New Year: Don’t Think About Next Year. Finish This One Strong!
BY ROGER LOCKRIDGE
As the Holiday season approaches, we typically think about the big dinner with all the fixings first. Then, our attention is devoted to the “gift of giving” and, perhaps, preparing for the first snow of winter. The Holiday Season is usually defined by imagining what the New Year will bring. The conversations inevitably shift to those dreaded “Resolutions” that we create with an open mind, peaked motivation, and the best of intentions.
Does this scenario sound familiar? This might be a pattern you have repeated year after year. Yet, you still find yourself stuck where you are, or possibly further behind. It might just be time for a change. As a matter of fact, I would even suggest that you flip the script.
Finish the Old Year
You might think I’m crazy but, yes, I am suggesting changing your focus. Start on those big goals right now, and finishing the old year on a high note. Since this is Muscle Media, the focus is on fitness. But, you can do the same with any goals you have in fitness or Life.
Believe me, I know all the reasons why that would not be a good idea. I’ve read and heard them before: “The Holidays are too busy.” “There is too much great food.” “It’s getting too cold.” Well, here’s my counterpoint. If you can dedicate yourself to achieving success now, despite all the excuses surrounding you, imagine what you could do in the New Year when all those “issues” are no longer around. Taking on the challenges now will prepare you to reach even greater heights later.
Let’s Get Started
Ok, you’re still reading… So, let’s do this! Find a calendar and mark today (whenever you read this) as Day 1. Count the number the days remaining until December 31. Knowing the specific amount of time involved can help you set realistic and achievable goals. Once you have the time frame established, determine your halfway point. Mark that day as well. You’ll see why in a few minutes…
What Are Your Goals?
Let’s open our minds a little bit. I want you to be realistic, but also optimistic. If you can re-create yourself on December 31, what would you look like? How strong would you be? What would you be able to do then that you can’t do now? It might be losing weight, running a 5K under a certain time, or fitting into “those” clothes. This is going to be your goal list. Write those goals with the preface to each goal being “By December 31, I will…”. This will not only establish determination, but also confidence and clarity which will be vital in this process.
Remember that halfway date? Go to that day, and establish shorter-terms based on those bigger goals. This verifies that you have no time to waste. You want to be sure to hit your checkpoints on that day. If you hit those points, you will develop the confidence needed to finish strong. If not, you’ll need to shift into a new gear to make December 31 the day you want it to be.
Plan Around the Big Days
We know that during the Holidays, there are days we’d rather not be dieting or focusing on workouts. We’d much rather be around family, friends, and eating food that we probably shouldn’t. I’m no different, and I feel the same way. So, instead of beating yourself up or forcing yourself to do something you would rather not, you need to take control. Decide, right now, that the Holidays are “days-off” to do whatever, and eat however, you want. Clear your conscience and avoid setting yourself up for a negative mindset. However, make sure that you limit yourself to a maximum of three-days. If you are reading this in the United States, the three days are likely Thanksgiving, Christmas, and one other day if you are traveling. If there are other days you celebrate, perhaps different holidays, simply adjust your calendar accordingly.
Create Your Plan
Now, we’re going to get into the “nuts and bolts”. You need to be realistic. Decide when you can train. Decide how often (and how long) you can train. Finally, because these are the Holidays, you need to make some important decisions about your nutrition. Dedicate a full two hours of your time to this. Although it may not take you that long, set that time aside just to be safe. Do your homework. Read content, like previous issues of Muscle Media Magazine, to find the workouts and recipes you need. Decide upon the specific supplements that will help you. Make sure to schedule a certain day to plan your meals for the next week. This important step will help avoid headaches later! Once your plan is in place, take out your appointment book or calendar, and write out the schedule of your workouts and meals. This is a great way to hold yourself accountable. It will also save time and frustration, if you had to figure it out on-the-fly.
Create a Support Group
It’s one thing to try “Resolutions” on your own, on New Year’s Day. It’s quite another to try it as we approach the entire Holiday season. You don’t have to go at this on your own. Find some people around you that are generally positive and supportive. Form your own group. When you need motivation, encouragement, or a kick in the butt, they will be there for you. Don’t just limit yourself to people in your hometown. If you have friends online, or on social media, include them as well. As a matter of fact, we at Muscle Media Magazine would love to see you succeed. If you decide to finish 2017 strong, find me on Twitter or Instagram (@RockLockridge) and let me know. I’ll be in your corner cheering you on too!
Do Something Right Now
They say that “it’s not how you start, but how you finish”. I believe that success is a matter of how you start and how you finish. That means doing something, right now, to get you one-step closer to your goal. Remember: today is Day 1. No one is asking you to run a marathon or bench-press 500 pounds. But, can you go for a 30-minute walk? Can you sign up for a gym membership? Can you clean your pantry and get rid of foods that you shouldn’t eat? How about going grocery shopping so you have healthier food readily available? There are many small things that you can do today to help start your new program. You’ll be amazed at how much more confident you will be. You will go to bed, knowing that you’re already on your way to making that December 31st version of yourself a reality. I suppose that you could say that just reading this could count as “starting”. But, I believe we both know that there’s more to it than this. Besides, you’re capable of much more…
It’s frustrating to continue setting fragile “Resolutions” at the beginning of each year like you always have. But, the whole point of the “New Year” is to do something new! Commit to finishing this year stronger. When you take the time to write-out a plan for next year, your horizons and opportunities will be that much greater. Your new life will reveal a new you at a new best…