Well, 2010 is finally here. Before you look forward, it’s often a good thing to look back over the year and take a look at what’s happened. This is a time to give yourself props for things that you’ve accomplished. It’s also a time to be honest about the things that didn’t go quite so well.
Not that you’re going to beat yourself up about it—it’s just that you need to reflect a bit. Maybe you made some mistakes along the way. Perhaps there was something you meant to do, but it never quite got off the ground.
Exercise programs often fall into this category. People make a New Year’s Resolution. Maybe they even come in and join the gym, or a Biggest Loser program. But then, life intrudes, old habits are hard to break, and so on, and before you know it, they’ve fallen away.
It’s like that for lots of new things that people try. Experts say it takes 21 times to make a habit. That would be 21 workouts, or three weeks, if you’re going every day. If you were planning on going three times a week, then it would take seven weeks before it was really a habit.
That’s about right. I’ve said before that in every Biggest Loser program we do—regardless how or when we do it, just about half the people stop for one reason or another. We see the biggest fall-out right in the middle of the 12 week program—at the six or seven week mark.
It’s tough finding people with staying power. I think it’s partly because people expect big results in the shortest possible time. The television show doesn’t help with this, because the Biggest Losers on TV are losing 10, 14, even 20 pounds in a week!
But people forget that those guys and gals are living on a ranch designed to help them do one thing—lose weight. They get to work out 6-8 hours a day. They have exactly the right food around, and lots of help and coaching. No kids, no jobs, and no distractions.
Sound like your life? I didn’t think so. Back here in the real world, you’ve got to find a way to fit your workouts into a life that’s probably already pretty full, with lots of distractions. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to get to the gym for an hour, most days.
So we need a reality check when we’re watching those reality shows. Those are controlled environments with highly motivated people with few distractions, and that’s not really real.
Your life, on the other hand, is quite real, so how do you get there from here? How can you lose the weight and get in shape this year? What has to happen to make you successful?
The first thing you need to do is be realistic about your expectations. If you can give yourself a year, you can be totally transformed. I’ve not ever met anyone who couldn’t get to their ideal weight in a year, if they were totally committed to it—even right here in little Paris, IL. Give yourself the time to get it done right.
The second thing you need to do is recognize that you need some help. It can be done alone, but the odds aren’t in your favor. If you get with a buddy, or in a group that is like minded, all of a sudden it gets easier. If you can get in a program that has a track record of getting results like you want, you’ll be much better off. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel.
It’s like when horses pulled a stagecoach. It was always much easier to pull the wagon with a team of horses. Otherwise, they’d fatigue, and you wouldn’t get very far. But with that whole team pulling together, they could get farther, faster. Get with a team and get yourself some help.
The third thing you need to do is set a reasonable goal. If you have something to shoot for, even if you don’t quite hit it, you’ll get a lot farther than you would have otherwise. It’s funny, but people that tried to lose 50 pounds always get a little disappointed when they come in at 43 or 45 lbs. But the fact remains—they lost over 40 lbs! You’ve got to set a goal.
The next thing is just get started. I say this one a lot. It’s kind of a mantra of ours around here. There’s huge power in just getting started. You see, unless you never start, you can never get there. “A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.”
There’s a lot of momentum that kicks in, once you get started. It’s a physical law too. Remember Newton’s laws? “An object at rest will remain at rest (read couch potato) unless acted on by an outside force.” This applies to you getting started, too.
It takes the greatest amount of effort to go in and get signed up, and then show up for your first workout. There’s a lot to overcome. You have to deal with fear of the unknown, fear of failing—perhaps you’ve tried things before.
Figuring out how to fit it into your schedule is often difficult too. That’s why I believe in the 24 hour concept, so that excuse is negated. Once you can get started, you’re on your way. After that, everything gets a little easier—and even if the workouts get harder later, you’ll continue to gain momentum.
I tell people that when they get started, their bodies are really working against them. They’re not as strong, and often carrying quite a bit of extra weight, which makes everything harder.
Once they get started, their body responds to the exercise by getting stronger and gaining endurance, making their exercise easier. As they start dropping a few pounds, that helps too, because they don’t have to move quite as much weight around.
Then as their body gets even stronger, it becomes an ally in the fight, because it lets them do even more work, which helps them burn even more calories, losing even more weight. It truly becomes a cycle of success—but you’ve got to last long enough for that to happen.
That brings me to the last thing you need to keep that cycle of success going: Be Consistent in your Approach. Another way of putting it is that you’ve got to be disciplined enough to keep doing it, even when you don’t feel like it or when things go wrong. You could also say you’re making a radical lifestyle change. This is critical.
I see it all the time. People will lose the weight, and then quit doing what they were doing, and gain most of it back. You have to make eating right and exercising smart part of your daily lifestyle for results to be permanent. But if you do, they’ll be spectacular.
We’re in the final week for registration for Biggest Loser “10” and “11.” One will run on Friday nights at 6:30 pm, and Saturday mornings at 10:00 am. When we did them only on Friday nights, people would tell me “if you only did it on Saturdays”… and when we did it on Saturday mornings, people would tell me “If we could just do it on Friday nights.”
Now, it’s up to you. Pick one, and get signed up before Friday. It’s $50 to participate. This train’s heading into 2010…with or without you. It might just be your chance to find a new you, this New Year!