Do you know the significance of January 17th in relation to your health and fitness goals? This day in the middle of January is the most common day that people around the world give up on their New Year’s Resolutions. We set goals we claim to care about, give it an effort to try to achieve them over a two and a half week period, and then wait another eleven and a half months before setting new goals. The cycle repeats itself and goals remain out of reach and we get discouraged. This cycle doesn’t have to continue. Things can change for the better, today.
January 17th has faded off into history - have your New Year's Resolutions faded too? Where do they stand midway through the first month of this New Year? The way I see it is that our behaviors become our habits and our habits dictate our outcomes. If we want to change our outcomes we need to change our behaviors in order to develop new habits.
From my twenty years of experience as a vegan athlete, specializing in setting and achieving goals, here are some tips I have to share with you today:
1) Contrary to the popular notion of beginning a new quest to achieve goals on January 1st, I encourage people to start work to achieve goals ‘right now.’ Don’t wait for a Monday, or for the first of the month, or for the weekend to pass, or for any other special day. Every day that you delay working toward a destination you care about you delay the eventual achievement.
2) Understand that success and achievement don’t happen overnight, and in the areas of health and fitness, they certainly don’t happen in two and a half weeks for most goals. Fitness should be an everyday endeavor, not a brief experiment that ends abruptly, leaving you feeling unfulfilled. Consistency is key. The most important thing you can do to ensure you put yourself in a position to succeed is create habits that support your endeavors, and engage in positive habits regularly.
Consistency leads to adaptation, adaptation leads to improvement, and success follows.
3) Document your training and nutrition plans to know what you’re really doing on a daily basis in order to have an understanding of your current habits. Having this data to evaluate will help you make any necessary changes. How often are you really exercising? How healthy is the food you’re actually eating? I believe these questions really matter and play an important factor in the big picture of your health and fitness status.
4) Stay the course. Giving up is the easy thing to do, but it doesn’t feel very good and it doesn’t lead to positive results. Keep moving forward.
Always move forward. If you see others who need some encouragement, reach down and pick someone else up. You’ll both feel better as a result.
5) Make fitness fun. If it isn’t fun, you’ll find other things to do with your time. Find something you truly enjoy and engage in enjoyable forms of exercise regularly.
6) Eat good food. Healthy food doesn’t have to taste bland or be unappealing. Try new plant-based whole foods and include your favorite staples. If you’re looking for suggestions, I suggest foods such as sweet potatoes, mangoes, lentils, beans of all types, brown rice, oats, blueberries, and use resources such as www.forksoverknives.com for recipe ideas.
7) Don’t be too hard on yourself or too easy on yourself. If you only take weekends off from exercising and following healthy eating habits, understand that is 104 days out of the year, nearly 1/3 of your time. We all need rest days, but if you take a couple days off during the week and take weekends off you will be spending 4/7 (more than half) of your time working against your goals. Don’t get discouraged if you miss a day here and there, but realize that actions compound and produce relative consequential results.
8) When you set goals, establish a support network of close friends or family, or others who can help keep you accountable. Transparency and accountability will be two of your greatest allies in your quest for improved health and fitness, seeing you through to achievement of your New Year’s Resolutions or any other goals you set for yourself.
9) Believe in yourself. That’s all. Always believe in yourself.
10) When you achieve a goal, set a new one while you’re on a roll, calling upon your enthusiasm from your latest success to act as a source of motivation and momentum.
January 17th has come and gone, but your goals are waiting to be achieved. Is it in you? Follow your passion and make it happen!
- Robert Cheeke, best-selling author of Shred It! and Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness, 2-time champion bodybuilder, and founder/president of Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness – www.veganbodybuilding.com.