This one came out at the beginning of 2017. It’s still relevant for newcomers to the gym life, though.
This one is for all of my fellow fitness fans who are starting the new year off right, hitting the gym for the first time and working on that new healthy life. Welcome! It’s exciting to get started off on that path that so many of us have traveled before, including myself. It’s time to make a new you in 2017.
As you’re getting started on this journey, I want to point out that roadblock you’ll be approaching very soon. You see, I know how exciting it feels to get started on a new path; we want to do ALL THE THINGS and feed that fire until it burns hot and bright. The truth is, what burns hot and bright at the beginning has a tendency to burn out quickly.
The Frenzy Strikes Back
We talk a lot about the frenzy that comes over us when we first join any new lifestyle. It’s that sudden urge to upend your regular life and experience everything this new life has to offer. The exact same thing can happen when you first start off on a healthy lifestyle.
You see, we overestimate our ability to transform life on a dime. Starting at the gym and eating a healthy lunch are excellent steps towards a new lifestyle, especially for losing those pesky extra pounds. At the same time, it’s important to manage expectations and take a measured approach to getting that healthy life. Otherwise, the same pattern of “frenzy, then failure” will pop up again.
When I was 100 lbs overweight, I tried several times to straight up overhaul my life for better health. I would throw out all the crap food, tell myself that I’d hit the gym every day, and get really excited about the new me that was going to emerge. 2008 was MY year! 2009 would do it! I will crush it in 2010! That excitement would last about 2, maybe 3 weeks–just long enough to realize that the new balls-to-the-wall lifestyle overhaul wouldn’t work again. I finally made my new lifestyle stick in 2011, though it wasn’t with a massive overhaul out the gate.
Baby Steps – the First 90 Days
The best tool that I’ve ever found for resisting the frenzy lies in having a short-term plan. Sketch out a simple plan for where you want to be 90 days from now. Do you want to lose 30 lbs or run a 5k? Write about how that looks at the end of the short 90 day run. A 90 goal means that our goal stays in sight at all times, though it’s far enough away that we have to stretch ourselves to reach the finish line.
Write out where you want to be in 90 days, then determine a new baby step that you’ll take each week after that. The idea is that each new habit has just enough time to set in before you start building on the next one. I’ll link to an example of a Baby Steps plan here.
Resist the frenzied flurry of activity brought on by your new years resolution. Small, measured steps of progress will get you further than any quick week or two in the gym ever could. Post your questions here. Share your plans. We’re all here to help each other towards the same goals.
I believe in you.