I know a lot of people are jumping into New Year food and fitness challenges. Others use the turning of the calendar to re-assess their health and set new goals. I’m not the biggest advocate or adherent to the classic New Year Resolution. Mostly, my hesitation is the mental side of it, which I’ll detail below. However, it always seems like the painful ups and downs mirror the dangers of yo-yo dieting.
That and the sobering fact that about 90% of resolutions ‘fail.’
This topic is of special interest to me as I’ve joined a 30 day challenge that a personal trainer and friend of mine is running at the gym where my practice is located. It’s a pretty classic macros/bodybuilding plan designed to decrease body fat % and (for me) improve on some high intensity cardiovascular fitness. It won’t be easy. I really love the sustainable and stress free way of eating I’ve cultivated over 9 years of going gluten free. Calculating and weighing food is not a long term plan for me. But after having a positive experience with intermittent fasting, I figured this would be a good way to get myself leaner and fitter for the Crossfit Open. (burpees and pull ups are a lot easier when you’re lighter 🙂
So here are a few tips I’ve found helpful in past self-improvement endeavors that I’ll be taking with me into a new one. (Prefer a video? Try my YouTube version here).
1. Know Your Why
I talked recently with noted challenge expert Emily Schromm in episode 55 of my podcast about this. She agreed that being able to clearly define your motivation behind desired change is key. At your very core, why do you want this change? The more important the answer is to you, the more solid foundation you can make choices and changes from.
My WHY is tied to almost everything I do. I take on new challenges because the education I get from them helps me fulfill my ultimate purpose – helping others by educating and clarifying health information in the form of useable resources. Essentially, I test different ways of moving and eating and then report back.
2. Small Change
Most people set themselves up for failure with classic resolutions by approaching them as all or nothing challenges. A very small percent of people might win the ‘cold turkey’ battle. But for most, dramatic change is tough to stick with. It’s the allure of the drastic improvement we crave, but small incremental changes are much more manageable and sustainable. Like my wife always says about the 21 Day Sugar Detox, you can do anything for 3 weeks. And if you try it, no matter what the result, you will learn something.
To illustrate using my current example, in this 30 day challenge my goal is to lose 5-7 lbs and feel fitter during my usual HIIT sessions. I know this is not too much to ask of myself.
Going it alone, especially when it comes to change is hard. Get yourself accountability. This can be a buddy a spouse or an online community. Even better, sign up for something that has built in check ins with others going through the same thing. The sense of community can really help. I always think of that weird movie The Edge with Alec Baldwin and Anthony Hopkins. They decide to kill a grizzly bear and Hopkin’s character preps Baldwin’s by saying “I’m going to kill the bear! Say it! What one man can do, another can do!”
The simple act of two or more people deciding to do something and then keeping each other accountable is powerful. Enough to have bear steaks for dinner, apparently.
Not everyone responds well to outside expectations (read the 4 tendencies for more on that), but for many that added accountability is very helpful. I’m definitely looking forward to sharing the experience, both with my fellow challengers in a facebook group as well as with all of you here on the blog and on social media.
Stay tuned for more!
-Yours in Strength & Health,
Stop chasing pain and wasting your time! Snag my Video Rehab Program The Full Body Fix and take $10 off with a subscriber only coupon and grab my Free Warm Up Manual while you’re at it!
Last modified: January 19, 2018