Name: Zuzka Light
Occupation: Fitness model, online personal trainer
If you're like me, you're incredibly excited for the new year and everything you plan to achieve. I'm going to bring you a lot of cool stuff this year!
I have many new workouts planned for Bodybuilding.com, and you can always work out with me at the ZGym on zuzkalight.com.
But, before you even start working out, make sure to set up your new goals and New Year's resolutions for 2016. Leave the old year behind. Don't punish yourself anymore for what you could have done differently in 2015.
Start with a clean slate and approach the year with completely new goals. By following these five steps, you can achieve all your goals!
Bad Goal: "Oh, I just want to lose a little bit of weight and tone up."
Good Goal: "I want to lose 15 pounds in three months."
The first thing you want to do is set up a long-term goal. It should be specific. Obscure goals will not cut it! A goal has to be specific, written, measurable, and have an appropriate timeline.
Write your big, specific goal down; give it a timeline; and make sure your big goal springs from a well of intrinsic motivation. The goal must be emotionally charged so it always motivates you. It should keep you going and keep you from giving up. To satisfy these requirements, you have to go beyond short-term, shallow inspiration and draw from deep sources of motivation.
Make sure your long-term goal is realistic. Personal trainers and fitness coaches can help you set up realistic goals, because they know that gaining 5 pounds of lean muscle in one week is far-fetched. Ask a personal trainer, fit friend, or coach to assess how achievable your goal is.
Write Positive, Avoid Negative
Negative: "I will not eat junk food."
Positive: "I will eat vegetables and protein at every meal."
Small, daily goals are essential stepping stones on the path to your big goal. Write down small goals at the start of every single day. These are behavior goals, or what you do each day to get closer to your long-term goals.
Keep a journal, and write down what your want to achieve. Make it specific! These goals should be easy to achieve but meaningful, such as:
- "I'm going to set my timer on my iPhone to remind me to eat every four hours."
- "I'm going to eat veggies with lean protein at every meal."
Use positive affirmations! Don't write your goals in the negative, because your subconscious does not understand what it means.
Instead of saying what you won't do, write what you will do! Avoid the negative and swing for the positive.
Tools for Success
Bad Excuse: "I feel so tired. I had such a long day at work. I cannot do any workout whatsoever."
Good Excuse: "I really feel like I am getting sick and my body needs time for recovery."
What is the difference between a good excuse and bad excuse? Bad excuses come from thin air, whereas good excuses are grounded in reality and need to be evaluated further. Realize when you invent an excuse not to work out, and always evaluate your excuses.
Planning is everything! If you set a goal to work out every day when you get off work but for some reason never do it, then your plan is flawed. You have to adjust your plan and find a time that fits your schedule better.
Even the best plans hit speed bumps, but you can always improvise to achieve your goals. If you run out of time for the long workout you envisioned, you can still tackle a great 15-minute workout. Everyone can find time to do a 15-minute workout. Even if 15 minutes is a challenge, you can attack a 5-minute workout before you shower or go to bed.
These are your rules, so commit to them! Stick with it, no matter what is going on with your life. It will make you a stronger person and help you turn fitness into a habit. Once you build a habit, it becomes easier to stay consistent.
Track Your Results
Track your progress with numbers and pictures, not just the mirror. Your self-image doesn't always match with reality. It varies depending on your mood and confidence. Numbers and progress pictures tell the real story.
I sometimes look at the mirror and think I look bigger, like I've gained weight. I might feel sluggish, so I'll take my measuring tape and check all my stats. If everything remains the same, I realize it's just a feeling. It has nothing to do with reality. It's easy to get emotionally thrown like this, but numbers will always tell you the truth!
I always track my progress with a measuring tape. I don't worry about my weight. It's easy to get hung up on how much you weigh, but your weight really doesn't matter if your measurements are improving.
I use measuring tape so I know where I've made progress, whether it's losing fat around my waist or gaining muscle around my arms.
I suggest you measure in every available way, at least initially. Use a measuring tape, take progress pictures, and get your body fat tested. It will help you set concrete goals if you have a concrete starting place.
From there, track your progress every two weeks. You don't have to do it every day. If you measure daily, you'll obsess over it, and there's already enough on your mind.
Bad Rewards: Food, especially junk food, and other unscheduled treats.
Good Rewards: Celebrate your success! Get a massage, go to a movie, or get some new clothes.
You should reward yourself for your efforts, but the right rewards are essential. I suggest you reward yourself every week for following through with your daily goals.
Following your goals seven days in a row is progress in itself. It's an accomplishment, so you should reward yourself. Good rewards positively reinforce your behavior and goals.
Your long-term goal should also be so motivating and so emotionally charged that reaching the goal is a reward. If you think this way, you'll feel positive about your behavior, even when the going gets tough.
The big reward is achieving the long-term goal you set. If you reach it, you'll be proud and happy about what you have achieved.
New Year, New Plan
Now sit down, think carefully, and set up your goals for the new year! I hope you check out my Zgym, where we can work out together on a daily basis.
I'll also be giving more workouts to Bodybuilding.com, so you can check here for more. Think positively, follow the rules above, and you will succeed!