Every year, on New Year’s Eve, millions of people around the world make a list of New Year’s resolutions… commitments they make to better themselves in the year ahead.
Topping the list of the most common resolutions?
Exercise and weight loss.
In fact, nearly 50% of Americans make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight and get in shape in the upcoming year.
And 2013 will be no different.
After all, if you’re like the rest of us, in the last couple of weeks you’ve consumed gobs of Christmas cookies, candy canes, and holiday drinks.
You’re probably feeling that roll around your middle (you know, where you’d abs should be) more than ever right now.
And you’re finally ready to do something about it.
But it’s not that simple.
The curse of the New Year’s weight loss resolution
When I used to work at a gym as a personal trainer, January was by far the busiest month of the year for sales.
In fact, the club manager used to tell us that January could make or break our entire year of sales commission.
But there was just one catch—we had to get our clients to commit to more than just those first few weeks of training with us, or they would not only fail to commit to any more sessions with us for the entire rest of the year, they would most likely fall off the fitness bandwagon altogether.
Because here’s the sad truth: most people who commit to losing weight and getting in shape on New Year’s Day will fail.
And unless you do something entirely different than last year, you probably will too.
How to guarantee you won’t keep your exercise and weight loss New Year’s resolutions
There are several ways to pretty much guarantee you won’t succeed at keeping your ‘get in shape’ resolution this year.
Here are just a few of the ways you can ensure your failure:
- Make totally unattainable goals.
- Fail to make a plan.
- Allow yourself to constantly make excuses.
- Plan to do really long workouts.
- Make sure your friends and family don’t support your goals.
Most people are very, very good at all of these. And unless you’re different, you probably are too. But it’s not helping you.
How to actually succeed this year
According to this site, nearly one in four Americans who make a New Year’s resolution will fail.
Every single year.
About 50% of people who make resolutions will have infrequent success.
And only 8% of those making resolutions will actually succeed each year.
But it’s not as impossible to succeed as it might seem. In fact, you already have a head start at success just by making resolutions at all. According to statistics:
People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.
10 times! That’s pretty good.
So how can you do it? How can you actually succeed at your New Year’s Resolutions this year?
Start by doing exactly the opposite of what will make you fail:
Make realistic goals
Setting unrealistic goals is the fastest way to not follow through on your commitments.
Your goals should be challenging, but ultimately attainable.
So if you love to eat, setting a goal of sticking to 1,300 calories a day is probably unrealistic for you. So is a goal of fitting into size two skinny jeans if you’ve always had a pear-shaped body, or looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger if you’re currently shaped more like a bean pole.
Instead, try to pick goals like limiting the amount of sweets you eat each week or working toward a lower body fat percentage.
Goals like these won’t be easy, but they are realistic—and that can make all the difference.
Make a plan ahead of time
We’re all so busy these days, if something doesn’t make it onto our daily schedule or to-do list, it’s not going to happen.
That’s why you need to start planning ahead. Decide how many days a week you actually plan on working out, then actually schedule your workouts in your calendar—just as you would with any other appointment.
Put them in a time slot that can’t be changed. And make sure to treat your daily workout just as you would any appointment—as non-negotiable.
Of course, if you know things are destined to come up, you can always build in a buffer day or two just in case something happens and you’re forced to reschedule.
Get rid of your excuses
There will always be times when you’re feeling exhausted, or overly stressed, or just don’t feel like working out and want to go do something else instead. Even I have days like this.
But no matter what, you can’t give in to your excuses.
No matter how tired you are, how much you’ve got going on in your life, even if you have a slight head cold or drank too much the night before—you can’t let that stop you.
Keep going. Keep your momentum, no matter what. It’s only 12 minutes, after all.
Keep your workouts short
Want to know the real reason why I first began developing these workouts?
Because if they weren’t short, I wouldn’t do them.
As a personal trainer, I used to spend an hour or three working out in the gym—6 days a week. I quickly grew bitter and angry about how much of my life I was wasting in the gym, and my choices were clear: I either would end up quitting exercise altogether, or I had to find a different way to work out.
Soon I discovered HIIT and the benefits of working really hard for a short amount of time. The rest is history.
Make sure your loved ones support you
There’s nothing worse than committing yourself to a healthier lifestyle—than finding out too late that your family and friends aren’t exactly supportive of your new goal.
This especially affects spouses, who may not be excited about your new resolution to eat kale in every meal, get up at 7:oo am even on weekends and swap out your family TV marathons for long hikes or bike rides.
So before you commit to your fitness resolutions this year, go tell the world you’re going to get into shape!
It’s not easy committing to a healthier life, so it’s important to surround yourself with the right people who will encourage and support you along the way. Get their support, and invite them to embark on the journey with you.
Now, it’s my turn
After all this talk of New Year’s resolutions, it’s probably only fair that I post my own resolutions so I won’t be able to make any excuses not to accomplish my goals. So here are my New Year’s resolutions for 2013:
- To do a freestanding handstand (right now I can only do one against a wall)
- To do 10 pull ups in a row
- To be able to do 50 double jumps with a jump rope in a row (my current record is 19) and to start adding them to my workouts
- To reach a greater audience with 12 Minute Athlete in order to help more people with their fitness goals than ever before
- To meet, in person, more influencers and people I admire like Tim Ferris and Seth Godin
- To use the learning principles in Tim Ferris’s The 4-Hour Chef (aff. link) to learn j-Query, tennis, and Muay Thai kickboxing
That’s all I can think of for now. I can’t wait!
Now’s your chance to kick 2013’s ass
It’s up to you now. You can either make 2013 your fittest, healthiest year ever…
Or you can let your fitness and weight loss New Year’s resolutions fall by the wayside, just like they do every single other year.
So what will you choose?
Good luck. And of course, Happy New Year.
Image credit: stockfreeimages.com