a five-month endeavor, which brings me to my second point in this tip which is time. It takes time! Just like building new habits is not easy, neither is being patient. Lack of patience is a top goal killer. What most people think will take them eight weeks to achieve usually takes them six months. But no one wants to hear that. Sorry, it’s true! You did not gain 50 pounds in eight weeks, so you sure aren’t going to lose it in eight weeks.
Expect your goals to come with a challenge. Expect your goals to present you with adversity. Expect your goals to push you out of your comfort zone. The more you change your expectations on this, the easier it will actually become.
Tip 5: Actually believing you can do it
These days, people’s self-belief in themselves just straight sucks. Everyone is a victim, everyone has a million excuses. It is literally exhausting and mind numbing as a coach to see this day in and day out. I like to think of myself as a pretty empathetic person, but I can tell the difference between someone who actually struggling mentally versus someone who is hosting a pity party. Both of these types of people have self-belief issues, but how you address it is completely different. So, you have to be honest with yourself here. Dig into WHY you are scared of your goal because this all comes down to fear. Some people have strong limiting beliefs that sets them back and some people struggle with an upper limit mentality. Also, pay attention to who you are surrounding yourself with. Do they believe in you? Lastly, are you playing the victim card more than you should? Are you just making excuses? Either way, belief in yourself is something that is necessary. If you don’t actually believe you can do it, I assure you, you never will.
At the end of the day, the only person who is going to get you to your goal is you. It’s not me, it’s not your spouse, it’s not your coach; It’s you. Embrace the fact that you have complete control over how you are spending your time, who you are spending it with, and what is going in your mouth. 2020 is the year to put our big kid pants on and make shit happen already.
Header image credit: maridav © 123rf.com
Image credit: Marek Uliasz © 123rf.com