5 Mistakes to Avoid as You Start Your New Years Resolution!
New Year’s Eve 2020 has come and gone. It’s been a full week since the ball dropped and we made our definite, for sure, gonna happen, this year I swear, resolutions. Except, you may have already found yourself slipping up. The thing is, old habits die hard. We expect perfection. Don’t make back up plans for when we might fail. Sabotage own progress. Focus on the wrong things. And let our ego get in the way.
Here’s the 5 common pitfalls people make when getting back into working out that you should avoid.
1. Picking Up Where You Left Off
One of the hardest aspects of getting started again, is you can’t (and shouldn’t) pick up where you left off. Let’s say when you last were working out you could deadlift 225-lbs for 5 reps if you are a guy, (or a comparable 155-lbs if you’re a woman).
A respectable weight for sure. On your first day back the strength piece is build to a heavy set of 3 for the deadlift. Great! A perfect day to come back and work on your favorite lift! You go to the gym, go through the warm-up, and when it comes time to add weight, you build up just like you used to. You figure 225 for 3 will be okay since you used to be able to do it for 5. Your form isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough to gut out those 3 reps at 225 and you’re happy. The conditioning feels so hard you don’t remember how many reps you did or what your name is. But you came to the gym and you hit that 225 deadlift. “Still got it” you think to yourself as you plop into your car seat. Your legs are still shaking. As the night goes on your legs and back get more and more stiff. The next morning you wake up and realize that going to the bathroom is going to be a Herculean feat. You’re uncomfortable all day at work. Suddenly your New Year’s Resolution of getting back in the gym has been totally derailed.
What should you have done instead? A safe rule for getting back in the swing of things is to start at 50-60% of your former capacity. It may feel light, but at the beginning, your goal is to simply get in a rhythm of working out again and you don’t want to strain yourself to the point of not being able to come back. There will be plenty of time in the coming weeks and months to get back to (and exceed) your prior PRs. Day 1 is not it.
2. “Treating yourself” after a good day/week
Emotional eating can be used both to cope with stress, and to reinforce something good. The trick is to reward yourself with things that DON’T involve Calories (I got this from nutrition coach Dr. Trevor Kashey). Here’s the thing. You do deserve something good for sticking to your plan. It does not have to be something food based though. Buy a new book to read. Put a few dollars away to save for a trip. Call a family member or friend and brag about your awesomeness. This shift will lead to your bigger goals. Remember you deserve to fit into your old clothes. You deserve to like what you see in the mirror everyday. Rewarding yourself by doing something that undoes your hard work simply doesn’t make sense!!!
Possible non-food options for rewarding yourself: Think of 1 thing you’ve been wanting, and put $5 towards it each time you do something you found challenging. You’ll start to seek out the things that will trigger this reward and you’ll have enough money saved to be in Bali before you know it!
3. Setting an outcome goal rather then a process goal
Goals are achieved because of the changes we make, not the act of making a goal in itself. The way to becoming a writer is by setting a goal to…write! If it’s realistic to do it everyday, then great, if not set a smaller goal. For someone coming back from a long layoff from the holidays maybe your goal is to come 3x a week for the first month, then 4, then 5. Once you’ve gotten in a consistent rhythm, then the goal can become working towards a specific goal like getting a pull up, or muscle up!
Take 2 minutes to create a process goal for yourself that will allow you to succeed at it, but will still move you in the direction you want. Some examples:
- Go to the gym 3x a week for 4 weeks. Then 4x a week for 4 weeks. Then 5x a week for 4 weeks.
- Cook one healthy meal a week that’s big enough to have leftovers for 3 other meals.
- Stretch/move/walk for 15 minutes first thing every morning
- Eat veggies with every meal and eat them first
4. Letting your ego get in the way
This one is tough but it’s incredibly powerful. Our ego is the voice in your head that says you should try and go heavier on the barbell because you used to be able to. It’s also the voice in your head that tells you NOT to go to the gym today because you can’t do the workout as Rx’d. Or to skip today because you’re sore and you deserve a rest day. This is where setting a process goal, rather than outcome goal is important. It allows us to celebrate and feel good about the steps along the way, rather than just the final outcome. If the scale hasn’t moved as much as you’d like, if your goal was only to lose X amount of lbs, this may lead to you feeling discouraged, and then give up. The ego doesn’t like losing. The truth is, we’re ultimately not in control of our exact weight, or how much we can squat, etc., so setting a goal based solely on a number we thought up in our head can be tough for the ego if we don’t achieve it. If your goal is process based, your number becomes secondary to the process, and the process is in your control. Additionally, if your goal is outcome based, once you hit that goal, what then? Many people stop going to the gym or eating well, and end up losing their progress and end up right where they started (raise your hand if this is you…). By focusing on the process we end up achieving far more than we ever thought possible because there is no end so we KEEP GOING! And, we don’t bruise our ego’s because we don’t achieve a goal that wasn’t in our control to begin with! Win-win!
5. Not having a plan B
This one is big. We often think about how we’re going to make changes in PERFECT conditions. As we all know, there’s no such thing as the perfect time. So what’s your plan B? What are you going to do when your kid gets sick and you can’t come to the gym on your normal time? What are you going to do when you get to work and realize you forgot your lunch you prepped the night before? What’s your plan B (or even C or D!)? Having a backup plan shows you’re truly committed to this new process and will lead to greater success down the road because when things go wrong, you’ll have a plan.
Action step: Think of a back up plan for when you miss going to the gym, and when you forget/don’t have a meal you prepped. Not sure what to do? That’s where having a coach like the ones at Big Shoulders CrossFit helps! We will help map out a path for you!
If you’ve already made some of these mistakes, don’t worry, we all have. You also don’t have to wait for next year to make it right. You can start now. Make a goal that’s process based, that you feel confident you can achieve so your ego doesn’t get in the way. Take it slow to start and reward your progress with something other than food based things. Make a back up plan so even when things don’t go perfect you can stick to your goal, and in no time you’ll be much further along than you ever thought possible!