‘Tis the season to celebrate with family and friends. To eat, drink and be merry. To overindulge in just about everything. The holidays, with all their fun and celebration, are capped off with New Year’s Day and the infamous New Year’s resolutions. Resolutions to start something, stop something or maybe even recommit to a previous resolution. I’m sure that most of us can admit that a resolution at one time or another included something from starting a new exercise routine to getting a complete lifestyle makeover. I know I’ve done this more times than I’d care to remember.
On January 1st, I’d be ready with new workout clothes; awesome new shoes; fresh, healthy food in the fridge; and a plan to completely kill it at the gym 6 days a week for the rest of eternity. I’d tell myself, “This is the year. This is the time to get in shape, eat better, sleep more …conquer the world!” So why is it that in the past when I’ve done this, I didn’t even make it through February without seriously veering off course or giving up altogether?
Because I tried to change everything at once—an attempted complete overhaul to multiple areas of my life. And then, when I realized that the intense plan I had created wasn’t feasible, I’d get frustrated and disappointed with myself and give up because I couldn’t do it. It would only take a few days off-course to derail me.
So what’s changed? Why haven’t I made a resolution like this since I’ve fallen in love with lifting heavy? Because I’ve figured out how to slowly get on track and stay there. I’ve found the key to success. It wasn’t specifically weightlifting. It wasn’t a certain diet or an exact number of hours of sleep a night. It was moderation. I didn’t try to do anything to the extreme, nor did I try to do it all at once. My mantra before: It’s all or nothing. My mantra now: Slow and steady wins the race.
When I started with weightlifting, I couldn’t even fathom a 300-lb deadlift. Honestly, I didn’t even know what a deadlift was. I just wanted things to change. I wanted to take better care of myself. So, I started my weightlifting journey (at Jim’s insistence) focusing on proper form and movement. I did everything with PVC pipe, resistance bands and body weight. I progressed to dumbbells and kettlebells. Picking up the bar came months after starting. But I made the commitment to lifting weights over two years ago, and I’ve never felt like quitting. I’ve never been derailed because my goals are appropriate, my lifestyle can be maintained, and there’s wiggle room for going off plan.
So if you’re pondering a resolution that commits you to a new fitness or lifestyle goal, keep moderation in mind. And hopefully, come next New Year’s Day, you’ll realize you’ve spent the whole year working toward attainable goals, you’ve stayed on track, and there will be no need to start over.