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A Five Step Process To Succeed This New Year

Isaac Wilkins

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Well, it starts today.

Today is the first “normal" day of the New Year, and this is going to be the year that everyone gets in shape. At least, that's what they think. From here until about the middle or end of February the gyms are going to be so stuffed with New Year Resolutioners that it'll be tough for a regular fitness buff to get a workout in. You know what? Most of the Resolutioners will come no closer to their goals than they did last year. They'll flail around in the gym for a few weeks until results don't show up and their motivation waivers. Then it's back to the couch for another year and another five or ten pound gain around the middle.

It really doesn't have to be that way, and that is what makes it so unfortunate. If I just described you above or you know somebody that falls into that mold (you know you do) then I'm going to ask you to try out a little process for me. I'm going to show you a five-step approach to the mentality of fitness and of changing your body that has worked for my clients. Is this a hardcore set and rep scheme for you to follow? No. What you do is up to you. What I'm going to do is to lay a bit of a foundation to point you in the right direction.

Step One: Identify your starting position. Where are you now? Take a good look at your lifestyle and your body. Write down 15 descriptive words about yourself, both positive qualities and things you want to work on.

Step Two: Identify your goals and resolutions. Probably you've already done this to some degree, but I want you to really flesh them out. I've recently gone over some goal setting information on my blog ( ). I won't reprint it here, but check that out or research some visualization and goal-setting ideas.

Step Three: Identify your negative behaviors. What's keeping you from being where you want to be? Are you a smoker? That'll make running a great time in this year's company 5k run that much harder. Do you skip breakfast and lunch then binge at dinner? That's a hard way to keep your diet under control and avoid poor food choices. Write these down on a piece of paper in a column on the left side.

Step Four: Identify your positive behaviors. Let's think about your good qualities that are helping you towards your resolution. Perhaps you do a good job getting eight hours of sleep, or you always eat a good breakfast. I'm sure there are some good behaviors going on in your life if you think about it. Write those down on the same piece of paper from Step Three on the right side.

Step Five: Fix the negative and refine the positive. Ok, now you've got a solid list of behaviors that you're currently engaging in that you know are either helping or hurting you. What I want you to do this week is to pick one of each. You are to stop or reverse the negative behavior and you are to emphasize the positive behavior. For example this week you start could eating a good breakfast every day (reversing the negative). To reinforce the positive you could walk add a bit of time to your daily dog-walking route. Those are just examples, but you get the idea.

After a couple of weeks of consistency these changes will start to become habits. At this point, move down the list and pick another two behaviors. Continue to work on the first two, but improve the two new ones as well. Keep working on improving the positive and negative in a gradual but deliberate manner and you'll be surprised at the changes in your behavior and your success.

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Isaac Wilkins, M. Ed, CSCS, NSCA-CPT Training athletes and driven individuals in Charleston, SC and beyond. Get strong, get fast, become the new you


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