5 Tips to Achieve Your 2017 Fitness Goals

According to the data pulled from Google by iQuanti, a data-driven digital marketing company, the most popular New Year’s resolution is to get healthy. However, only 9.2% percent of people felt they were successful in achieving their resolution. Clearly, people often try and fail to live healthier lives.

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To know how to fill the gap between where we are and where we want to be, I turned to James Clear, one of my favorite writers. James Clear writes about behavioral psychology, habit formation, and performance improvement. I enjoy reading his works because while they are motivational, they are also grounded on solid facts and lots of research. If you want to achieve your fitness goals for 2017, these five no-nonsense tips from James Clear might help!

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1. Schedule your habits into your life: put it in your calendar.

In his viral blog post entitled, “Forget About Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead,” James Clear wrote, “If you completely ignored your goals and focused only on your system, would you still get results? For example, if you were a basketball coach and you ignored your goal to win a championship and focused only on what your team does at practice each day, would you still get results? I think you would.”

Similarly, social media these days are full of posts about #fitnessgoals and #bodygoals. There aren’t enough posts about setting concrete systems and routines that lead up to those goals.

If you’re sitting on your desk writing down your goals, go a step further and input your workout schedule in your calendar.

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2. Schedule your habits into your life: tie it to your current behavior.

The first tip works for habits like spending one hour a day working out. But what about habits that can’t fit a specific time frame or habits that you can’t add to your calendar? James Clear wrote:

Not all of your habits will fit a specific time frame, but they all should have a trigger that acts as a reminder to do them. Want to floss? Everyday after brushing your teeth. Same order, same way, every time. Want to be happier? Every time you stop at a red light, tell yourself one thing you’re grateful for. The red light is the reminder. Same trigger, same sequence, every time. The bottom line is this: it might be nice to tell yourself that you’re going to change, but getting specific makes it real and gives you a reason and a reminder to get back on track whenever you slip up. Soon is not a time and some is not a number. When and where, exactly, are you going to do this? You might forget once, but what system do you have in place to automatically remind you the next time?

I applied this tip to my commitment not to by frappes. Frappes cost me a lot of money and add so much sugar (and fats) to my body, but it’s been my biggest guilty pleasure ever since I was in Grade 6. I replaced my frappes with black tea, and my trigger is the red mug I brought during the holidays. Every time I see the red mug, I know it’s time for tea. (And I’m happy to say that I haven’t brought a frappe yet for 2017.)

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3.) Accountability matters.

Have someone who expects something of you. I’ve been on many teams throughout my athletic career and you know what happens when you have friends, teammates, and coaches expecting you to be at practice? You show up. The good news is that you don’t have to be on a team to make this work. Talk to strangers and make friends in the gym. Simply knowing that a familiar face expects to see you can be enough to get you to show up.

Some gyms and dance/yoga/Pilates studios offer personal trainers. If you often find yourself quitting your workout plans as February rolls in, try finding a workout buddy or availing of personal training sessions. It’s much easier to give up when you feel alone and not accountable to anyone.

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4.) Follow through: fall in love with “boredom” of the process.

He wrote:

If you want to be a great writer, then having a best-selling book is wonderful. But the only way to reach that result is to fall in love with the process of writing. If you want the world to know about your business, then it would be great to be featured in Forbes magazine. But the only way to reach that result is to fall in love with the process of marketing. If you want to be in the best shape of your life, then losing 20 pounds might be necessary. But the only way to reach that result is to fall in love with the process of eating healthy and exercising consistently. If you want to become significantly better at anything, you have to fall in love with the process of doing it. You have to fall in love with building the identity of someone who does the work, rather than merely dreaming about the results that you want. In other words, fall in love with boredom. Fall in love with repetition and practice. Fall in love with the process of what you do and let the results take care of themselves.

I liked this quote because I have often heard of motivational speakers talking about passion and willpower. If I didn’t stick to a habit, it was because I was weak. I never considered intentionally trying to fall in love with the process.

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5.) Don’t procrastinate.

If you’re working on something important, then you’ll never feel ready. A side effect of doing challenging work is that you’re pulled by excitement and pushed by confusion at the same time. You’re bound to feel uncertain, unprepared, and unqualified. But let me assure you of this: what you have right now is enough. You can plan, delay, and revise all you want, but trust me, what you have now is enough to start….who you are, what you have, and what you know right now is good enough to get going.

This is one of my all-time favorite quotes from James Clear. It has guided me in my career decisions for years, but for the first time, it has guided me in my health-related goals. In my earlier years as a college student, I was told by my friends and family that I needed to be healthier. I was always going on all these amazing food trips and spending so much time in front of a laptop. I didn’t have any form of exercise.

One night, as I struggled to climb the stairs to my seat in the movie house while holding three giant bags of popcorn and fries, I told myself that I should finally start to take care of my health. Even if I didn’t feel ready–with all the demands of school and work.

I started doing Pilates three times a week. Ironically, even if it took time away from work and school, I felt more productive and purposeful. I feel healthier, better, and stronger. I only wish I had started working out sooner. It’s funny, because even if I am busier now, I still manage to squeeze in workouts three times a week. I really should have started even before I felt ready.

This post was made in collaboration with Anytime Fitness Philippines. If you see the WhenInManila.com admins blogging about fitness more frequently, it’s probably because some of us are already experiencing the firsthand benefits of working out regularly. 

Anytime Fitness is open 24 hours, so you don’t have any excuses! They have branches in Alabang, Bonifacio High Street, Burgos Circle, Bacoor, Eastwood, Cubao, Escario in Cebu City, Cebu Business Park, and Davao. A branch in TriNoma is opening in February 2017.

Graphics by Zia Fernandez

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