The 12% — How to be in the successful minority.
How to turn your New Years Resolution into a meaningful fitness goal.
88% of New Years resolutions fail.
This is a sad fact as it outlines how many people aren’t willing to finish what they start.
We set ourselves resolutions because we aren’t satisfied. We want to change for the better, but for whatever reason the vast majority of us struggle. Life is short, you owe it to yourself to be in the 12% that aren’t satisfied with being unsatisfied!
This blog post is written to help get you on the right track to success in 2015. We are going to keep it simple and will focus on the most basic element of a New Years resolution. This isn’t about deep science to confuse you, everything we say should seem reasonable and logical to anyone, regardless of their knowledge or ability level.
A resolution is another term for Goal Setting.
It’s not sexy, but it’s easy and has an awesome return on the amount of effort you need to put in. It is amazing how many people fall short of the basic principle of clearly defining what it is that you want. Figure it out and you are a step ahead. We don’t provide training and nutrition plans for people without goals for that very reason.
The problem with a lot of fitness based resolutions is that they aren’t specific enough. In order to clarify what the actions to success will be you NEED to know exactly what success will look like.
‘I want to lose weight’
‘I want to have bigger arms’
These types of goals don’t cut it. You could have a round of food poisoning from an undercooked Christmas turkey and lose weight in the time it takes to throw up! You could do some bicep curls, get a blood pump and there are your bigger arms.
None of the above are meaningful, none will have you satisfied and neither are sustainable. The blood pump will fade and the once empty stomach will be filled again.
So how do we refine our thoughts into a clear cut goal?
We put fitness goals into the three categories that we commonly deal with. This is the first cut in defining what you what.
Category 1 — Increase Performance
This is the aim to have the ability to accomplish a task. For example, someone who wants to do a pull-up, deadlift their bodyweight or run 5k none stop etc. Goals based around the rehab of an injury or an increase in mobility would also fall under this category. One of our favourite success stories was coaching our client Nabil, who after a suffering a nasty accident, aimed to be able to walk up the gym stairs without using the handrail. It took time and a lot of hard work, but he did it. Goes to show that not all performance goals are about smashing huge weights!
Category 2 — Fat Loss
An aesthetic goal is based off your body composition. Note that the word is ‘Fat Loss’ not ‘Weight Loss’. We are targeting fat specifically. No one wants to lose the ‘weight’ that moves your bones and gives your body its shape- muscle!
These goals will be based around measurements, fitting into clothing etc. This would also apply to those looking to be more ‘toned’ as this appearance tends to come from creating muscle definition through fat loss.
Category 3 — Muscle Gain
Again, an aesthetic goal based around measurements. This doesn’t always mean you are aiming to become muscular. Women in particular can be scared by this category and needlessly so. Training for muscle gain creates that ‘shaping’ effect we here so much about long before you will look like Arnold Schwarzengger.
For all of the categories, why you want to accomplish the goal is vital in accomplishing it. How will you feel when you accomplish it? How will it effect other areas of your life for the better? These reasons will be different for everyone. Regardless of why, make sure you are passionate about your desired result. Keep it in the forefront of your mind and it makes the actions required to accomplish it easier. It provides the discipline that makes you do what needs to be done, even at the times you don’t feel like it. Even if the reason seems daft, if you aren’t happy — make a change.
Now you know why you want to achieve your goal, let’s form it into something more manageable.
We mentioned earlier that most goals lack direction. The best way to create that direction is to throw a number on it.
How much fat in kg/lb do you want to lose?
How much muscle in kg/lb do you want to gain?
How many kilos do you want to be able to deadlift?
How many inches do you want to take off your waist?
What dress size do you want to fit in?
If you aren’t able to exactly distinguish what you want, you are being too vague. ‘Healthier’, ‘curvier’ or ‘lighter’ don’t mean anything without measurable amounts that you can assess. Without this kind of specificity how will you know if you are successful?
SET A TIMEFRAME
This will hold you accountable and provide little markers to ensure you stay on the right track. Putting a time limit on the goal ensures that you are progressing efficiently, it can add that need to get out of bed and train on a Sunday morning!
Timeframes are also good at creating some short term goals. For example, if your goal is to lose 10lbs of fat in 10 weeks, you should have roughly lost 5lbs in 5 weeks. If you haven’t, you can make adjustments so that you aren’t blindly waiting for success. It’s the process of Act, Evaluate and Adjust. By breaking your goal down like this, you make it more manageable.
This can be a bit tricky, as sometimes it requires a bit of knowledge to evaluate the variables of how much muscle or fat you could put on/lose in a specified amount of time. Do your research or drop us an email at info@bearwolftraining for answers. A lot of the time, it will rely on where you stand currently in relation to that goal. If your aim is to run a marathon in 4 weeks when you currently have trouble running a mile, you need to scale back. We aren’t saying get rid of the aim to complete a marathon entirely, just don’t rush or you will get frustrated when you are walking mile 2 with a hell of a lot more to go!
ALWAYS focus on quality rather than quantity. You can drop weight pretty quickly if you cut your food intake by 50%. However, these results aren’t sustainable, go back to eating normal and the weight shall return just as quickly as it vanished. Not to mention the possible health issues from cutting out a large amount of your food intake. Unfortunately, these kind of results sell magazines, personal training, equipment and nutrition products. Thats why the industry markets them so heavily. If you want to be happy and fulfilled for the long run, take your time and do it properly!
The next factor is looking at how achievable the goal is to you. It may be realistic that the goal can be accomplished, but do you think you, in your current frame of mind and lifestyle, will complete the actions required to make it happen?
MAKE SURE ITS ACHIEVABLE
This comes down to how important your goal is to you and how it falls on your priorities. If you want to lose fat but drinking 10 pints every few days is part of your social lifestyle, we would consider that you are putting the booze in higher priority than the goal. Either find a way to scale back the counter-action so that it no longer prioritises your goal, or find a way to scale your goal back and re set your expectations to something achievable.
When it comes to assessing how achievable a goal is, knowledge and/or application tend to be the elements that hold people back. In other words ‘not knowing what needs to be done’ and ‘not being able to execute what needs to be done’.
For example, if your goal was to complete your first pull up. You may be lacking in knowledge on what exercises you should be doing or how often you should do them etc. In this case, research or asking an expert is your best bet.
Lets say you know what needs to be done. However, fitting those actions into their lifestyle could also become quite a challenge. In these circumstances we would suggest you scale the actions back so that you can complete them, even if it will extend the time you wish to achieve your goal by. Remember that a good plan that you do, will beat the perfect plan that you don’t do. You need to be utterly convinced that you can accomplish this goal and be willing to do whatever it takes to truly succeed. Set your mind to success and you will dramatically increase your chances of succeeding! Push yourself and you will reap the rewards.
Lets apply what we have discussed.
Write down the answers to the following
1.) What category does your goal fall under? Increase performance (if so, what task would you like to accomplish), fat loss or muscle gain?
2.) Considering your current position in relation to your goal, specify the measurable amount you wish to progress.
3.) When do you want to accomplish this by?
4.) Is this goal realistic?
5.) Do you have the knowledge to accomplish this goal? (if the answer is no, you need to find out!)
6.) Will you be able to apply the knowledge to your current lifestyle? (Make sure this is a definitive YES)
Now you have your goal! Congratulations, you are a step closer to being in the 12%. Now lets look at what you can do to ensure victory!
SET PROCESS GOALS
Process goals are based off the actions required to hit your fitness goal. These could come in the form of:
‘Im going to go to the gym four times a week’
‘Im going to log my food for 5 days in a row’
‘Im going to spend 10 minutes a day stretching my hamstrings’
They are all seemingly simple tasks, but they can make the difference between success and failure. Think about the factors holding you back, what simple action will combat that factor? Focus on one thing at a time and build a habit from it by doing it consistently over a short period of time until it becomes something that you just do! This helps create a lifestyle that facilitates your goal.
HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE
Once you set your goal, tell someone about it that will hold you to it. Be it a coach, friend or family member they can help keep you in check. Some people place bets as a method to hold them accountable — whatever keeps you disciplined, do it.
The requirements are good hard work and the honest application of progressing your thoughts and goals into action!
At the basic level of exercise, there needs to be an attitude adjustment. People are always looking for the easy way out and making excuses to facilitate this thought process. The fact that you are reading this would indicate that you have rejected seeking shortcuts and are looking for a way to channel your hard work into the correct avenues.
Before you get started on tackling your goal- Believe this!
Other people may have certain genetic advantages or situations that allow them to get in shape easier than you.
‘He can eat whatever he wants and stay lean!’
‘His arms are huge and he barely trains!’
‘She has more free time than me so she can train more!’
Good for them, if none of the above apply to you — tough! Does it mean you can’t be lean, you can’t be muscular, you can’t make the time to train? Definitively — No!
There is no excuse without a solution
People who hit their goals can have busy schedules, families, genetic disadvantages — They just want it more, so they ‘out-work’ these situations. The moment you realise that these things won’t come easily, the sooner you can apply yourself, work hard and achieve what you want. Don’t be satisfied with being unsatisfied!
We hope you have found this information useful and that you are able to apply the knowledge to accomplish your goal. It’s time to be in that 12%
If you need our help with your goal be sure to visit www.bearwolftraining.com, we put out plenty of free advice on a regular basis. You can also send us direct messages through our Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are looking for more, be sure to use the code NEWME15 and get 20% off all our services until the end of January 2015.
BEAST IT! HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!
You can download this post as an ebooklet here.
Ben, Scott and James