Workout of the Day

Sticky Resolutions

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Given the time of year and my being in the fitness realm, it feels almost obligatory to write about resolutions. While I don’t intend to ridicule New Year’s Resolutions in any way or suggest that they’re pointless or foolish (January 1st is as good a start point as any, and I’m an advocate of any opportunity to challenge yourself to get better), I do feel compelled to address the dismal success rate of the traditional New Year’s Resolution model. The exact numbers aren’t really important (I’ve seen percentages ranging from the single digits up to the mid-teens), but it’s worthwhile to recognize how bad “we” collectively are at resolutions, and to take a look at why that may be the case.

I’m not going to mislead you by advertising this as “5 secret hacks to help you stick with your New Year’s Resolutions,” because nothing that we’re talking about here is secret or super special or hacky at all. It’s basic, it’s not a shortcut, and it won’t make things easy for you (“easy” things tend to be lies). It’s really a simple matter of shifting how we approach resolution and change, and setting conditions for success.

Most resolutions go something like this:
I want to lose 25 lbs by the end of the year and save more money, starting January 1st.
The end.

That this doesn’t generally lead to success really shouldn’t be a surprise at all. Everyone wants to be fit and beautiful and wealthy and happy. That part is easy. But do we really think that wanting it is enough? Take a look at the condition of the average American and the answer should be pretty clear: wanting won’t cut it. Nope, not even really wanting it.

Approaching any sort of resolutions or endeavors for positive change, it behooves us to keep a few key things in mind.

First, figure out why you haven’t started on it yet. Resolving to improve your body composition or health? Take a moment to reflect on why you aren’t improving your body composition or health right now. There’s nothing particularly special about January 1st that lends itself to self-improvement, so what’s been holding you back up to this point? You’re going to get more mileage out of answering this question and making something actionable from it than you will from any fancy goal-writing exercise or inspirational quote posted on your mirror.

Resolutions tend to be heavy on outcomes and inadequate in attention to process. Nobody’s ever lost any weight by thinking about how much they want to lose weight. Plenty of people have lost considerable weight by preparing high quality food at home, going to the gym five days a week, and walking every morning before work. The process is the heart of change. Embrace it.
Want to lose weight? Save money? Travel? Read more? Spend more time with family? Take the time to reflect on what’s gotten you to where you are now, forget about setting outcome-oriented goals for the year, and instead commit yourself to the process.

Finally, recognize that part of this process is setting up the conditions for success. Resolving to eliminate refined sugar from your diet is a great process-oriented way to improve health, but your chances of succeeding when the fridge is full of soda and the cabinets are full of your favorite sugar-laden snacks is a poor way of setting yourself up to succeed. Making change by willpower alone is an impressive thing to do, but if it hasn’t worked for you yet, what makes you think it’s going to work now? Commit to healthier eating by getting rid of all of your junk food, change your productivity habits by cancelling your cable, improve your fitness by putting some skin in the game and purchasing a personal training package, improve your saving habits by sending a percentage of your paycheck directly into a savings account, whatever.

Whether New Year’s Resolutions are your thing or not, take the time to pause, reflect, and plan, and then get back to loving the process. That’s where progress resides.

- Preston Sprimont


1/2/17

  • Spend 10 minutes working on double-unders, record max unbroken reps

Then...

  • 4 min max calorie row

  • 4 min rest

  • 3 min max calorie row

  • 3 min rest

  • 2 min max calorie row

  • 2 min rest

  • 1 min max calorie row