2016 is here and it’s time to set those new year’s resolutions that no one can ever seem to stick with. You know how it goes. The new year comes around and you tell yourself, I’m going to make this change and I’m never going to look back!
January 30th rolls around and you're like, well I gave it a shot. Lol.
Don’t feel bad. I have done it plenty of times too. I’m pretty sure everyone has, no one is perfect. And beating yourself up for something you didn’t succeed at in the past is not going to help you succeed in the future. Don’t just give up on a certain resolution because you attempted in the past and failed. Perhaps you failed to live out your resolution because you weren’t ready for success when you made it.
Believe in yourself! Believe you can make it happen!
I know what you’re thinking; “That is common sense.” But the reality is most people don’t do this. They set a resolution without committing to seeing it through - without fully believing that they can do it.
Tell me if this rings a bell: you sit down to write down your resolutions for the new year. Now they are on paper - step 1 is done. Let’s say your first resolution is to lose weight. So now you think, how am I going to lose weight?
You say to yourself, I’m going to eat healthier and exercise more. Cool. Now you have a resolution and a plan.
The new year rolls around and the first week you go to the gym 3 times. You eat healthy most of the time. Week 2 - same thing, and you’re on a roll.
Week 3 comes and you only make it to the gym once. You tell yourself, I was just too busy. You start to crave food and your nutrition starts to get a little worse. Week 4, you don’t make it to the gym at all and your nutrition has completely fallen off.
The new year has past and your motivation is faded or is gone!
Now, maybe for you this doesn’t happen till week 6 or 8, but it happens nonetheless.
This has happened to me too. I know how much it sucks when you think, I got this, then you just fall off, back to your old ways.
So to be sure you hit 2016 running and don’t fall off, I want to show you how to avoid blowing the resolutions you wanted to last forever.
I want to help you set up some bulletproof resolutions. But this only works if you follow it step by step and put in the work.
Now, I’m not trying to overwhelm you by saying you will need to do some work. But the reality is this: to have a system that will be bulletproof in achieving lasting new year’s resolutions, you need to do some work upfront.
Myth: Writing it down on a sheet of paper and devising a plan in your head will work.
No one ever said you have to do resolutions by writing them down, but that is how most people do them and that method, plain and simple, doesn’t work for the majority. Committing a resolution to paper does not create motivation or generate resolve. Everyone who relies on this myth loses motivation at some point.
This myth leads to failure unless you are super-disciplined, which the majority of us are not - If we were, we wouldn’t need to set these resolutions for ourselves in the first place, right? There are too many loopholes or things that can go wrong and throw you off track doing it this way.
So here is my Bulletproof System:
STEP 1: Set resolutions using pull motivation instead of push motivation.
If you have not heard of push and pull motivation here are some examples to explain it briefly.
PUSH motivation example: You see a bear in the woods. It starts chasing you. You run away, obviously. The further you get from the bear, the slower you run and you will eventually stop. Push motivation is when you are doing something just so something bad won’t happen. It is negative motivation and will not keep you motivated once you’ve achieved a benchmark.
PULL motivation example: You start to exercise 3 days a week. After 3-4 weeks you notice you feel better each day and you have more energy. You want even more of these results so you start going to the gym 5 days a week. Pull motivation keeps you motivated because, as you start to see results, you work harder to get more/better results.
So the main difference here is, with pull motivation, you speed up as you see results and you never stop - you are continually pulled along by success. As opposed to slowing down or stopping after you achieve what you want with push motivation (i.e. you are further away from the bear so no more need to run).
Unfortunately, most resolutions are set with push motivations. You want get healthier so you don’t have a heart attack when you get older. While this is a valid fear it is a push motivation and once you feel you are healthy enough your fear of a heart attack subsides and you will stop doing what you started and fall back to where you were.
So when you are looking to set your resolution ask yourself why three times (maybe more) to get to the root of the purpose/meaning of that resolution. Example: Why do you want to lose weight? Because I will be healthier. Why do you want to be healthier? Because I want to feel more confident.
Feelings are much stronger motivators. They are ultimately why we do just about everything.
So to figure out if your resolutions is a PULL motivation you ask 1 simple question.
Will the results of my actions motivate me to do more of what I’m doing to get more of these results?
If the answer is yes, you have found a pull motivation - so run with it!
STEP 2: Learn from your past.
Remember what I mentioned earlier about not leaving out things you have attempted in the past and failed. Learn from it!
To learn from your past it’s pretty simple. Just ask yourself 4 questions.
Question 1: What got me to where I am today? (i.e. I eat too much and I eat junk food so I gained weight). List everything that comes to mind and be honest. You are not beating yourself up, you are reflecting for insight. If you are not honest this will not work.
Question 2: What have I tried in the past that has worked and why do I think it worked?
Question 3: What have I tried in the past that hasn’t worked and why do I think it didn’t work? Again be honest. If you haven’t tried anything, no worries. I will cover what to do in a bit.
Question 4: What have been or currently are my biggest obstacles that will make it difficult to achieve this?
The more detailed answers the better and more effective your plan will be.
STEP 3: Create a strategic plan and write it down.
First, grab a notepad and a pen or your computer and open up a google doc or word doc whatever you normally use to write and remember. I use a pen and a pad of paper to keep a clear head and not get distracted on the computer. You can always transfer it and type it once it’s done but do what works best for you.
Now it’s time to take those answers from the questions in step 2 and formulate a plan. Here is an outline for how to use the answers from the questions to create a bulletproof plan.
From what you wrote down in question 1 brainstorm ways you can change what you are doing to see the results you want. Write down everything, we might not use it all. Be realistic it has to be a change that you are willing to make and isn’t too extremely different, otherwise, it won’t last.
Question 2 tells you what works. You will want to reference and try to do these things as much as you can because these things have already been proven to work for you in the past.
Question 3 tells you what doesn’t work for you. When you have your plan all set we just look back and make sure our plan doesn’t include anything that didn’t work for you in the past.
So what happens if you haven’t tried anything relating to your resolution before? Or you have no clue how you got to where you are now.
No problem! Spend 30-minutes researching what causes you to have the results you have (ie you are gaining weight) and how to get the results you want (ie start losing weight).
I have this awesome tool to help you. It's called Google. Maybe you have heard of it maybe you haven’t. It knows all things! Lol
I know what you are thinking. “But there is a lot of bad advice out there on the internet.” Well, first of all, some idea of how to solve a problem is better than no idea. And there is an easy way to weed out the crap. Just read multiple opinions and look for what they all have in common, are they saying the same things. Then it probably works and is good advice.
And second, thinking that way is negative and sets you up for failure. You’re turning a new leaf this year so change your mindset.
Stop thinking of all the ways things won’t work and start thinking of all the ways that they will.
If you can’t change this type of thinking you will have a hard time achieving anything. You will always find an excuse or a reason that it won’t work and you will be right because you just took your eye off the ball and you will stop trying because you THINK it won’t work (thinking something doesn’t make it true, you don’t know until you try).
Never fail to try!
Sorry for that rant. But your mindset in this is everything. It is what drives you and motivates you!
Now, from everything you wrote down in question four, brainstorm ways around these obstacles. You combine these with what you brainstorm as solutions for question one and also combine it with the answers from question two or any solutions you found in your research.
Then create a step by step plan for your resolution. As much as possible use numbers in these steps so you can track and determine if you are succeeding. Each step needs to include something you will need to track and WRITE IT DOWN.
Step 1: I will track everything I eat throughout the day for 2 weeks. I will write it down - everything - before I go to bed. I will set an alarm on my phone at 9pm to remind myself to write it down.
Step 2: I will continue step 1. I will add one healthy food to my meals - at least 5 meals throughout the week.
Step 3: I will continue step 1 and 2. I will cut back on candy. I will limit myself to only having candy 4 days a week and never in large amounts.
Step 4: Continue 1, 2, and 3. I will drink 80oz of water a day.
And keep going as long as you think it needs to be. The more detail in these steps the better. You want to be 100% clear on what you are doing. If you are not clear then you are more likely to fail. An example of a good step here would be- You want to exercise more to lose weight, so you write down that you will exercise 3 days a week.
An example of a bad step here would be- You say you want to lose 5 pounds by the 2-week mark.(Great goal but your steps should not be tied to your results.)
Your Steps should be tied to the actions you need to take to achieve those results. So what happens if your steps or plan is not working how you thought? We will cover that in step 5.
You're almost finished!
STEP 4: Tell people and have them hold you accountable.
So you have your plan and now it is time for the hard part: telling someone or multiple people and having them hold you accountable. Making it public will put an unseen motivator on you which will compel you will to try harder. Because you told everyone, everyone will hold you accountable to some degree. It’s more mental than actual, but it works.
Most people these days want to avoid accountability.
I know you are not a child but, to make it simple for you, accountability works. You are much more likely to follow through on what you say if someone is holding you to it or there is a consequence if you don’t do what you say.
Now some of you may be thinking, “but that is Push motivation and you told me not to use that!” That is right. I told you not to use that when you are setting your resolutions. This is when you use push motivation - at the beginning when things are hardest.
You won’t need this push motivation forever. When you start to see results you will want more and it will be easier to do more because you have already started. As long as you have a pull resolution/goal. Now you need to ask yourself two questions.
Question 1: Who can I have hold me accountable? This needs to be someone you have a good relationship with but will not cut you slack and sympathize for your excuses. And don’t lie to yourself- you will want to make excuses to justify why you didn’t complete something. But no matter how valid the excuse, at the end of the day you still didn’t complete what you said and that inaction doesn’t give you results.
You may have a different person for each resolution or maybe someone holds you accountable for all of them.
Question 2: How can this person hold me accountable?
Good example 1- I say I am going to only eat candy 4 days a week no more than once a day and never in excessive amounts. If you eat candy 5 days or more you owe $100 to whoever is holding you accountable.
Good example 2- You say you want to exercise more to lose weight so you say you will be exercising 3 days a week. You only make it 2 days. Your accountability person doesn’t care why. Unless you were severely injured or sick. You will need to do 100 burpees for time and add 1 extra workout the following week.
Bad example: You say you want to exercise more to lose weight so you say you will be exercising 3 days a week. You only make it 2 days. Your accountability person doesn’t care why. Unless you were severely injured or sick. You will need to do 10 pushups.
This is not a good way to be held accountable because it is too small of a consequence. You really won’t care if you don’t do what you say.
You should get a guilty or worried gut feeling when you think of what you will need to do if you don’t follow through. For some, a brutal workout is a good motivator. For some money is a good motivator. Note - (don’t go broke, although that is a pretty good motivator, considering most people go to work every day just so they can pay the bills and not go broke).
You know yourself better than I know you so do whatever gives you those feelings.
You will need to meet up with this accountability person face to face before you start. Explain to them your plan and your goals in detail. The more detail they have the better they can help you. Then ask if they would mind helping. If they say no well they are probably not a very good friend then. But most likely they will say yes.
Then tell them how they will be holding you accountable.
Then you need to schedule check-in meetings with this person on a regular basis. In person is better than over the phone because your accountability person can see your body language to know if you may be, let’s say, bending the truth a little bit. They can also look through your stuff you’re supposed to be tracking and see that you are doing what you say you are.
STEP 5: Execute, Track, and Adjust.
At the end of the day, there really is no truly bulletproof plan to sticking with a resolution. Your plan must be flexible/adjustable because life changes, your situations change. There are countless numbers of thing that will hold you back and trip you up that you will never see coming.
So step 5 is what you do once you have started to execute on your plan.
You have begun and you are 2 weeks in and you have tracked everything. Now it’s time to reflect and see if what you are doing is working.
Ask yourself these questions. Am I seeing results? Will I be able to stick to this now that I have done it for a little bit and I know what it takes? If the answer is no to either of these it is time adjust your strategic plan.
Some of you may have goals that won’t deliver noticeable results in just 2 weeks but you should know about how long it should take to see some kind of results. If you are not seeing any results at that point, then you need to adjust the plan.
To adjust your plan ask yourself these questions.
What is working and what is not working with my plan? How can I adjust it so it will work? Make necessary adjustments and go for another 2 weeks.
Then ask yourself at the end of the 2 weeks. Am I seeing results? Will I be able to stick to this now that I have done it for a little bit and I know what it takes? If the answer is no to either of these it is time adjust your strategic plan.
STEP 5.5: Repeat step 5 on regular intervals.
Simply repeat this process over and over and over again. After the first 2-3 times of doing this it will only take maybe 5 minutes to make adjustments.
When you find stuff that is giving you the results you want. Do more of it, even if it is not in your initial plan. Your initial plan is made to be adjusted. When you find stuff that works don’t be like, that worked now I going to stop doing that and try this. That is STUPIDITY!!!!
Run with what works until it stops working or you can’t do it anymore for some reason.
I hope you got a lot out of this blog and found it very helpful in setting up your resolutions so you can stick with them and see the results you deserve when you put in the work.
The great thing about this process is it can be used for setting everyday goals as well. It doesn’t have to be a new year’s resolution. Because we always have new ambitions and new things we want to achieve. Use this for any goal you set and you will have a much better chance of succeeding.
Make this the year you stop saying “I wish”, and start saying “I will”
Step 5.75 - Download the BulletProof Resolution Worksheet
I have put together a free PDF download for you. It has all the questions laid out for you so you can simply type in answers or print it out and write your answers in, so the process is smooth and easy. We don’t want you to get overwhelmed and quit before you get started :). Just click here and fill out the form and we will send you the PDF right away so you can get started.
Teaser: I also put a bit more on how to choose which resolutions you should go after. And how to decide so don’t miss it.
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I would love to get your feedback and hear about the results you're seeing with this process. And, if you found this helpful, please do me a favor and share it with your friends on Facebook. Feel free to shoot us an email or leave a question in the comments or on our Facebook page. We will get back to you right away.
We’re Here to Help!
If you need help with accountability we would love to assist, so if you are located near our gym in Maple Grove, MN contact us!
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We have a FitCamp program starting about every two months so check it out and see if it is right for you. We teach you how to be successful with your health and fitness both in the gym and outside of the gym.
I resolve to make Fierce Play the most resolution-friendly box in MN. Let’s do it!