It’s 2019. New Year, new you? Right?
Probably not. We’ve always thought New Year goals aren’t the best idea. Just because a few digits changed on the calendar, your life won’t automatically turn around!
And given that we’re already in the middle of January, there’s a chance you may have given up the gym already.
But don’t worry. You probably haven’t set up your goals correctly. So how do you get motivated and keep it? Forget about any regrets you’re having because there’s always time to turn your fitness around. Let’s explain how you can do just that.
These are our top five rules for a fitness-focused year:
Rule #1 – Set Input Goals, Not Output Goals
Um. What the heck are input goals?
Let’s explain output goals first – they’re simply the result you hope to achieve:
“I want to lose 10lbs.”
“I’d like to finish a marathon in under 4 hours.”
“I’d like to do 20 press-ups in a row.”
Fine. But none explain HOW YOU’LL ACTUALLY ACHIEVE THEM.
That’s what input goals do. Let’s take the first example of losing weight. Losing weight (assuming it’s excess belly fat for most people) is usually the result of healthy exercise, diet and sleep habits.
Here’s how input goals look in practice:
“I’ll wake up and exercise on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 7AM, for a minimum of 20 minutes.”
“I’ll only keep healthy, non-processed foods in the house and eat porridge every day for breakfast.”
“I’ll be in bed by 10:30PM every night and will only start my day once it’s past 6:30AM.”
Notice a trend? There’s no pressure placed on the outcome, because for most people habits are what really get you the best results. This means you commit and schedule things to complete in advance, usually at a certain time in the day.
Even with the sleep example, see how there was no mention of actually sleeping? You just commit to being in bed for 8 hours. That doesn’t mean sleeping for 8 hours.
Rule #2 – Focus on The Type of Person You Are, Not What You Should Be Doing
Of all the obstacles you could face in life, you are your worst enemy. Self-help books serve a purpose, but they don’t always address how to talk to yourself, enable positive action and achieve your goals.
But this is vital to understand, particularly on days when you’re feeling subdued. Here’s what you can do: when you’re tempted to veer off track, remind yourself of your strength of character.
“I’m the type of person who perseveres through struggle.”
“I’m the type of person who sees every challenge as a learning opportunity.”
“I’m the type of person who does hard things, even when I don’t want to because I know I’ll be better off after.”
Granted, this is easier said than done. But it’s remarkable how a simple mindset shift can have such a big impact over the course of months and years. Next time you catch yourself getting sloppy with your habits, just remind yourself of the person you are.
Rule #3 – Cut Yourself Some Slack (But Not Too Much)
Rule #2 can be difficult to sustain every day. And that’s completely fair. Sometimes, life gets in the way and events outside of your control slow your progress. But only sometimes.
The most critical period of any behavioural change is the day you skip what you should be doing.
Once you skip it, it becomes far easier to excuse yourself the next day, and the next, and the next…we’ve all been there.
There are two things you can do to address this:
- Revert to Rule #2 and get back on track immediately
- Build slack into your plan
Regarding the second point, if you commit to working out on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday every week for three months, chances are you’ll have to skip one of those days.
So, schedule it in advance. Take every third Saturday off and reduce your cognitive load. It’s a great way to minimise stress and avoid obsession.
Just don’t slip into making it every two Saturdays (then every Saturday) by applying Rule #2. Equally, if you’re a task-master and hate zero slack, that’s fine too.
Rule #4 – Burn Your Ships if You Need To
Believe it or not, burning ships has a useful lesson that applies to your fitness routine.
In 1519, Hernán Cortés, landed in the New World with the aim of conquering the Aztec Empire. What was his first big decision? He ordered his 600 men to burn all their ships.
But it meant there was no turning back. They had to wholeheartedly commit to their mission. The temptation to return home was no longer a distraction. It was succeed or die.
Obviously, this is an extreme and you needn’t put yourself at risk of death to stay fit. But there are some things you can do to help you stay on track (some are quite eccentric!):
Burn Your Clothes – yes, another burning example. For those who hate the idea of reverting to their former selves, burning clothes can be a good idea.
Put Up a Large Forfeit – believe it or not, there’s an app called Beeminder that automatically sends money to an organisation you despise. Only if you fail to reach your goal in time though. Still, it’s a big incentive!
Get Others to Hold You Accountable – If you share your goals with other people, they’ll be disappointed if you don’t achieve them. And you’ll likely feel guilty for not impressing them. Even better, you can hold each other accountable if your friends have goals they’d like to reach.
Rule #5 –No Points for Being A Lone Wolf
Finally, fitness doesn’t need you to be a solo warrior or lone wolf. You’re allowed to let others help you. Go to group classes, hire a personal trainer, try audio fitness… all are great options.
Adding a social element to your fitness routine can be crucial to sustaining motivation. There’s a primal satisfaction to working hard amongst a group of friends. It’s one of the reasons CrossFit has been so successful.
But with the internet, this connection needn’t be physical. Finding supportive groups online can be all the encouragement you need. Great fitness-related podcasts can be really helpful too.
Now, we’re not expecting you to follow all these rules at once. In fact, it’s probably better to focus on one to start.
Pick the one you feel you need the most right now. This will help you start off on the right track to get motivated and keep it longterm. And if you ever get stuck, just let us now and we’ll be there to help.
Want to try Auro as part of your fitness focused year? Click below for a 30-day free trial!