This New Year's you will probably be tempted to make a resolution to change your health by committing to a fitness program and changing your eating habits. How do I know this? Because most New Year's resolutions are fitness related.
Why do so many people make the decision to change their health and fitness yet fail to actually follow through?
While the intentions are good, the instant commitment to extremely and drastically change is a setup for failure. And that is what most well-intentioned resolutioner's do -- they set themselves up for failure.
If you don't exercise regularly, deciding to commit to five workouts a week on top of an already busy schedule is too much. If you decide to change your diet by eliminating every food that you love and replacing it with kale and dry-ass chicken breasts, you will revel in misery for about three days before you succumb to a 'treat' because you have 'been so good.'
I have been in this industry for almost a decade and a half and have watched thousands of people go through the resolution process. I have seen abysmal failures and I have seen unbelievable successes.
Here are the six key elements shared by those who beat the statistics and accomplish true, long term, change.
1. Set small goals.
The biggest mistake people make is designing goals that are too big. From not exercising in 15 years they expect to suddenly launch into a six-day a week fitness program. Sorry. That is not going to happen. The other huge mistake people make is to completely change their diet. They take out everything they love and deem is "bad" for them and do something stupid like fast, try a cleanse, or attempt to live off of chicken salads.
Don't do these things. Set a small goal. When that becomes part of your life then add another small thing.
2. Find a good coach
This is the second most important piece of advice. Get a coach. You need a coach. Someone to show you what to do, make sure you're doing it right, keep it interesting, check your progress, and help with any hiccups that occur!
There really isn't anything else to say about it. Get. A. Coach.
3. Don't Join a gym -- join a community
Gyms suck. That's just the way it is. They love you when you are about to sign a contract or when they are up-selling you on buying training. After that you are just another face in the crowd.
Most of the time not only do the staff not know who the heck you are but the other members assume you are just another body taking up space that won't last more than a few weeks.
Join a community instead. Find a group of people who are friendly, support each other, and are all interested in making fitness effective and fun. The staff should be interested in you every time you come to the facility and always there to help out with questions, support, coaching, and motivation.
How do you find this? Modern tech makes it pretty easy! There should be a thriving online presence and community on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and other online platforms. If there is a great community to join, it will be pretty obvious!
Lastly, TRY the place out before making a long-term commitment. Quality fitness businesses will offer you a low cost, no commitment, short-term trial. Give it a go to make sure it is somewhere you are happy and comfortable!
4. No ankle weights or machines -- seek modern programming
It is not 1986. Or even 1996. This is 2016. Fitness has changed. Your program should be diverse, fun, and challenging. You should be doing full body training programs and using tools like the TRX, kettlebells, tires, ropes, sleds, prowlers, sliders, Viprs, and dumbells. All. The. Time!
5. Eat a lot of the right stuff
When you are active your body needs calories. That is how it grows, heals, gets stronger, and stays alive. Period. New Year's is an awesome time to watch people begin starving themselves in an effort to 'lose weight'. Barf.
How will you know what to eat, how much to eat, and if you are on the right track? Simply back up a couple of steps. You coach and your community will be able to give you all the guidance and support you need! That is another reason it is so important to have those resources!
Don't go it alone! Use your support!
6. Don't expect overnight success
You want it all, and you want it now! Thank you Freddy Mercury for embedding this mantra into our collective mindset.
You have a vacation in six weeks, a wedding in a couple of months or started a competition with your friend. Whatever the reason, you are expecting to look different and be an all 'new you' in a few weeks.
Sorry to burst your bubble, well, actually I am not, but this is completely unrealistic and the primary reason I believe people stop pursuing their goals. It just doesn't happen fast enough.
How long has it taken you to get to the point you are at now? A year? Five years? A decade? Longer? Well don't expect four weeks to get you back on track then! Be realistic.
Recognize that this is a LIFE LONG process. You have to make health and fitness a priority for the rest of your life. And the more you recognize that the longer and better your life will be. Seriously, you will have a better life! How awesome it that?!
This advice embodies the tried, tested, and true steps to success that I have seen a thousand times. Abide by them and you will achieve all of your fitness dreams!!!!
ALSO ON HUFFPOST: