by Dave Thomas
January has always been a simultaneously encouraging and depressing month for me as a gym owner.
On one hand, we get a stock of new members eager to set and reach new goals, and a ton of current members stoked to hit the reset button and set their sights on some new achievements. Both rad things.
On the other hand, it always has me asking why must we wait for an arbitrary date on the calendar, only to see this new found devotion typically crack after a few short weeks for a good chunk of resolutioners.
What I am really most fascinated with is why most people have little to no success when it comes to enthusiasm at the start of a new year? What’s the trick to ensure this year is your last year you resolve?
Laziness is the easy scapegoat, but I believe it’s because most of us let the anxiety of the future overwhelm the beautiful simplicity of the present.
You know the thinking. We’ve all been guilty of it. “Well, Thanksgiving is this week. And then I travel for work. And then, well, I am home for Christmas so with all of that distraction I am just going to start eating healthy in January.”
Allowing invasive thoughts about the future into our present versus just winning that day. Winning our present decision put in front of our face only at the current given moment in time.
This kind of allowance of long term thinking to infect our present actions is what causes many to quit, because we feel so overwhelmed about the long road ahead of us and too many hurdles to overcome.
If I can’t stick to it for a year, then what’s the point of trying for a month?
Eliminate all that is not directly in front of you.
What are you going to have for your next meal?
What time are you going to go to the gym today?
How will you improve in today’s workout?
How much sleep will you get tonight?
When you wake up, let your first action be with conviction, whatever that might be.
I’ll use myself as an example.
I tend to be a very habit driven individual. Grooving out routines that are hard for me to break is something that allows me to stay relatively on track all months of the year.
I am no more motivated or a harder worker than anyone. I just think it boils down to learning how to simplify the decision making process.
I know that every day starts with my getting out of bed, walking into the kitchen and getting coffee on the stove and food into a pan. Right away. This part of the day is in my control and I take full advantage of that. I’ll toss some egg whites into a pan with a few whole eggs, slice up some fresh sweet potatoes and drink about eight ounces of organic coffee.
Having a healthy breakfast also has the naturally motivating effect of wanting your next meal to be in line with your goals, as well.
Winning becomes addictive and you want to keep the success going.
I usually cook two to three large meals throughout the week. I don’t have a set meal prep day, I find time for it when I can, but there is always a few options in my fridge to quickly reheat. This would be the only bit of advance planning that I typically recommend, as it eliminates the need for me to wander and find myself blacked out at Chic-Fil-A.
I try my hardest to put myself into positions where I can win my daily decisions.
So when going about your goals in 2016, remember the biggest cliche in the world.
Rome wasn’t built in the day.
Neither is your physique, strength, athleticism, business aspirations or whatever it is you’ve resolved to improve in 2016.
Just win the present, win the day and sooner or later your days will add up into something substantial.
Dave Thomas is owner of Performance360 in Pacific Beach, San Diego.