Updated: Dec 30, 2019
As the festive season is in full swing, and we've all forgotten what day it is as we are living in a cheese coma, we start dreaming of a better life where we didn't have to live in 'comfy pants' or worry about the blood in our alcohol stream.
Our thoughts are naturally drawn to the New Year and all the amazing things we are going to achieve, once we've finished the Christmas Cake and rolled ourselves off the sofa that is. You can guarantee that motivational quotes will start flooding your news feed on all forms of social media, just to reiterate the fact that the 1st of January is a magical day, where wondrous things can happen. 2020 is going to be the best year of your life.
The allure of new beginnings in the fitness world often includes calorie-restrictive diets, quick-fixes, customized meal plans, fat burning lollipops and generic online programs. However, the sentiment of renewal in the air can be enough to make you believe anything is possible (including the skinny waist, six-pack, super toned butt and all the other semi-naked, sexualised images that your “Fitspiration” newsfeed appears to offer). A single tick of the clock, pop the cork of the champagne, turn the page of the calendar and everything changes. People rush to the gym, sign up for as many fitness classes as they can fit into a week, follow a crazy diet and throw themselves into their new regime with full force.
2020 I am going to be fitter and slimmer/stronger than ever before.
Go hard or go home, right?
NOOOOO!! Steady on for a second. Slow yourselves down. We all know even the best of intentions for New Years’ resolutions are doomed. Goals are really important for achieving things in life, but only if they're attacked in the correct way.
Yeah, maybe, you might make it to the middle of February, and that’s if you’re super good at the New Year Resolution shit. But invariably things start falling apart and it all goes horribly wrong. You find it impossible to fit in the stupid number of workouts each week you had planned and you keep falling off the “clean-eating” wagon. You start binge eating, drinking too much again. You begin to feel tired and unmotivated and generally like a BIG FAT FAILURE; another year, another effort at re-invention gone up in flames.
WHY?? Well January 1st is only a date after all and even though the mythology of the New Year is so colossal and unfaltering, it is just the same as any other old day. And failure generally doesn’t occur because you’re weak or undisciplined, it’s quite often because you’ve set yourself unrealistic targets - too much too soon.
Perhaps a good place to start is with a compassionate curiosity to the real forces that motivate our behavior and, more important, that inhibit and resist our development. Break things down into bite-sized pieces.
Take small manageable steps.
Don’t be that “all or nothing” New Year fool.
Ever heard of Kaizen? Rooted in the two thousand-year-old wisdom of the Tao Te Ching ("the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step"), Kaizen is the art of making great and lasting change through small, steady increments - a simple, but incredibly effective philosophy. Put it into a fitness context and the philosophy of Kaizen could dramatically affect how you view your “NEW YEAR, NEW YOU“ program and help you sustain a longer lasting relationship with your health and fitness.
New Years is so bad for us because it demands revolution from an unwilling and unready vessel. The best change comes, not with the false demands of the New Year Resolution, but by applying small refinements daily which, accumulated together in the long run, will provide the progress that most would view as incredible.
So this year, instead of making a New Years’ Resolution that encourages restriction and deprivation, just try to think of living your 2020 by a code, an ethos, a character or spirit.... and take it all in small, tiny manageable steps.
Growth. Progression. Extension. Advancement. Improvement. Evolvement. Cultivation.
Fitness is for life, not just for Christmas.