On January 2nd, millions of people around the world are going to wake up and decide that they want the new year to be different. You’re likely one of them.
Aspirations fill your head, dreams are born, and then you resolve to make them happen. Resolving, by the way, means choosing a concrete course of action. Unfortunately, a large percentage of those millions of people are going to choose courses of action that lead them nowhere.
That’s not going to happen to you under my watch.
If you want the new year to be different — truly different and not just imaginatively different — then I’ve got TEN important things to think about before you even begin to consider your health and fitness resolutions for the New Year.
1. Any plan that involves calorie counting or conscious portion control is bogus.
Whether you’re starting an official program or you’re just thinking about winging it (which I wouldn’t recommend), you’re bound to think about counting calories or points or engaging in some type of “portion control.” That’s a mistake.
Statistically, people who consciously limit caloric intake through counting or portion control fail immensely (around 90%) and worse, they gain back more weight than they started with. It also promotes a disordered relationship with food.
2. Your scale (and measuring weight) is totally meaningless and will derail you faster than anything else.
When I first started coaching I let people keep their scales. It was a disaster. People value the number on that stupid device more than their own children half the time.
Here’s what you need to know: weight is a meaningless measure of progress. It’s helpful, umm, about, never. And when you place value on it the only thing that can result is immense frustration, even if you’re making huge progress.
If you want to do something meaningful with the upcoming year, ditch the scale and avoid setting “weight” goals at all costs.
Recommended Reading: The #1 Weight Loss Crisis That’s Actually Meaningless and The 10 Pound Problem
3. Prioritizing exercise is what everyone does and it’s precisely why everyone fails.
The health and fitness industry makes most of their money selling fitness equipment and programming. I can’t blame them, because consumer demand drives most of that.
But at the same time they’re not doing you any favors by hiding the truth: that 80% of your success is going to come through diet and other lifestyle factors, not exercise.
Even if you don’t care about being “healthier,” food has to come first because you can’t outwork eating harmful things. Sure, you can temporarily lose weight through calorie restriction and exercise, but it’s very short-lived and typically ends in disaster.
Recommended Reading: The Truth About Exercise and Body Composition
4. Ditch cardio and “couch to 5k” type programs.
Don’t get me wrong: exercise is still important. And what’s even more important is doing the right exercise.
A great framework would be lots of walking, some high intensity interval training a couple times a week, and some heavy lifting a couple times a week. Avoid chronic levels of cardio at all costs.
Walking is just basic low-level activity; interval training is great a shredding fat while preserving lean muscle mass; and heavy lifting has the most impact on body composition.
5. Expel these two huge myths from your mind…
The habit myth: If you think you’ll escape your old self and engrain new habits in 21 days, you’re fooling yourself. And unfortunately, there’s a bunch of programs and coaches who perpetuate this idea.
The willpower myth: Willpower is not something you can exercise at will. It’s a finite resource and likely won’t be there for you at the times you need it most.
Forming new habits and understanding willpower are going to be two keys to victory; read up on them…
6. Your motivation is likely to fail unless you do these three things…
You’re not new to this New Year’s resolutions rodeo. You know how this works — or actually, doesn’t work.
There’s a 78% failure rate. First, people blame it on their willpower (we know that’s a myth now, right?). Then they blame their “motivation.”
What if I told you that you could build a foundation of motivation that’s unwavering? Well, you can. And you must.
Recommended Reading: 3 Keys to Sustaining Motivation No Matter What Happens [Podcast]
7. Have a clear focus on what you’re going to eat and what you’re not going to eat.
There’s an important question you need to ask yourself when it comes to changing how you eat: what am I adding and what am I subtracting?
Remember, we’re not doing portion control and calorie restriction here. Instead, we’re eating real food and avoiding food that disorders our hormones, makes us feel awful, and inspires fat to cling to our bodies.
There’s a lot of myth busting and challenging conventional wisdom that has to be done here, so read up.
8. Mindset is everything.
Let’s be honest, most people don’t have the healthiest mental picture of themselves (body image). And I bet you’ve talked down to yourself on more than one occasion. Maybe you’ve even self-sabotaged your progress more than once.
If this time is going to be different than last time, you have to change your relationship with yourself, quiet the resistance, and reverse the negative self talk.
9. Having an unhealthy relationship with food will derail you.
Just as you may have an unhealthy body image, you likely have many other unhealthy “triggers” when it comes to food and exercise. These can range from patterns you learned in childhood to sugar addiction to emotional eating.
If these triggers are unresolved, they will wreak havoc on your journey. This is so important that I created a comprehensive action guide to help people work through these triggers and heal them. It’s been well received with many five star reviews.
Recommended Reading: 8 Unhealthy Eating Triggers and How to Conquer Them
10. Real success is a bit more complicated than most people think.
Change is hard and adopting a new lifestyle is messy. If you think you can just grab a blueprint and start marching, you’re in for a very short journey right back to where you came from.
The best way to maximize your success is to bulletproof the three Cs: Curriculum, Coaching, and Community.
Curriculum is the information you’re going to be working with. Most people grab this and start running — right off the edge of a cliff.
The information is not critical. Even people who have the right information fail miserably. The key here is that everyone is different and the “information” must be personalized to be truly relevant.
If you want to drastically increase your chances of winning, reduce your mistakes, reduce your time-to-success, and reduce your total cost (in both time and money), then coaching and community are critical.
Your Shortcut: Total Body Reboot
Total Body Reboot has an amazing curriculum, the coaching to help you sort that curriculum and apply it to your specific needs, and a wonderful online community full of inspiring people from over a dozen countries for you to connect with who are on the same journey as you.
I want you to have an amazing 2014. Please feel free to reach out to me at any time — I reply to all emails.
Kevin Geary is the founder of RebootedBody.com and a respected expert on cravings, eating psychology, and long-term habit change. He’s worked with thousands of men and women in over 35 countries around the world through his online academy and programs like Shut Down Your Sugar Cravings.