Not sure how it happened, but it is already 2017. What are your goals for the new year? More importantly, how are you going to reach them? Nearly everyone has resolutions for positive change in their life. We all have goals. But few people follow through with the necessary discipline for reaching them. As a gym owner, I see it every year. January, the gym is packed. I talk to a lot of people who have decided that THIS is the year they are going to get in shape, THIS is the year they will destroy the competition, THIS is the year they will PR on various lifts, THIS is the year they will run a marathon. But what happens next is what separates those who reach their goals, from those who settle. Here are three ways to keep yourself on track in 2017.
#1 Vision Board
Vision boards are awesome. The idea behind a vision board is to spend time each day visually acknowledging your goal. Whether you use a white board, poster board, sticky notes, or window markers, write down or post a picture of your goals on the board. You can have a single goal, or separate your board into 2, 4, or 6 different goals. I like to use a 6 space board with a goal for each of the following categories:
God, Family/Friends, Projects, Business, Health, and Performance Goals
Most goals should be fairly attainable shorter term goals such as lose 5-10 lbs., send out 30 thank you cards, read 4 books, improve your squat by 20 lbs., etc. Long term goals like “be a better father” are great, but use your vision board for specific stepping stones toward that primary goal. Each morning, look at your board for 3 minutes as soon as you wake up and focus on what needs to be done to achieve each goal. This starts your day out on the right track, reminding you what you should make a priority for the day. Each night, right before bed, focus on your board again for 3 minutes. Doing this, it’s not unusual to even dream about your goals and how to reach them. There are mornings I wake up motivated to dominate my goals before I even look at the board.
Once you have committed to focusing your mind on your goals a mere 6 minutes a day, the next step is to relentlessly pursue these short term goals until you meet them. It should be a competition, or game of sorts to see how fast you can check things off and put up another goal that will get you closer to long-term resolution success. Put up a vision board immediately. It doesn’t have to be perfect, so don’t put it off. Make sure you place it where you will see it first thing in the morning. Commit to using it consistently. Then, chase your dreams.
#2 Eliminate Distractions
Distractions are everywhere. There is a common thought that it takes roughly 10,000 hours to become an expert at something (Malcolm Gladwell suggests this time may vary, but you get the point). Looking at your goals, you know where you need to spend your time. Time is a huge obstacle for people successfully following through with their resolutions. There are obviously things unrelated to our goals that need to be addressed. Time with family is priority. Work is essential. Sleep is necessary. But, what about all of those other things? Following the 10,000 hour idea, I am much closer to being an expert on social media than I care to admit. How much time per day do you spend browsing Facebook? How many hours a week do you watch Netflix? Are either of these things getting you closer to your goals, or are they sucking away valuable time that could be dedicated to your resolutions? What things can you cut back on or cut out completely that are distracting you from the things you should be doing? You are rarely stagnant in pursuit of your goals. You are always getting closer to them or further away from them. The less time you spend distracted by unnecessary things in your life, the more time you can spend on the things you decide matter in 2017.
#3 Train with Intent
Somewhere on most people’s list of resolutions is something related to health and fitness. It is easy to go to the gym and go through the motions. Easy to know what the goal is, but go to the gym without a plan and do whatever sounds fun for the day.Lacking structure, lacking a game plan, lacking intent will keep you from reaching your goals.
My fitness goals are always performance based. A few months ago, I came to the realization that I often just go through the motions. I work hard in the gym, and I train often, but I realized I often lack intent. I have goals, but don’t always spend time thinking about them before a workout or before Jiu-Jitsu class. I love Jiu-Jitsu, but that sometimes gets in the way of my goals. I actually draw a lot of joy just going through the motions. Win or lose, I spar and I have FUN! Jiu-Jitsu is a good workout, great stress relief, and quality time I can spend with friends. Too often I can get beat soundly and leave class content and smiling. Other days I beat up on a bunch of newer guys and leave smiling. Is it bad to enjoy every day? Not necessarily. What is bad is that I still often go to class unfocused when I know if I spend a few minutes reviewing my goals, and focusing specifically on what I know I need to work on, I not only grapple better, but I get much more out of my training session. It takes Jiu-Jitsu from just another fun day at class to actually making progress toward my grappling goals. Training complacently doesn’t get me closer to my goals. Training with intent does.
So how do you train with intent? A vision board can help. If you train in the morning your goals should be fresh in your mind. Mid-day or evening, another 3 minutes looking at your vision board can make a world of difference. I take photos of my vision board on my phone so I can always have it at my fingertips. If not your vision board, just dedicate a few minutes prior to training to reflect on your goals. Spend some time before, or even as you warm up for a workout, mentally reviewing your goals and what you need to achieve for the day to progress toward them. Remind yourself before every workout why you are there and you are more likely to work hard and stay motivated.
Are you ready? Do you have big dreams? Do you have worthy resolutions? If you really want them, chase them relentlessly. Don’t settle for anything less than success. Get your mind right, and get ready to dominate 2017!