Make Your Resolutions Stick. Finally.

It's Time to Bury Your Fitness Failures
 
It's no wonder resolutions feel like a joke to most people. Unachieved goals, promises that peter out, the sparkling motivation that hits a roadblock or fades after just a few weeks of consistency.
 
If that sounds familiar, I don't blame you for not wanting to try again. Because the hope and excitement that come with starting will always lead to disappointment when you fail.
 
But take heart. Bury the defeat in your past. Because it's not what you're about, and there really is a way to make healthy behaviors stick. 
 
The problem is, most people start trying to make big changes before giving these goals enough thought. They jump the gun. 
 
So stop resenting the idea of setting big ambitious goals or New Year's resolutions. It's not that you can't succeed, it's just that you need to straighten a few things out in your head before you get started.
 
Hear me out first, think about what I'm going to tell you, and then decide if you're ready for lasting change.
 
The Foundation of Success
 
 
It's the groundwork before the work.
 
To change your behaviors permanently you must first change your attitude. To change your attitude you must first change your perception. To change your perception you must first change your awareness. Awareness is your starting point.
 
Some people do this groundwork without even knowing it. They build unrelenting determination. They figure this shit out and succeed. 
 
Now it's your turn to do the same. 
 
Step #1: Become Aware 
 
 
Start with becoming aware of your circumstances and the need for change. Why do you want to improve your diet? Find something deeper than just seeing the scale go down, or fitting into a smaller pair of jeans. 
 
A recent study was done on West Point cadets and their graduation rate. The ones who were extrinsically motivated were more likely to drop out. The cadets who were intrinsically motivated were more likely to graduate. 
 
Extrinsic motivation might be what you say motivates you -- but in the long run it doesn't hold a candle to your inner drive, and the things within you that'll set your heart on fire. 
 
Scale weight and pant sizes are extrinsic motivation. Sure, celebrate those when you do well with them, but don't make them your driving force getting you to the gym or inspiring you to eat well. Because they'll fail you in the long run.
 
To gain intrinsic motivation, figure out how changing your behaviors would change you as a person, and why that change would matter. Answering a few of these questions might help you dig a little deeper:
 
Would you be less of a push-over, and develop a stronger sense of character if you built a stronger body? 
 
Would you become emboldened to do more with your life if you took control of your fitness? 
 
Would you become more capable of taking care of your family or your job requirements if you felt fully capable of taking care of yourself? 
 
Would you live longer, get around more easily, be a better role model, and respect yourself more if you got your shit together health wise?
 
Would your sense of self worth depend less on other people's opinions if you knew for a fact that you were a badass with your fitness? 
 
Would you require less validation from other people if you earned more self respect through consistent training and sound nutrition?
 
Would taking control of your fitness help you fight addictions that make your life worse? 
 
Would it prevent you from following in the footsteps of loved ones who haven't mastered their own fitness?
 
See how inconsequential and stupid pant sizes and scale weight are compared to these big-picture things? 
 
Before you think about all the outside things you'd like to achieve with your fitness, become aware of why they might be important to you in the first place. Become aware of the things that would change your life. 
 
Arbitrary numbers trivialize the big things that fitness can do for your life. Don't let your motivation hinge on these numbers.
 
Step #2: Change Your Perception
 
 
Your perceived roadblocks aren't as bad as you think. From healthy eating, to time management and the gym itself. Your perception of all that needs to be revamped. 
 
Perception Change 1. Realize that you don't have to be a monk with your diet or a ninja with your fitness. Just start with the basics. Start with clearing your diet of the most obvious crap. The details will come later.
 
There are ways to have nutritious food available when you're in a jam. But you have to think ahead and put in a tiny amount of footwork to have those healthier options available. 
 
Healthy eating is exponentially easier for those who cook. The benefit of mastering your kitchen is appeasing your appetite for delicious stuff with food that's healthy. You'll never have to feel deprived if you know how to cook.
 
 
Effective training is less complicated than you think. And the newer you are to it, the easier it'll be to make fast progress. Look for a program with basic weight training movements for beginners. Start with what's simple. Then expand after you've mastered it. Get a good book, like The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding.
 
Perception Change 2. Start questioning the things you perceive as roadblocks. The more you see them as such, the less likely you'll be to overcome them. 
 
Lack of time? Lack of energy? There are ways to schedule workouts around your other priorities. Single moms with kids and jobs are able to do it. You just have to look harder for opportunities.
 
Perception Change 3. Don't let your insecurity become what keeps you out of the gym. Don't let your own prejudices become a barrier for your health and fitness. 
 
Intimidated by the other people who go to the gym? Get over it. Scary looking people go to the store. Scary looking people go to the airport. Yet they don't stop you from shopping or flying. 
 
Here's something ironic: You, as a beginner, are far more judgmental than the regulars at the gym. 
 
Why? Because we've seen it all and you're nothing special. But, you, walking into the gym for the first time in a long time will be on high-alert. And you have pre-judged us. You think we’re concerned about what you're doing or wearing? We aren't. 
 
Just do your thing, and ask us if you need any help. Because we're a lot nicer than the assholes you made us out to be in your insecure mind.
 
 
Got any other perceived barriers? Question the hell out of them. Then entertain the opposite of what's been rattling around in your mind. Because your mind has probably been holding you back.
 
Step #3. Change Your Attitude
 
 
It's your outlook. It's how you feel about the changes you want to make, and your willingness to do so. It's the final step driving your effort. 
 
If you have a defeatist attitude, then you won't consistently put forth the effort to get shit done. Thinking that you have to accept your circumstances, and that you're a victim who has no power to change, is a defeatist attitude. If that's you, snap out of it.
 
If you have an unrelenting attitude then not only will you get shit done, you'll exceed your expectations. 
 
 
Think about adopting that kind of outlook. It's the one that makes you seek answers when things go awry. It's the one that makes you do the searching, learn the stuff, read the books, and test things out instead of gathering secondhand information from other people. Your fitness is not their responsibility. 
 
It's the kind of attitude that makes you show up at the gym with a plan day-after-day even on days you're feeling timid. 
 
Does that sound like too much? If so, then your attitude isn't where it needs to be for you to make permanent change. 
 
Your determination to figure shit out when it's new, hard, and scary is a sign of how long you'll stick with it when it ceases to be new, hard, and scary.
 
Yes, fit people know how to make their fitness more challenging and more effective, but it's never as daunting as it is when you first  decide to start. You'll never have to go through that getting-started hump again if you face it and overcome it. But you have to have the right attitude for it. You have to have the balls.
 
Ready? Or Not. 
 
What's your answer? If you've worked through these things, you may have realized you're not really ready to make a commitment. 
 
Maybe it feels good to play a victim and you'd rather stay put and wallow than overcome your circumstances. Or maybe doing some research, reading a couple books, or preparing healthy meals feels like too much work for you. That's okay. You're not ready yet.
 
But if you are ready, and you've thought through these steps, then there's not a lot that can hold you back from achieving your goals and resolutions. 
 
Just realize that if you're wanting any major changes to stick, your awareness, perceptions, and attitude need to be on your side first. 
 
Your thoughts need to be your advantage not your downfall.