The New Year typically symbolizes a time to create a fresh set of resolutions, a list of goals you want to accomplish the coming year or even some bad habits you may want to leave behind. Unfortunately, in many cases, these resolutions slowly fade as the NEW of the New Year wears off and the routine of life settles back in. So how do you keep the fire alive? How do you stay on track to keep your fitness goals intact or your boxing career aspirations in sight?
1. Start with sub-goals. Make them obtainable. Before you resolve yourself to become a world champion, it might be best to start by simply getting to the gym every day. Identify the first step towards your ultimate reward. If your struggle is finding time to workout at all, then just start by doing some form of exercise every day. Even if you’re not breaking world records, just by setting the time aside, creating a new habit and being consistent, you are making progress in the right direction. Don’t be afraid to dream big, but there’s no shame in starting small. The most important thing is that you’re starting at all.
2. Change how you think about working out. View exercise or your time in the gym as a necessity instead of a luxury. Too many people act or feel like personal fitness is negotiable. It’s really not. It’s vital. Once you change your thought process and how much value you place on your own physical well-being, working-out becomes a part of your life, as natural and as commonplace as brushing your teeth. You do it every day and you don’t consider skipping it, even if you’re running late or it’s inconvenient. You just do it.
3. Be honest with yourself and be sure that what you set out to accomplish is really something you want. If you’re comfortable in your own skin and are okay being fifteen pounds overweight, then don’t set a weight loss goal…even if someone else REALLY wants you to lose weight. Or if you’re satisfied in the gym with just getting in the ring and toughing it out, but don’t really want to be the next Andre Ward, then don’t put up a front, put on a show or play the part…just enjoy the sport for what it is and what you want to get out of it. The people around you will respect you more for keeping it real and you can actually achieve what you want that way, instead of setting lofty goals you don’t want, can’t get to and won’t work towards.
4. Don’t keep it to yourself. Share your goals/resolutions with a friend, a coach or colleague. Once you speak them out loud, you will be more accountable, especially if you respect the person you share them with or if you want their respect. The mere idea that they know what you want and what you are trying to accomplish, will help you keep striving for it. If you consider quitting or start to falter, chances are they
will help keep you in-check or you will, but only because you’ve made your aspirations known. Keep them to yourself and its likely you have no intentions of accomplishing your goals anyway.
5. Hold yourself accountable, but don’t hold yourself hostage. Reaching your goal doesn’t have to be fun, easy or always encouraging, but it shouldn’t be constantly discouraging. If you stumble, don’t use that as an excuse to quit. Allow yourself to start over. Give yourself some latitude and cut yourself some slack. You will have off days. You will cheat on your diet. You will cut corners occasionally and even punk-out a time or two. Be hard on yourself, but don’t be unforgiving. There is always room for mistakes as long as they are honest ones and you resolve to do better next time…and then do it! Do better next time! You only really fail when you don’t try – as long as you really try (See tip #3 again).
There is no sure fire way to stay on task and reach your ultimate goals in life, in leisure or in the gym, but there is one thing for sure. It requires discipline, determination and desire. You have to want it, be willing to do what it takes to get it and then actually DO whatever it takes to get it. These are the intangibles that separate the dreamers for the doers. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming as long as you take action when your eyes are open.
Start your New Year by taking steps to reach your ultimate goals. They can be related to boxing or just fighting for a better life, but either way, you will be more likely to succeed if you strive to get there in phases. You don’t just “arrive” at anything. You can win at reaching your goals, just like you approach winning a boxing match, one round at a time. Keep punching away, keep racking up points and before you know it, the final bell will ring and the competitor’s hand who will be raise will be yours.