What's Really Important for Achieving Your Fitness Goals

With the New Year often comes self-reflection. What did I do last year? What did I accomplish? And what do I want to do now? After this reflection and pondering the New Year, many will decide that this is going to be the year to get in shape.

Then you pause and think to yourself: I started a workout plan last year and then stopped, and I was so dialed in to my diet for a month and then fell off.

These things are very common. Life gets crazy. You have work, family, friends, a social life, school, and maybe even a partner and kids. Instead of going back to the same old routine you struggled to maintain last year, consider reflecting on why you struggled to reach your goals last year and discover what you need to change in order to set yourself up for a healthy and consistent 2017.

Why Are You Setting a Goal?

The “why” behind your goal is by far more important than the actual goal itself. A strong why often brings emotion, and emotion will bring a drive and passion that will push you to get to the gym even after a long day at work. Your goals could be as specific as totaling a certain amount in a specific weight class during a powerlifting meet, or it could be as simple as getting to the gym twice during the week and learning how to eat a healthier breakfast.

Regardless of how simple or complex your goal is, be sure to ask yourself WHY it’s your goal in the first place and how you’ll feel when you achieve it.

Below are some examples of common whys that motivate a lot of people.

  • To be more confident

  • To look good in a bathing suit

  • To play my sport at the college or professional level

  • To be healthy for my family and kids

  • To stay injury free while playing in my sports leagues

Are You Doing What You Enjoy?

It can be overwhelming looking at the vast amount of fitness and exercise products and classes that are available. If you want to have any chance at being consistent with your exercise routine, you must find something that you enjoy. You shouldn’t dread your exercise time each week. A good gym will create an environment that has you looking forward to walking through the doors, but you must also realize the gym and weight room isn’t the only place you can get fit. For most of us, we just need to MOVE MORE! Maybe you enjoy yoga, spin class, pick-up basketball, boxing or hiking. Find what you love doing and a gym that has a good community; it’ll make consistency become easy.

Are You Building Good Habits & Developing a Good Mindset with Your Diet?

Nutrition can be stressful and information overload is easy to encounter. Should I do the paleo diet? Should I go low fat? Low carb? What is the Mediterranean diet? Maybe I should be a vegan? My friend is intermittently fasting; Should I try that?

Crash diets and elimination diets are rarely sustainable. Even with the science put aside, imagine telling yourself you’re done having pasta, or steak, or dessert. Eliminating large selections of food from your life will more than likely leave you disappointed when your diet is not successful.

Instead, focus on building good habits. Prioritize your portions and focus on eating balanced meals. Create small habits every couple weeks, master them, and move on. If you fall off track for a meal or a day, know that it’s ok because there are many more meals left in the year that you can eat well at.  

Awesome Venn diagram posted by John Berardi of Precision Nutrition on Facebook a few months ago.

Awesome Venn diagram posted by John Berardi of Precision Nutrition on Facebook a few months ago.

Do You Appreciate That Consistent Moderation Is Always Better Than an All or Nothing Mindset?

When it comes to training and nutrition, consistency is the name of the game for reaching your goals. If you aren’t exercising or eating well consistently you may always be chasing your goals. I’ve learned this first hand and have seen it with many others. Going “all or nothing” with an extreme exercise program or diet will leave you injured, fatigued, and unhealthy.

Find balance in your life. It’s going to be much easier to do this when you aren’t obsessing over your workouts or food. There’s no need to beat yourself up when you miss a training session or feel guilty when you have a bowl of cereal.

Look at the big picture. Get on a smart training and nutrition program that has flexibility and allows you to progress at a safe rate. Rushing into a high-intensity program or extreme diet will probably give you good results early on, but will not allow you to be consistent as you roll into the later months of 2017.

If You Have Specific Goals, Have You Spent Time Educating Yourself on How to Best Achieve Them?

Training can get extremely specific. Ask any powerlifter, triathlete, or anybody who has had to train for a big event and they’ll tell you how detailed their training had to be to prep them for competition. Maybe your goals aren’t that specific, but you want to lose 20 lbs. and look better for the summer. Your body still needs to go through physiological changes, and you owe it to yourself to find out what the smartest and safest ways are to make those changes.

Before embarking on any fitness journey, set your goals and educate yourself. Don’t just do something to do it. Have confidence that what you’re doing will lead you to where you want to go.

In Summary

1. Know WHY your goal Is your goal

2. Do things you ENJOY

3. Build good HABITS and develop a good MINDSET nutritionally

4. Consistent MODERATION is always better than an all or nothing mindset

5. EDUCATE yourself

Follow the list above and your chances of health and fitness success will sky rocket in 2017.