Happy 2023! Let's kick of the new year with ten tips that will increase the probability of you achieving your fitness, health, and nutrition goals.
- Set a goal. You cannot hit your goal if you do not have a goal. Sound silly but doesn't make it untrue. While it might be hard to figure out if it is a sensible/right goal, don't overthink it. Set the goal and start working towards it.
- Set a longer timeline for your goal. Most goals that I've seen are quite ambitious. And that's a good thing. Straightforward goals are not going to do the job. But the converse of this is setting a timeline that is not congruent with the goal. For example, if you want to lose 25 kilos / squat double bodyweight / do 10 pullups etc, and you set that goal for January - the problem is with the January part. Instead, set the timeline to be later in the year, say September.
- Break the goal into milestones. How do 10 pullups translate over 9 months? You could have the goal as "30-second hang" as the January goal. You could have "be able to do 10 sets of 30-second hangs" as your February goal, and so on. Having milestones allows you to take your ambitious goal and break it down into bite-sized chunks.
- It is not going to be easy. If it was easy, it wouldn't even feature as a problem. Set your mindset from the get-go. This is going to involve a lot of hard work. It is not going to be complex but it is not going to be easy. Life is going to get in the way. You are going to have hard days, difficult days, and bad days. You are going to have failures.
- Progress is not going to be a straight line. Even if you keep putting in adequate effort, results are not going to follow the pattern you have in mind. This is not a mechanical item. You will see results. You will plateau. You will slip back a couple of steps. Expect it. Keep at it.
- Talk to someone who has done it and get their opinion. They can tell you what to watch out for. They can tell you what derailed them. And how they tackled a certain issue. Get their opinion. And contextualise it for yourself.
- High-five yourself. Celebrate every small victory. Celebrate showing up. If you celebrate only the results, you will be celebrating too little. Showing up to the gym requires celebration. High-five yourself (yes, literally) at the start and end of your session.
- Find a partner / community. It is much easier to have (at least) one more person on the journey. They'll pick you up and motivate you when you are down. And you do that when they are down. Stick to being positive and supportive. No criticism, self or otherwise.
- Have fun doing it. It will all come crashing down if you are not enjoying the process. If you are not celebrating if you are not high-fiving if you are not cheering yourself and your partner on, you will be sending bad juju to yourself. And it will show up in a drop in motivation.
- Have a plan. Goals and timelines are great. You need to have a concrete plan that breaks down these goals and timelines. What are the actual things that you need to do? If you want to "lose 25 kilos", it requires you to "eat better". This translates into many actions, some of which include "have a weekly menu" and "throw all the junk into the trash." So, draft the plan.
- Keep the plan the plan. Here's your bonus tip. Keep the goal the goal. Keep the plan the plan. Don't tweak. Don't improvise. And definitely do not add more to it. While goals might need tweaking and plans will need improvisation, wait. Every month, you can look at this analytically by seeing your milestones, the effort you can put in, and all that. Changing plans every week or daily is a recipe for disaster.
Remember, this month is going to be you have a high level of motivation and drive. But this is not going to continue for the rest of the year. And that's fine. Expect it. Plan for it. Prepare for it.