The New Year. A defining time. A time that prompts us to reflect upon the events of the past, define our goals for the future, and at the stroke of midnight, plunge forward with a renewed sense of hope and promise.
The New Year is a blank slate. A chance for a new beginning. Indeed, the most logical point to "resolve" to do things differently in the upcoming year.
In many ways, the New Year is a magical time, a time when we feel like we actually have the power to drastically transform our lives for the better. People resolve to quit smoking, get organized, take more time to enjoy family and friends and of course, one of the most common resolutions for the New Year, "lose weight" and "get in shape."
Every single year, I observe these "New Year's Resolutioners" descend upon the gym. Armed with their resolution for the New Year, they flock to the gym in hoards, purchase memberships and invest in personal trainers. The New-Years Resolutioners are a determined group indeed! They mean business!
Just days into the new year, they march into the gym donned in their brand new sweat pants, matching sweatshirts, headbands and brand-new, blinding white gym shoes.
I see them in every corner grinning ear to ear determined to lose weight and change their lives. These new, excited faces line the treadmills, the bikes, the cross-trainers, and the stair masters. They pile into aerobics, kickboxing and spinning classes.
I observe them dabbling with the weight-lifting equipment and milling around the free weight area. Most make it through the first few weeks of the New Year and a few die-hards actually stick it out until the end of February.
Then, one day, some time in March, I look around and I suddenly realize that all of the grinning, hopeful faces that once filled the classes and lined the cardio equipment are gone and I never really see them again.
For some, the magic surrounding the New Year slowly fades, excuses eclipse resolutions, commitment wanes and high hopes surrender when reality creeps in and once again life returns to "normal."
Demanding work schedules, family obligations and home improvements return as top priorities, and suddenly, the New Year's resolutions to "get fit" and "lose weight" are entirely dismissed. Others come to realize that the commitment to "get in shape" means more than purchasing a gym membership and hiring a personal trainer.
First and foremost, it means the willingness to make real changes and the inner drive to take that resolution, that hope for the brand new year and impel it into reality. Declaring the resolution is the easy part; remaining committed to the goal for the 365 days to follow can try the heart and soul.
At its very essence, a New Year's resolution is a commitment to change. Change is very difficult. Change is uncomfortable. Change begins with a personal vow or a "resolution" to do things differently and the spirit to stay the charted course when routine beckons.
Change disrupts life's equilibrium and the question then becomes whether you have the inner fortitude to withstand those "change back" forces and continue along on your journey toward your ultimate goal. Do you go out for a drink after work, or do you get to the gym and train? Do you sleep in, or do you get to the gym and train?
Do you tell yourself that you will workout later, or do you stay true to your resolution and get to the gym and train? At bottom, the choice is entirely yours. No one will chastise you, indeed no one will ever know or even care that you missed your workout. You are accountable only to yourself.
Perhaps we make resolutions with reckless abandon not fully appreciating the magnitude of these statements. Certainly, they are easily discarded with a chuckle and a wave of the hand when getting to the gym regularly becomes pure drudgery.
However, a resolution borne of personal desire and fortified with an unwavering commitment to accept change is a powerful vehicle for personal growth and spiritual transformation. Anything less is nothing more than an empty statement; a mere wish. You can "wish" for a better body but do you have what it takes to make it a true resolution?
As a trainer, I want nothing more than to see every single, solitary "New Year's Resolutioner" achieve his or her fitness goals and I will absolutely put my knowledge, expertise and sheer enthusiasm behind someone's resolution to "get in shape."
The reality, however, is that most well intentioned people accept defeat shortly into the New Year and will resurrect the "lose weight" and "get in shape" resolutions again on December 31st. If you are someone that resolved to "get in shape" this year, then I want to provide some guidance, wisdom and encouragement to help you along on your journey.
When you find yourself ready to discard or otherwise dismiss your desire for greater physical fitness, please stop for a moment and consider the following list.
Consider The Following
- "Getting in shape" is a continuous learning process, not an end in and of itself. Set realistic goals.
- Notice and appreciate the small changes in your body. The small changes are the building blocks for total transformation.
- Your body will not drastically change over night. When it comes to losing weight, there are no short-cuts or quick fixes. Lasting changes take time.
- Make yourself a priority. The world will not go into a holding pattern for the one hour that you are exercising.
- Invest in a good personal trainer and/or an experienced training partner. Trainers are experts in fitness. They know the way. And ultimately, a good trainer will make you accountable to yourself.
- Visualize how you want to look and feel. Now remind yourself that you own the power to make it a reality.
- Do not wait until some life threatening illness prompts you to take care of your physical being. Without your health, everything else matters not. Take control.
- Never give up. If you fall off of the fitness wagon, get back up, dust yourself off and get back to it!
- If you have time to watch television or go to the bar, you do have time for the gym.
- Remind yourself that you really can do it!
These are some of the things that I find myself consistently imparting to my clients when they want nothing more than to quit entirely. So, before you resolve to get in shape this year, think about what that declaration really means.
Think about the unyielding personal commitment necessary to take that resolution and make it your reality. Accept that you will experience set backs along the way and consider whether you have the inner drive, the sheer spiritual fortitude to stay the course and see it through to the end.
If you believe that you have what it takes, then seize the energy and magic of the New Year, make that resolution, affirm it as your reality and never let go!