I wrote this list to myself after years of struggling with consistency. It’s followed me around in my workout journal ever since. This list is going to be pretty simple, but I urge you to not mistake or confuse complexity with effectiveness. Implement 3 or 4 of these and watch as 2018 is your best year yet. Bold statement right?
1. Quit doing sh*t you don’t like doing.
If you don’t like any form of exercise this one is going to be challenge. But I’d be willing to bet you find some enjoyment in SOMETHING
active. Working out doesn’t have to mean going to the gym and slugging it out on a treadmill for an hour several times a week. It could mean walking three times a week and then hitting the mountains for a hike on Saturday. Play soccer, or join a trail running club, it doesn’t matter what your jam is, it certainly doesn’t have to be the gym. I gave up the traditional four-day split – biceps and chest, legs, shoulders
and tris and back and core day. Outside of leg day I really didn’t enjoy going to the gym anymore, so I quit that sh*t. Now I take one class per week, one heavy day where I spend most of it on barbell exercises and one kettlebell complex day. I play soccer once a week and will play pick up basketball
as well. It works for me. Find something that works for you.
2. Quit skipping workouts.
Consistency is more important than intensity. Things that are difficult take longer to become habit. Working out consistently is difficult. You’re going to have bad days, where you really don’t feel like sticking to the schedule. On those days instead of doing nothing, do something easy. If you were supposed to go for a 5 mile run, go for 2 mile run. Hell commit to running 1 mile. Once you get out there you may end up running all 5 miles and if not that’s OK too.
3. Quit killing yourself.
Do you know what’s a real lousy motivator? Legs so sore it hurts to walk down a flight of stairs. Those are the legs that skip the hike they were supposed to go on. You’re not going to get in shape after 4 workouts, no matter how intense they are. Build up your endurance and you may find you actually enjoy
4. Quit trading gym time for treats.
This is a vicious cycle that will make you question why you’re even bothering with this goal of getting in the best shape of your life. We’ve all been guilty of it; I went to the gym so I’m going to treat myself to a nice burger at McDonalds.
Science has shown that treating yourself is a broken motivation model. In the long term, it won’t motivate you. You’re not training yourself to workout so you get a reward – you’re training yourself to expect a treat every time you work out. That’s a fantastic way to derail your fitness goals. Nothing is more frustrating then working at something and not seeing results. Speaking of which…
5. Quit Expecting Overnight Results
This journey is going to be hard and it won’t happen in a month. If you’re new to this, you’ll see some early results and then it will feel like you just hit an awful plateau. It’s not really a plateau at all, it’s the progress you should become accustomed to. If you stay consistent, you’ll continue to improve your strength and endurance it just happens at a much slower rate.
6. Quit the vanity workouts If you give up nothing else, please give up on vanity workouts.
Most people are lucky if they make it to the gym three times a week. Doing 45 minutes of bicep curls on one of those days is such an incredible waste. I’m not suggesting every workout has to be high intensity interval training but compound movements are always going to yield better results in limited time than isolated exercises. If you’re spending 6 or 7 hours at the gym every single week, by all means indulge yourself. You’ve earned those isolated bicep curls in front of the mirror. But for those who are struggling to squeeze in a few hours of exercise every week you have to maximize that time.
7. Quit Setting Macro Goals
I’m not knocking all goal setting, I think done correctly it can have a profound impact on our lives. The average person sets a goal like this: I want to be able to bench 250lbs. Six months later they’re still a mile away from their target and will probably give up on it. A better way forward is to set micro goals. For example, I want to spend one day per week improving my bench press. I will perform 3 sets of 8 reps starting at 185lbs. Don’t even go so far as to set projected weight increases. Stay above the baseline (ie: 3×8 at 185lbs) and aim to increase the load on each week. This type of goal setting focuses on the process, not the results. The process is what matters, and I promise the results will follow shortly.
8. Quit Skipping Sleep
If you suffer from insomnia I feel for you. I spent 2 months in Europe falling asleep at 5 in the morning. That was no fun. If you suffer from binge watching Netflix until 2am, go to bed. There isn’t a single part of your body that doesn’t rely on a solid nights sleep. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to lose weight or gain muscle – you have to sleep. Is there an optimal number? No, I don’t think so listen to your body (your first thing in the morning body, not your 1am Netflix body)
9. Quit Delaying
This one is extremely simple. Get started, today. Why is January 1st
the magical date that we’re allowed to set our goals? I get it, there are Christmas parties, family dinners and vacations. That’s the best part about this list. I never once said don’t drink. Don’t eat Christmas dinner. You can still squeeze in 30 minutes of exercise during the holidays. I’d argue there is no easier time to do it than the holidays. Most of us have 1-2 weeks off during holidays. Yes we have family functions and shopping to do. We also have a lot more free time. On vacation? Great, you don’t need a fancy gym – go explore (walk) the town you’re in. Go for a short run on the beach. If you avoid skipping workouts during this time of year you’ll be primed to crush 2018.
10. Quit Setting Long Term Goals
Instead of setting goals for 2018, set your goals for the next 13 weeks. What’s significant about 13 weeks? It’s the sweet spot, not too long, not too short it’s just right. 13 weeks or roughly 3 months is a short period of time to commit to something. That said, you’d be amazed at the amount you can achieve in thirteen consistent weeks.
More than anything, I wrote this list as a reminder to myself. I’ve had long periods of my life where I stick to these principles (particularly number 2) and the results were outstanding. Good choices lead to more good choices. If you liked this article please share it to help others have an incredible 2019.