Congratulations. There’s a brand new year ahead of you and, with it, a fresh chance to improve your health and get in shape.

Sounds like last year, right?  And the year before that…and the one before that. So, what makes this year the year you actually follow through on your dream to get in great shape, lose weight, eat right and exercise?

Making the decision is just the first step. The rest is a combination of mental preparation, goal setting and hard work, training your mind – as well as your body – to support fitness success.

If you really want to make 2016 the “best year ever” and make a real transformation – or just lose some weight and build some sculpted lean muscle – here are some action steps to get you there.

  1. Be realistic. There is only one Gisele Bundchen, only one Tom Brady, so don’t try to be them. Let them be inexplicably perfect together. Decide upon goals that are actionable, healthy, and attainable for you.
  2. Commit.  When you decide on a fitness related goal, mentally commit to it. Write it down. Remind yourself often. Decide that you will honor this commitment to yourself – even when you don’t feel like it – because you know it is the right thing to do.
  3. Visualize. Picture what life will be like when achieve your goals. How will getting in shape boost your confidence? Improve your love life? Increase your energy? If being out of shape has been holding you back from enjoying life, imagine how liberating it will be when these doors are open to you.
  4. Choose Your Weapon. Declaring, “I’m going to exercise more!” is noble, but knowing how you will exercise is essential. If you’re not sure what to do, find a gym that can personalize a fitness program for you.  You’ll have much greater success if all you have to worry about is showing up. A coach or personal trainer can be extremely helpful in planning a program for you and making sure you follow it safely and effectively.
  5. Schedule. How much time can you honestly dedicate to exercise? Choose a workout that fits your schedule, place your workouts on a calendar, and work your schedule around them. This time should be non-negotiable – don’t cancel on yourself.
  6. Fuel Your Workouts. If you exercise but still eat junk food, you are setting yourself up to fail. Proper nutrition is essential to health and fitness success. If you can work with a nutritionist, that’s best. If not, read up on the power of protein and whole foods to nourish your body and build lean muscle.
  7. Don’t sabotage success. Create a personal mantra for those times when the mind tries to sabotage your exercise intentions. Recognize excuses and immediately counter with your catchphrase, “I can! I will!”
  8. Find a friend – 8 out of 10 people set a resolution to get in shape, so it should be easy to find somebody to work out with you.  A study from the Department of Kinesiology at Indiana University found that couples who went to the gym together had a 6.3 percent dropout rate, and those who worked out separately had a whopping 43 percent dropout rate.
  9. Positive Reinforcement.  When things are tough, remind yourself of why you are doing this. Be proud of the changes you are making and remember that this is a series of daily changes and new habits that build over time. Congratulate yourself each day on moving forward.
  10. Keep going! Fitness is a journey, not a final destination. Look to build a lifestyle of health and fitness, and then keep it going.  Introduce new ways to challenge yourself, new ways to exercise, new recipes, new experiences.

You deserve to have the best years of your life ahead, starting with this one. If you’ve tried and failed in the past, don’t go it alone. Find a coach or a support network to keep you on track and working to your maximum potential. Make this your year to finally succeed, and enjoy it. If you’re ready to make the leap to better yourself, consider joining Koko for our personal training program. Learn more about our personal training program here.

– Michael Wood, CSCS, Chief Fitness Officer, Koko FitClub

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