Composite image of new years resolutions on january calendar

Why Your New Years Resolutions Are Holding You Back

The New Year is right around the corner and you are eager to start 2018 strong. Throughout the month of December with every workout you miss, piece of pie you eat and every glass of wine you drink, you keep telling yourself that on January 1st I’ll recommit to my nutrition and workout regimen. The ole reliable New Year’s Resolution, that for most just gets them through the holidays guilt free, with promise to themselves that they will get it together on January 1st with their New Year’s Resolutions.

This may seem normal, I mean everyone does this right? Yes, most people do, but most people who take this approach usually end up right where they started by end of February , so maybe this isn’t the recipe for success. Maybe after all the years of failed New Year’s Resolutions you finally have come to grips that it’s these very New Year’s Resolutions are what have been holding you back all these years. There is a fact that can’t be denied, that most people have forgotten and giving up on their New Year’s resolutions by the end of January. Each year is filled with one excuse after the other, I’m too busy, it’s too hard, it’s not working, I’m too tired, I don’t know what to do, I’m hungry all the time, eating healthy is boring and the list goes on and on.

The main issue with New Year’s resolutions is that many people use it as an excuse not to get started right now, they rely solely on the motivation of the New Year to get started on eating better and working out more consistently. They rely merely on the motivation and excitement of the New Year.

The reality however is that the reason many people fail to reach their health and fitness goals is simply because they rely too much on motivation, and this is one of the biggest reasons why your New Year’s Resolutions are holding you back.

Motivation Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.

Motivation is great at getting you started, but fails miserably at keeping you going, this is why most people have given up on their New Year’s Resolutions by the end of January. Many of these people hit the gym 5 days a week while completely overhauling their diets and their lifestyle. This works for about 3 weeks and then reality starts setting in, you start to lose that motivation that you had at the beginning of the new year, and getting up 5 days a week starts to get harder and harder, your tired of being sore all the time and the workouts are just too hard, all the sudden those 5 days start to turn into 3 days, 1 day and then no days.

The diet, well you just have time to make all those meals, and in honestly you miss eating carbs and your tired of being hungry and tired all the time. All the sudden the excuses start to slowly creep their way back into your life, I’m too busy, it’s too hard, I don’ like the food I have to eat, I’ll get back on track tomorrow etc. Problem is that tomorrow never comes.

Even though your intentions are good, it’s this strategy of relying solely motivation that is holding you back. The reality is that you will get busy, you will soon find out that it is hard and there will be days that you just don’t feel like working and eating healthy. Motivation ebbs and flows and it’s the only way to stay consistent with your goals is to have strategies in place for those times when your motivation is ebbing, it’s your strategies that will see you through until your motivation is flowing again. It’s normal to not too be excited to workout, or to eat healthy and to want to skip workouts and eat whatever you want. But the difference between those that do it anyway and those that don’t isn’t that their more motivated, it’s they have a strategy to ensure that it gets done.

Don’t want to get up and workout? Make an appointment with your coach each week like it’s appointment. It’s human nature not to want to let others down. This strategy of having someone waiting for you, holding you accountable, can just be that push you need to stay consistent with your workouts. You can also find a friend to workout with, holding each other accountable is another powerful strategy in overcoming a lack of motivation.

Don’t feel like eating healthy. Only have food in your house that supports your health and fitness goals. This again works for you as humans we are innately lazy, and we can make this laziness work for us if we make it more difficult to eat food that doesn’t support our health and fitness goals. If chips, burritos, ice cream and or wine isn’t readily accessible, it will be more difficult to talk yourself into going out of your way to eat foods that won’t support your goals.

Preparation

I you don’t feel like preparing food, you can simply by prepared food in advance, one of my favorites is rotisserie chicken form whole foods. It’s easy, when you get home you can just throw it the oven and warm it up or simple chop it up and make heathy and delicious salad. You can also invest in a food delivery service such as Territory who deliver fresh precooked food to your door, throw in the microwave and you’re eating in three minutes.

These are just a few examples of strategies that we use with our clients hear at Fit-2-The-Core. There is nothing wrong with New Years Resolutions motivation, but make sure that you don’t make the mistake of thinking that you will always be motivated, start to implement strategies that will help you to stay consistent with your workout and nutrition, especially when your motivation is hard to find.

 

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Six Steps To Success

One of the most common questions we hear is, “How do you do it?” Here’s the great part. It almost doesn’t matter what the “it” is! Whether it’s, “how do I dial in my nutrition, how am I going to drop 20 pounds, or how am I going to get my spouse to come in and train with me,” the system for achieving what you want is held within these six simple steps.

Here’s what you do:

#1 – Figure out what you want.
Get specific. Having a clear definition of what you want is integral to actually getting it. Want to drop 20 pounds? Why? What are you going to do and how are you going to feel when you’re 20 pounds lighter?

my goals are smart - goal setting concept - handwritten text on a napkin with coffee

 

#2 – Create a plan.
Many times it’s as easy as writing down the first step. More importantly, taking the time to create a plan can help you preemptively tackle potential obstacles, discover resources you might need, and give you a foundation to return to if you lose your way.

Action Plan

#3 – Seek out a mentor
There are people out there that have done this before. There are people out there that have done this hundreds of times and happily do it every day. They’re called coaches.

“It’s my job to change people’s lives. There is a tremendous amount of trust involved, and it’s my responsibility to earn that trust through consistency an awesome results.” -TR

A great coach will pay attention to your individual needs and help you refine your personalized plan (Step #2). They’ll encourage and guide you all the way to the finish line.

Patty Coach

#4 – Take consistent action every day.
This is a big one. The Grand Canyon wasn’t carved from a singular force of action, its beauty and majesty was created over 5.4 million years of persistent force. It’s what we do every day that defines us. Changing one habit at a time will make it easier to stay consistent. Don’t start out trying to eat the perfect meal five times a day. Just start with breakfast.

female chopping food ingredients

#5 – Review your progress.
Track it, track it, track it! Monitoring your progress will boost your confidence when you are successful and help you reassess if you wander astray. Tracking is also imperative to isolating the individual parts of your plan. You’ll be able to answer questions like “What can I dial in even more?” and “Where am I putting in more effort than necessary?”

tracking sheets

#6 – Renew your goals.
What happens when you achieve your goal faster than expected because you used these simple steps? By now you’ve built up all of this momentum and as Sir Isaac Newton said, “An object in motion tends to stay in motion.”

Because you’re following this 6-step success cycle, you can apply this momentum to anything. You can circle back into new fitness goals, re-direct the energy towards your financial goals, and even apply your forward motion into learning a new skill. It’s easier to maintain and reassign than to start over.

An image of a nice clock with time to renew

The secret to achieving whatever you set out to do is following ALL of the steps. Like any system, it only works when you use it!

 

 

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success

How Manage Your Expectations

Does this sound familiar? Your following a pretty strict meal plan in hopes of losing some body fat. You could only white-knuckle your way through the meal plan for so long before you started sneaking in extras, usually in the form of nuts and nut butter. You toss back a heaping spoonful of almond butter and was immediately hit with a huge wave of guilt.

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You tell yourself, “Great, this day is ruined!”, and then proceeded to do what the majority of people do when they fall off their meal plan: swan dive into the pantry for more snacks, blowing the rest of the day to smithereens.

Over the years and even more recently in our Drop 2 Jean Size program, I’ve had many conversations with people just like this who were frustrated by this seemingly lack of control and overwhelming feeling of guilt. Heck I can attest that I have been there myself many times in my own life.

They viewed their success with nutrition and training as either “good” or “bad”, leading them to either feel like a total rock star or a total failure. All it took was a small handful of chocolate or some extra nut butter to make them believe the day was a monumental waste, which then resulted in a landslide of poor food choices for the remainder of that day.

Without exception, they were expecting perfection from themselves, which was a huge mistake.

Whether you are working towards improving your nutrition skills, losing body fat, or getting stronger, how do you set realistic expectations?

Two of the most common questions that we get as a Coach here at Fit-2-The-Core are:

·       “How much weight should I expect to lose in ‘x’ amount of time?”

·       “How much stronger should I expect to get in ‘x’ amount of time?”

These are fair but tricky questions: we don’t have the answers, because they depend on so many factors.

By learning to better manage your expectations, you can help avoid becoming too emotionally attached to a specific result, and cope better if things don’t pan out exactly the way you envision them.

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The One Thing You Can Control
Life is guaranteed to surprise you: it will surprise you in positive ways, and it will surprise you in negative ways. You can have your workout schedule in place, only to see the gym suddenly close for the week due to a burst pipe. You can plan all of your healthy meals for the week, and be surprised by your family paying you an unexpected visit and bringing over pizza for dinner.

When we set expectations, it’s easy to be let down because things don’t systematically happen as we predicted. No matter what happens, however, you can find peace in knowing that you are doing your very best with whichever situation comes your way. This means taking responsibility for your actions when things aren’t going according to plan. If you can’t go to the gym, can you take a walk instead? If you are served pizza, can you enjoy one slice and then eat later when there are different food options available?

The one thing that you can expect and control is that you are in charge of your own actions and reactions, regardless of outside circumstances.

Not Every Day Will Be a Day to Work Towards Your Goal
It can be really easy to expect perfection in terms of nutrition and working out, but the fact of the matter is that not every day will be the right day to work on your goals. Some days are better for focusing on maintenance, and that’s great!

John Berardi owner of Precision Nutrition uses a great analogy,

When life is dialed up to 10 (you are traveling, your kids are sick, you’re working overtime, your spouse is out of town, your sick etc.) you have to dial down your expectations and goals for that day week or month”.

This expectation can set you up for failure, because not every day can be a fat loss day, or a day where we become stronger, or a day where we improve our eating skills. Know that life will happen, and the most we can do is handle it in the best way we can and come up with a strategy that will fit into the context of your life at any given time.

Put in the Work
This is closely related to what I mentioned above about only being able to control your actions and reactions, but it’s worth mentioning in a different way:

Rather than focusing on expectations, what would happen if you poured all of your energy into simply committing to doing your very best with the hand you are dealt each day? Doing good enough, in relation to what life is throwing at you at any specific moment, adjust your workout, your nutrition and most importantly your mindset.

If you planned a 60 minute workout, 15 minutes will have to do, if you’re stuck in a meeting and all that’s available is pizza, eat one piece and then focus on what you have control over, the next meal etc..

Ultimately, that is all you can control.

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Zoom Out
When our expectations don’t pan out the way we had hoped, it’s easy to lose sight of the good things. Don’t to let an extra heaping spoonful of almond butter detract from the fact that maybe you ate veggies at all of my meals that day, drank plenty of water, got lots of sleep, and exercised. I see this often, the focus is solely on the fall, not that you got back up on your feet and took control over the rest of your day.

When it comes to expectations, there are a lot of variables at play. This means that we can’t always predict an accurate outcome, which can leave us feeling disappointed. It’s important to refrain from letting expectations steal joy from the experience.

The key is to focus on what you are able to do with what’s available, and commit to do your very best, consistently everyday!

 

 

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Women Looking in Fridge

The Battle of the Yummy Splurge vs. The Lazy Cheat

Your week is snowballing from one commitment to the next, no time to stop and get refocused; at some point you make the decision to either take a moment for yourself and plan your meals in advance, making sure your kitchen is stocked and food is cooked ahead of time or…you never get around to it and get “lazy” figuring you’ll get back on track tomorrow or next week.

It usually starts after a long day of working or running around fulfilling commitments, giving your energy all day long. You get home just in time for dinner…you’re hungry, your family is hungry, you haven’t taken a moment to think through what you’ll eat tonight; you open the fridge and maybe there are some chicken breasts you could grill up, but that isn’t really hitting the spot and you’re tired and really don’t feel like cooking so you decide…forget it, let’s order pizza or let’s go out.

Have you ever looked back at your week and realized you used all of your splurges for the week and didn’t really enjoy any of them? They were lazy cheats, convenient at that moment, but overall not really worth it.

Yummy Splurge:

100% nutritional discipline is never really needed to completely change your body. The difference between sticking to the rules 90% of the time and sticking to them 100% of the time is minor, really.

And that extra 10% splurge means you can feel free to eat the food you like.

Follow the rules 90% of the time. The other 10% splurge? Eat anything you want.

I’m not kidding around here. I actively encourage people to eat any food they like, because the reality is that good food can be one of the great joys of life.

But being overweight, unhealthy and lethargic are not. And certain foods eaten too frequently or in too large an amount will quickly make you all three of those things.

So Fit-2-The-Core members are given a simple instruction: eat any food you like, in up to 10% of your meals; in the other 90% of your meals, eat the foods that will fuel your body to success. This can include a glass of wine, 1-2 slices of pizza or a scoop of your favorite ice cream etc.

That ratio will give you the body you want AND allow to enjoy the food you love.

 

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The Lazy Cheat – The lazy cheat is a cheat that you did not plan to have ahead of time. It isn’t because you’re really looking forward to a splurge – something you have been craving – or as part of an experience that you don’t want to miss out on – it is not a part of the plan to get you closer to your goals. BUT (yes, Behold the Underlying Truth) occasionally, it happens. Unfortunately a lazy cheat is usually not worth it, and you end up using up one of your splurges and not enjoying it. And unfortunately, once you give in and have a lazy cheat it tends to perpetuate a whole week of lazy cheats.

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The secret to overcoming lazy cheats – have strategies in place. The fact is that “Strategy trumps Willpower” every time and is the key to your short and long term success. When you’ve had a long day, are hungry and out of energy, your will power is not going to be strong, so you must have a strategy.

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Next time you find yourself having that conversation in your head leading to a lazy cheat…you know the one… “I don’t feel like cooking tonight, I’ve had a long day, I’ll just order pizza tonight since I should eat something,” turn to the strategy you have planned out ahead of time.

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Here are a few ideas for the next time you find yourself heading for a lazy cheat.

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Have menus in your car of places you know you can get a healthy meal that are your go-to restaurants. Simply have a whole stack of menus in your car of places where you can get grilled fish and cabbage salad, or chicken and vegetables, or a healthy salad. If your on your way home from a busy day with no plan for dinner, you can just call and place an order to go and pick it up on your way home.

take out menu

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Have easy meals that you fall back on at these times. An easy meal can be a chicken breast with a can of lentil soup – Just grill up the chicken breast, heat up the can of soup and pour the soup over the chicken breast – done. Or you can pick up a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from whole foods and some precut veggies to grill or for making a quick salad.

Whole Foods Chicken

 

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Have a Super Shake: It’s okay to have a shake for dinner.  Dinner doesn’t have to be a big, sit down meal. Blend up a scoop of protein, some fruit or peanut butter and call it dinner or try this Delicious Super Shake recipe:

POPEYE’S SUPER SPINACH SMOOTHIE

smoothie

INGREDIENTS:

• 1 scoops SFH Low Carb Grass Fed Vanilla Protein

• 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

• 1-2 cups spinach

•½ frozen banana

• 1 tbsp natural peanut butter • stevia (to taste)

• 5 ice cubes

Blend and Enjoy:)

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Plan out your week ahead of time, including your splurges. Your week should include 10% to relax and enjoy yourself, just don’t waste it on a lazy cheat!

tracking sheets

 

 

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Enjoy your week!

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The “Missing Link” To Feeling and Looking Your Best

If I had a penny for every time I hear the statement “ I know what to do, I just can’t seem to do it”, I would have a lot of pennies 🙂

It’s clear that in the age of the Internet we have so much information about exercise and nutrition at our fingertips that you may feel the same way, you know what to do, you just can’t seem to put it altogether or in most cases, keep it together.

Once you reach a certain level of knowledge and experience, the missing link is no longer a new exercise program, the perfect nutrition plan, or a new supplement to try.

The one thing you’re missing is this: being accountable—to someone or something—for your workouts and nutrition.

“Accountability is the acknowledgment of responsibility for your actions with the obligation to report, explain, and be responsible for the resulting consequences.”

In other words, accountability keeps you consistent because you have to report back what you’re doing—or not doing—in the gym and in the kitchen to someone else.

In fact, accountability is more important than personal motivation for this simple reason:

Simply put: if you can’t be consistent, you can’t make progress.

And that’s why accountability—not the perfect exercise or eating program—is the thing that turns everything around.

I will take 70% nutritional and exercise consistency throughout the year over 100% adherence 2 to 3 months out of the year. One will lead to consistent progress, while the other will lead to disappointment and frustration. This is the “ALL” or “NOTHING” mindset, which often leads to nothing. I think most people start with the wrong mindset and believe that weight loss or reaching their goals is some kind of race, which is why most (90% fail in the long run).

It’s often these times of nothing that we start to look for the next program or the next new diet, when the answer to your problem is right in front of you, ACCOUNTABILITY.

Accountability is the key to consistent and long-term progress. Without it you have nothing but motivation to rely on and I’m sorry to tell you that motivation is simply going to fail time and time again.

You are not going to want to get up every morning for you workouts, you are going to want to eat that ice cream, drink your wine or eat that bag of potato chips in your cupboards that have been calling your name, Without accountability those weak moments where you give into temptation will just lead to more and more and more if you don’t have someone and something to be held accountable to, to reel you in and remind you of your commitment to your health and fitness.

So, the big question? How do you get accountability?

Here are two strategies you can use immediately that I learned when completing my Precision Nutrition Master Level 2 Certification:

Accountability strategy #1: Commit to more… and/or less.

 To be consistent, you need to commit to more, and/or less. Let me explain what I mean.

We all make half-hearted promises to ourselves, only to get frustrated and break them soon after. And that’s fine (and understandable). But for a different result, we need a different sort of commitment.

Option 1: Commit to more.

The idea is to commit to something bigger than your self. Bonus points if you can make it fun.

One of the easiest ways is to set up a contest with friends. Who can go the longest without skipping an exercise day? Who can cook the most meals at home instead of eating out?

Notice that it’s not about achievement (who lost the most weight, etc.). It’s about doing.

Focus on and reward yourself for what you do (going to the gym, cooking a meal), not what you achieve, at least at first. Because that’s what you have immediate control over.

What do you think you can accomplish with just one month of consistent workouts and healthy eating?

What about one year?

Our members are about to commit to our 100 Workout Challenge in the last half of the year starting on July 1st. This comes to 4 workouts a week for the next six months. This is a perfect example of committing to more.

Option 2: Commit to less.

 This is the tough one. Our natural tendency is to over-promise and under deliver, especially to ourselves. One of the easiest (and most counter-intuitive) ways to stay consistent is to do the opposite.

Under-promise and over deliver. Consider every promise you’re about to make to yourself a rough, first draft.

Before truly committing, ask yourself, “On a scale of 1-10, how confident am I that I could do this every day for the next 30 days?”

If your gut reaction is anything other than “9” or “10”, find a way to make that promise smaller or easier.

For example turn “I’ll cut out sugar every day” into:

“I’ll stop eating each meal when I’m 80% full.”

Eat what you’re already eating, just slightly less.

“I’ll eat one (more) home-made meal a day.”

Focus on mindfully creating a single meal.

“I’ll eat one big salad a day.”

Focus on eating one more well-chosen meal, even if you have to buy it. Even fast food chains have salads with chicken these days.

And turn “I’ll go to the gym every morning at 6AM” into:

“I’ll do 40 air squats at home, right after waking up.”

Do something with no travel or equipment required.

“I’ll get two solid workouts in per week, scheduled in my calendar, and go from there.”

Reduce the commitment to something you can always stick to; do more only if you can, making it entirely optional.

“I’ll park further away from work / school and walk the rest of the way.”

Even easier.

Those are just examples, of course. You’ll find one that works for you.

Keep reducing the commitment until it feels too easy for you. Until you can answer “9” or “10” without even thinking about it. Those are the things that you can actually do consistently.

“Your daily accomplishments can be big, but keep your commitments small”

Option 3: Commit to both more and less.

Commit to something big and external (like the friendly bet with your friends or co-workers) or one of our challenges throughout the year.

And while doing so, commit to tackling only one part of that larger commitment at a time. Reduce the size of each mini-commitment until you feel almost 100% confident you can actually do it for 30 days.

Accountability Strategy #2:
Get some help from at least one other person.

Have you ever went through a time when you started skipping one or two workouts each week because you were too “busy”?

The exercise didn’t matter much in the context of one week—it’s not like you felt like you were getting out of shape every time you skipped one. But they started added up. Within a month you missed nearly half of of your gym time. Not good.

And it was showing in the mirror. you looked a little less “in-shape” than you would have liked. Plus you just felt crappy and a little guilty.

Obviously your problem wasn’t a program one. No special workout routine, new diet plan, or magical supplement could help.

What you had was an accountability problem. You weren’t committing to anything. And because of that, you were slacking.

This happens periodically to some of our members when they stop committing to more or less with their coaches or peers. They just start to go through the motions and stop leaning on us for support and accountability, or they just too busy and slowly make less and less time for themselves.

So in this case we reach out in an effort to get them to commit to one of the three options above.

Even though they they have access to an effective work out and  know how to eat healthy, they still struggle at certain times of the year.

So we reach out and ask them to commit to more or less so we can hold them accountable to their goals.

Of course they could still skip their workouts if they wanted to. But that would result in their coaching calling to check in and find out why they missed their workout or didn’t follow through on a nutritional habit that they committed to.

Not surprisingly, when they recommitted and became accountable to more or less with one of our coaches, they often don’t miss a single workout, or get back track with eating “X” amount of compliant meals a week.

And they feel incredible.

What can you learn from this?

First, know that we all sometimes struggle with staying in shape. It’s no big deal and doesn’t mean you’re deficient in any way. It just means you’re human.

Second, know that if you’re struggling to get in shape the best thing you can do is hire someone to keep you accountable, this is exactly why our clients are able to continue to make progress in the long run, as soon as they start to get off track, our coaches are able to reel them back in. They also have the benefit of having a friend our workout partner who will meet the at the gym or hold them accountable to to their commitments.

Keep track of your commitments and check in with who is holding you accountable every week or every two weeks, but make sure to regularly track so your coach, trainer or workout partner so they can support you, by holding you accountable.

The goal of these strategies are to be consistent so you can  continue to make progress throughout each and every year. It’s these small but significant wins that lead to how you want to feel, look and play for the rest of your life.

 

 

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