“What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him” – Victor Frankl
The battle cry has begun. “New year new you” flashes across the news feed, bringing with it many inspirational videos or memes. You’ve decided this is the year, out of all the years, this is the one. January 1st is your clean slate. Time for change. Commitment levels run high as we head into the first week of the year. Gym memberships soar and P90X DVDS fly off the shelves.
Come February or March, those fitness goers begin to fade away. Before you know it, the gym lot empties, the P90X dvd is shelved, and those new workout garments are now pajamas. What happened? The new year had so much promise. Yet, now it’s just another year of momentum pushing you in the path you’ve forged by inaction.
The new year, it brings with it inspiration. Inspiration that, for the moment, promises something big. You seek that inspiration for one reason, you do not yet have the intrinsic motivation to fuel your own sails. Intrinsic motivation, my friends, is the key. The key is to look beyond the gimmicky bullshit. Beyond the 8 week “new body” program. It’s about looking at the big picture.
People are only fueled by two things, pain and reward. The yin and yang of progress is a balance of how much pain you will endure vs. the reward for such pain. It’s the most primal of motivating factors. The challenge with fitness is you are guaranteed to endure pain and discomfort, especially if you have lived a sedentary lifestyle. The reward, however, is not guaranteed. Or, at least the reward you expect.
A mindset shift has to occur in order for you to stick to your New Years resolutions. It’s not easy; however, here are some quick tips to keep those sails fueled well into 2018 and the rest of your life.
No Pain no Gain
Like I said, pain is a primal motivating factor and too much of it too soon is a sure way to see your goals fizzle out. Many hit their fitness goals like their body owes them money. They buy into the “no pain no gain” mentality. But, the all out sprint into fitness isn’t going to make up for years of inaction. It will only lead to exhaustion and worse yet, injury. Pace yourself, your no longer a hormone enraged teenager. Don’t act like one.
Macro vs. Micro
You may pencil some serious workouts into your week or some long hours of training. Many plan a workout for everyday. One huge mistake beginners make is they plan workouts in rapid succession with little rest. They look at the week, maybe the month, and they forget to look at the year. They sure as hell forget about the life long journey. Realize, it’s okay to miss a day or two, or even a week. Heck, even you miss a whole month out of 12 months, your still in far better shape than 2017. Look at the macro not so much the micro. Look at the big picture.
Reward, the other primal motivating factor. The reward in fitness is programmed by Instagram posts, magazine covers and before and after fitness adds. Many chase those aesthetics. They seek those bigger arms, 32 inch waist and a 6 pack. Rating your progress on physical change can lead to disaster, if you hold unrealistic expectations. Change will come with consistent action. But, it will take time. In the meantime, focus on how you’ll feel. Focus on the boost of energy you’ll now have from being physically active. Focus on the small improvements on your strength and performance. And, of course, focus on how this new endeavor will help you be a more active and healthy father
Be the Change
The lesson of commitment and discipline is one all parents hope to teach their kids. Parents teach two ways, directly and indirectly. Teaching directly is to cover a specific lesson. For example, teaching your kids how to tie a knot. However, we teach most of our lessons indirectly. This is done by our kids observing our action or lack there of. How can you directly teach discipline, if you do not embody that value? Children pick up on the lessons of their environment. Sticking to your 2018 health goals long term will show your children that change is possible. At any age. Be the change you wish to see in your kids, don’t just preach it.
I have to commend anyone who embarks on a new goal. Finding the motivation to stick to it can prove difficult. Progress only occurs after consistent action over time. It’s about forging a lifetime of training, becoming better this year than we were last year. Think about it, if you had stuck to your fitness goals for 2017, where would you be today?