TOPICS:
Transformation

Arm yourself with these tips to make 2017 THE year you reach your goals once and for all.

My bet is that you begin every year with a variation of that saying in mind. According to StatisticBrain.com, my betting chances are pretty solid: Nearly 25 percent of people who make resolutions give up almost before they start. Over a third of them don't make it past February 1.

But for you, 2017 is the year because, young grasshopper, I'm going to pound these 17 essential tips into your think tank to ensure that you become more than a mere statistic; you'll be the change among your friends and family.

1. Set Realistic Goals

There's a marked difference between setting a goal and setting a realistic one. Although you should always have aspirations that require you to put in serious effort, you should avoid something overly ambitious. Otherwise, you easily set yourself up for disappointment or worse, just spin your wheels. For example, if you've never competed in a bodybuilding contest, getting your pro card in the same year is highly unlikely.

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Really reflect on what you want to accomplish, why you want to do it, and how you can do it. Set measurable goals that can be tracked throughout the year. This way, you stand a greater chance of being happy with whatever results you achieve.

2. Craft A Personal Mission Statement

Great companies have mission statements that paint a clear picture of their objectives and of what drives them to do what they do. You should do the same. Write out three or four sentences with what your goals are for the year. Keep the language simple and avoid words like "hope," "maybe," and "try". Instead, use words like "will" and "must."

Don't believe me? Just look at the difference between these two sentences:

  1. "I hope to lose 20 pounds and maybe enter a bodybuilding show."
  2. "I will lose 20 pounds and I must enter a bodybuilding show."

The second statement is much more assertive and invokes a more powerful message. Stash this mission statement somewhere for safekeeping. Whenever your will starts to waver, refer to it often to be reminded of why you started in the first place.

3. Enter A Contest

Entering a transformation or fitness contest serves to reinforce your commitment and also sets a hard deadline. The sense of urgency combined with the idea of competition can sometimes be the much needed ass-kicking that'll turn inaction into action. At worst, you'll could finish what you started because you're not a quitter. At best, you'll win a show or competition, become famous, or—if it's a contest like the Bodybuilding.com Transformation Contest—win some serious cash and change your life forever!

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4. Build Sweat Equity

When you spend money on good, wholesome food, or sign up for a costly gym membership, do not think of money spent. This is an investment in your own future and your own health. You are not squandering the money on worthless HDTVs or silverware that you'll bust out once in a rare while; you're spending money to improve the quality of your own life. That, my friends, is priceless. Never forget that you cannot simply buy health, confidence, self-esteem, or happiness; you invest in them.

5. Find The Plan That Works For You

Jay Cutler. Kris Gethin. Jamie Eason. Cory Gregory. Jim Stoppani. Arnold Schwarzenegger. All of these industry icons have one thing in common: They all have trainers here on Bodybuilding.com (Gethin now has three). Don't know where to start? Try our beginner's program. Just want someone to tell you what to do? You can easily find something on our Find A Plan page and get started!

6. Get BodySpace!

BodySpace is the number-one fitness social network for one huge reason: The community supports you. No matter where you come from, the community embraces you with open arms, helps you track your progress, holds you accountable, and is basically with you every step of the way. That's because everyone there is just like you—they were all beginners once, too, and can now share their experiences and knowledge with you.

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Plus, it's free. Sign up, create a profile, and start making some new fitness buddies. If your goal is to break into the fitness industry, BodySpace has helped many people launch their careers, including myself.

7. Motivation Fail-Safe

Like that cute barista at your favorite coffee spot, motivation doesn't hang around waiting forever. At the end of the day, it's all about falling in love with the whole fitness process and letting it infuse your whole life.

Changing and developing habits may be tough in the beginning. This is why I suggested carefully crafting your mission statement earlier. When you know what you want to do, you know what you must do, and you feel more compelled to do it. Keep this mission statement visible at all times: on your desktop, on your fridge, on your bathroom mirror, on the car's dashboard, and so on.

8. Make Appointments To Train

If you had an appointment to meet with your boss, would you miss it? Conversely, if you are the boss, would you want your employee to play hooky? Of course not. Set up an appointment for yourself to be in the gym at a certain time and take that appointment very seriously. Write it in your calendar just like you would a meeting or interview. It will take that level of commitment if you want 2017 to be the year.

9. Celebrate Even Small Successes

Many folks give up on their resolutions within the first seven days because they don't see the results they want and grow discouraged. I also feel it's because they neglect to notice the small signs of success, the small wins. If you've never trained before and followed through for seven days, that's a testament to your consistency and should be recognized. Also recognize that huge results take time. It's about keeping track of small wins. You may not lose those 10 pounds quickly, but if you lost 2 pounds, then you're 20 percent closer than you were before. That's great! Appreciate the small improvements you're making, because without them, the big improvements won't happen.

10. Practice Patience

If you are following a Bodybuilding.com trainer, don't think about the fact that it's an 8- or 12-week commitment. Take it week by week, or even day by day. Look at Day 1 and focus only on what you have to do that day. Tomorrow you should only be focusing on Day 2. Keep your mind from wandering and letting the overwhelming future lead you astray. I mean, a baseball player wouldn't think about his next batting chance while getting ready to take the first pitch. That just messes up his focus! So focus on today.

11. Join Or Form A Support Group

When I say a support group, I don't necessarily mean a circle of strangers talking about feelings, but more like a network of family, loved ones, and close friends whom you truly trust and who want to see you succeed. There can be many barriers to your goals, including people who will try to sabotage you. Identify those saboteurs from the outset and connect with those that have a bigger stake in your success. The right support network will keep your head in the game when all you want to do is run away and quit. People like your personal trainer or online coach, your healthcare provider, your significant other, and close, trusted friends fit this role perfectly.

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Trust me, there will be plenty of moments with self-doubt, and having the right people in your corner can mean the difference between success and another year of looking back, wishing that you'd achieved your goals.

12. "Control Your Environment"

I must admit that I cribbed this saying from Kris Gethin, but he has a point. Most of you have the ability and resources to get to where you want to be—whether you realize it. You should have a plan for everything. Have meals with you wherever you are, schedule time to train, find access to gyms even if you're away from home, and avoid the temptations that surround you.

For example, if you know that joining your buddies for happy hour will place you in an environment that will make you reach for beer and wings that much more easily, you should try suggesting a get-together at your own home. Each decision you make in your day gets you one step closer to success or two steps further away.

13. Ditch The Excuses

Why waste brain cells on negativity when you could be visualizing yourself as a success story, a champion, and an inspiration to everyone around you. Focus on that instead of trying to rationalize why you can't do it. Rationalize how you can do it.

14. If You Fail, Fail Fast

Complete and total failure is not an option. I do, however, propose doing something and failing fast. Don't spin your wheels on something that is clearly not working after you've given it a shot (for 8 weeks or so). For example, if you've been following a program very closely, but find that the movements, rep scheme, and structure don't align with your goal, you need to switch to one that fits your goals better. If changing plans helps you succeed, do it.

15. Never, Ever Quit

This one seems like a no-brainer. As I referenced earlier, a fourth of the people who make resolutions of any type either fail or quit within the first seven days. You have no chance of success if you are not in it 100 percent. As long as you look forward, figure out how to overcome those obstacles, and commit to being the best you can possibly be, you have that edge the rest of those quitters lack. Each day you finish, you get one step closer. Time will pass, anyway. You might as well let it pass not being a quitter.

16. Partner Up

The greatest part of fitness is that you are in control of your results. You follow the plan and put in the work, you reap the benefits of those efforts. But that doesn't mean that you have to do this alone. Having a training partner can help you stay motivated, hold each other accountable, and give your best day in and day out. Find someone at your local gym that has goals similar to you and reach out about partnering up. If you're trying to lose weight, it might not be a great idea to work with someone trying to get bigger. Your goals don't have to be the exact same but as long as you both have similar visions, working together can make the journey more successful and enjoyable for both of you.

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17. Set Your Social Media For Success

As great as BodySpace is, we're sure that most of you have Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. While it's great to connect with so many people across these platforms, it can lead to seeing posts that are generally negative. This is what we don't want. Waking up to seeing negativity on your feeds can trigger negative thoughts yourself. Yes, everyone goes through tough times in life but people hating for the sake of hating is something we shouldn't have to deal with. Make sure the people you follow and connect with are generally positive so you can take that energy and feed off of it. In the long run, you'll notice an increased sense of confidence and state of mind which will transfer to your physical results.

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