These days, it's quite common to find articles talking dismissively of new year's goals and the people who set them. I think that's a mistake. No matter how it plays out for the majority of people, the new year is a legitimate opportunity to start fresh, moulding life as we want it to be. One day, this chance will pass, so it should never be taken for granted.
At the start of each new year, I have a ritual that gives me direction for the next 12 months. I simply create a schedule to follow in order to attain my goals. This gives purpose to my bleeding desire for success. Human beings are, by design, machines that require routine in order to achieve, and I'm no exception.
These are my steps to building your personal winning formula for 2017.
Make Immense Changes in Small, Weekly Steps
Anything that isn't planned for is just a dream. You need a timeline to make it real!
This may sound old-fashioned and low-tech, but it works: On a piece of paper, identify every goal you have for 2017. Next to it, write out how you're going to achieve this. Break each action plan down into small microgoals, with timelines. These will accumulate until the final hurdle is overcome.
Personally, I find having weekly targets is a great way to stay focused; it's long enough to have an impact, but short enough to make you feel obliged to keep going.
Want one to start with? Here you go: Don't miss a single meal for a single week. For just seven days, each item that you eat should be on time, healthy, and in line with your goals. No, this won't be easy at first. But it will become more engrained with each meal, each day. Then, soon enough, your body will always have the nutrients it craves at the time it requires them to sustain its evolution.
Me? I haven't missed a meal for 17 years. But guess what? It started with one day, then one week, then one month. You get the idea.
Find More Intensity in the Gym and More Calmness in Life
In 2016, two of the most popular videos I created with Bodybuilding.com were my "Plates of Pain" shoulder workout, and "One Day in the Kage: 24 Hours With Kris Gethin." The first video is a brutal high-volume shoulder routine using actual weight plates instead of barbells or dumbbells. The second video has me drinking tea, meditating, and going stand-up paddleboarding with a smile on my face. But guess what? They were filmed on the same day.
Why does this matter? Because for me, life needs both the loud clanging of the iron and the quiet of just me and my breath. Just one isn't enough. This balance is something I really got serious about during my time in India, which was portrayed extensively in the videos of my 12-Week Muscle-Building Trainer.
Before, I was the kind of guy who was always internally on edge and a bit angry. Sure, I'd use that to my advantage, but outside of the gym, I still wallowed in it. As a result, my levels of the stress hormone cortisol were off the charts. But since then, I've worked to develop a more contemplative side, and it's helped me immensely.
There are two crucial, undeniable parts of my life. Each day, I do some form of cardio that I enjoy. No, cardio doesn't have to be a miserable slog that you hate! And then, before bed, I spend 30 minutes of meditation in a darkened room, with no mobile devices and no distractions. All I do is sit in stillness and breathe. Try these two techniques, and you may never go back.
Take Your Pre-Workout Ritual Deadly Seriously
Don't take all that talk about meditation and quiet to mean I don't still bring it in the gym. As I detailed in my article "The Ultimate Kris Gethin Pre-Workout Experience," each workout I perform is the culmination of a full 90 minutes of mental, physical, and nutritional preparation.
No, this doesn't mean your life has to completely stop when a workout nears. It just means that everything I do during that period matters more. What I eat, what I drink, what I think about, what music I listen to—it all plays a part. That way, when the moment comes and I touch that first weight, I'm raring to go, and I don't waste a single second.
Develop Your Inner Circle
Every successful person in the world will tell you that you're only as strong as the company you keep. To realize your goals, you must become more particular about who you invest your precious time in.
Spend longer with like-minded individuals; seek guidance from those who've gone before you on the same path. You are the grand sum of the people you interact the most with, like it or not.
While the majority of my workouts are performed alone, just me against the iron, my community is large and diverse. Just recently, tens of thousands of you watched Steve Cook and me train together on Facebook Live during the holidays. Tens of thousands more watched Steve and me lighten up and address our haters on YouTube Live as the "Troll Patrol."
Sure, I'm fortunate to be able to train and hang with some of the world's greats. But there are other people who can be just as transformative for you. Search them out, and make yourself accountable to them. BodySpace, Bodybuilding.com's social platform, is the perfect place to start.
Believe me, you are much more likely to keep your word if it involves letting somebody else down, rather than just yourself.
Make Additions by Subtraction
Every point so far has been all about doing things better. That's crucial, but it's only one side of crafting a more effective life. Here's another side: Asking yourself what you can afford to stop doing in your life.
When I say "afford," I mean it literally. You have finite amounts of time, just like you have finite amounts of money. Discover areas where you can "trim the fat" so your time is not being wasted running errands you don't need to bother yourself with, or relationships that just suck the life out of you.
Think you don't have time to train effectively? I bet if you and I sat down and took a look at a week in your life, we could find something you could outsource, and something else that is just pure wasted time. It's said that the average person burns 4 hours of their day on social media. If you took just half of that and devoted it to prepping your day's meals, training hard, and taking care of yourself, your life would be vastly improved.
It's About Time!
This action plan is valid to every area of your life. But yes, it's also true that becoming more action-orientated and accountable means you will build muscle and strip fat quicker. Developing relationships with like-minded people will also enhance your results in and out of the gym. But the responsibility lies firmly on your shoulders to apply everything you have learned.
Strive to be in that minority of people that actually vows to make a change and keeps it! That is the route to your long-lasting health, results, and fulfilment.