I have to be honest the whole fad of beginning a diet or training program in January drives me nuts. Not because people are dieting or training, but because they purposefully waited till now to start.
It's like c'mon people you literally wasted part of your life procrastinating on something that can only add value to your life.
I mean just imagine where a lot of them would be if they had just began the exact moment they began planning their big 2016 turn around.
And while I do sometimes get annoyed by the trend and wish people would just start NOW instead of later I do support the effort so many individuals are going to be making over the next two months to try and improve themselves.
That being said many of you know that many of these people won't make it past 30 days before giving up on their new behaviors and returning to their old ways which is sad because they will definitely be missing out.
This is why I wanted to write this post.
I want to share with you how I believe you can make 2016 different and how you can actually make long-term change possible and lasting.
I think this kind of successful behavior change takes 5 things.
Maybe you already have or do some of them. Maybe you don't see yourself in any of them.
The point is they all allow you to maintain the right state of mind during the process of change.
These things will keep you focused, motivated, and in a mindset of success.
1. Develop a growth-mindset.
This is where it all starts.
Without a growth mindset you will never be able to change because without a growth mindset you can't believe there is a chance to change.
If your stuck in a fixed mindset everything is about validating and confirming your current abilities and your current identity.
You can't risk trying new things because it would do to much damage to your ego when the first inevitable failure happens.
Carol Dweck is the champion of the growth mindset and her book Mindset should be a must read for every human being regardless of age or gender.
I'll let you read the book in order to full understand the implications of this mindset, but for the purposes of this post I think it's important that you first understand what it means to have a growth mindset.
As Dweck explains, "in a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point."
This means that having a growth mindset opens you up to accept the unlimited potential that you have at your disposal to be anything and everything you want too.
And this mindset can be cultivated through simply changing your fundamental belief about whether or not you can develop your abilities to do anything.
Once you make the change to a growth mindset only then will you be able to handle the process of changing your behavior.
2. Practice gratitude daily.
While I think that chasing our best self and our best life is great I have to admit that at times this can cause us to lose sight of how wonderful our lives and ourselves are currently.
There is nothing wrong with looking toward the horizon and advancing toward it confidently, but the important thing to remember about that horizon is it never really gets closer.
The true reward isn't reaching the horizon or the destination because it's always moving.
The true reward is looking back on how far we've come in our pursuit and reflecting on all we have accomplished and all we have to be appreciative and grateful for.
That is why I think if you are someone who is running mad after your goals it's important that you realize your goals will likely change and some you may never reach, but in the pursuit of these goals you are going to get things that are way more valuable that you won't be able to see unless you take a moment each day to look at them.
This is where a daily practice of expressing gratitude for the things you have, the opportunities you are presented with, and the people you get to be with is so important.
It doesn't have to be a big, thought out practice. It can simply be a moment each day you acknowledge the things you are grateful for and don't want to take for granted.
I personally do have a formal way of practicing this and I stole it from Craig Ballantyne of Turbulence Training and Early To Rise. I call it my gratitude journal and you can see how it's done here.
3. Train in a group.
This one may seem unnecessary, but it's one of the most important!
I've written a lot on this site about the importance of a having a community (here and here) and the benefit you receive from training in a group (here), but I harp on it again because I desperately think that people underestimate how important community is to our health as human beings.
Lack of a community and meaningful relationship deeply affects our motivation to change and having the wrong community and relationship negatively impacts our belief that we can change.
However the exact opposite of that is also true which makes it so powerful.
Finding a group of other people who share the same mission and values that you do and who you can hang around and train with gives you the opportunity to be exposed to a new norm, take on a set of beliefs, and gain the competence you will need to take on a behavior change.
Please don't be shy, reach out, and find your tribe. You need them just as they need you.
4. Practice a new habit every two weeks.
If you want to succeed you have to be what I called process obsessed.
You have to stop trying to find the all in one solution to your problem that comes with a no hassle guarantee because it simply doesn't exist and is not how success happens.
Success is ultimately built on a lot of small wins and a lot more small failures.
It's about doing, failing, learning, and then winning.
However you never get to the winning part until you start doing, failing, and learning.
This is why I think it is really important to always be in a constant state of practicing and in particular practicing new habits or behaviors.
They can be as complicated or as simple as you want to make them I'll let you decide from doing which kind of habit works better, but the important part is that you try them and you practice them.
Some days you will fail miserably. Some days you will nail it perfectly. And still somedays you'll end up somewhere in between.
But through this process of practice you will learn about yourself - your priorities, your values, and your motivations.
You will begin to discover what things drive you.
What daily habits are essential to your success and your happiness.
And most importantly you will get over your fear of failing, your need to be perfect, and your belief that this should all be easy and one magical fairytale.
5. Keep showing up.
I know this one might sound lame, but you wouldn't believe the amount of people I've trained over the last five years who pay me a lot of money to assess them, write them a program, and yet don't show up for more than half of their training sessions.
It's kind of hard to believe, but in today's world you can out do the majority of people by just showing up more than once.
You may roll your eyes at this and think there has to be more to this then simply showing up repeatedly and this is when I will tell you that you are making it to complicated. Maybe that complexity you dream up is a way of excusing yourself from showing up? Just a thought.
But in reality it is this simple.
Most of the people you know who are in amazing shape, maybe even shape you envy, likely are no different from you in any major way except that they have continued to showing up day after day longer than you have. They put in more time, gotten more reps, and practiced the skills necessary to maintain their shape more than you have.
I promise you if you do these things you will be successful at changing whatever it is you want to change.
Approach life and everything in it with a Growth Mindset.
Exude gratitude daily for the life you have, the person you are, and the wonderful people in your life.
Find a community of like-minded people who you can hangout with, talk with, and sweat with to create meaningful and long-term relationships.
Always be practicing a new habit.
And no matter what happens or how well the previous day went just keep showing up in all these things everyday.
I promise good things will ensue.
Happy moving and heavy lifting!
Practical, Purposeful, Effective Training