By J. Hancock
As the Big Peach drops and we roll into 2016, we all know what it’s time for: crowded gyms, rampant resolution posts on social media, and dreams of getting skinnier, richer, healthier and finally finding (or keeping) the perfect man.
Change isn’t easy. We all have busy lives, but how easy is it to make changes and stick to those pesky resolutions?
According to www.positivechange.com, 40 to 45% of American adults make one or more resolutions each year. The top New Year’s resolutions are: losing weight, exercising more, stopping smoking, managing finances, and reducing or eliminating debt. As for keeping the resolutions, only 71% of people make it past the first two weeks, and by the end of six months that number drops to 46%.
Should we even make resolutions?
“Goal setting and visioning for the future is always a good mental exercise to engage in, and setting resolutions is no different,” said Josh Noblitt, Minister of Social Justice at Saint Mark United Methodist Church and candidate for Georgia House of Representatives, District 59. “Though new goals can be established at any time, the beginning of the year is especially a good time because it represents a new start. You can look back over the previous year, examine what worked and what didn’t work and learn from those successes and struggles.”
Goliath Atlanta is here to help you navigate the Resolution Highway. Here we offer some tools, tips, and expert advice to help you on your way.
Stay away from the haters, put down that dating app, fasten your seatbelts, and let’s go. Your journey awaits.
When it comes to fitness resolutions, we went to the experts to find out what it really takes to be successful. What gay man doesn’t want to have a great physique?
“Fitness in general is something that you always have to work on, especially the older you get,” said fitness expert Andrew Johnson of Gravitee Fitness. “Find something you love and do it, whether it is a spin class, yoga, weight lifting or anything else you enjoy as long as you are active. Fighting the mental game is where New Year’s resolutions fail. It’s important to tell yourself that you’re never too old to start. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, and do not get lost in fighting the scale. The biggest of all issues for gym newbies not to be embarrassed to sweat or look silly.”
Goliath Atlanta: What’s your general opinion about making New Year’s resolutions?
Making resolutions to improve some aspect of yourself is a great idea, but why does it have to happen on an exact date or time of the year? Resolutions, as they pertain to diet and exercise, take a tremendous amount of discipline, dedication and effort. The amount of time that goes into meal planning and exercise alone can be overwhelming; it’s no wonder that most people continue to push back doing this until the New Year. It sure isn’t easy or fun – especially trying to make multiple changes at the same time. Setting realistic goals and expectations is the best way to accomplish any resolution.
For example, rather than trying to make all your changes at once and expecting fast and unrealistic results, it would be much easier to create a timeline with well thought out points in time to make changes. On Jan. 1, I would make a commitment to do three days of weight training a week, and once you have done that for six weeks in a row, add another goal of incorporating some cardio into the routine.
Once both of those goals have happened for six weeks in a row, it would be a great time to start working on a diet. Too many people try to make too many changes at once and don’t realize how difficult it is to make major life changes, let alone multiple changes at one time.
Don’t wait. It doesn’t get any easier as time passes, and you’re likely to lose motivation the longer you wait. Start that resolution now, and make some improvements before the New Year. You’ll be much more likely to accomplish your goals by setting realistic expectations and making that commitment to change, one step at a time.
Aaron Pols, APCPT, Gravitee Fitness
GA: Why do people fail at their fitness-related New Year’s Resolutions?
Ever noticed how we always want to start our new, healthy lifestyles on Monday, on the first of the month, or at the beginning of a New Year? That’s because putting them off is a comfortable excuse, an “easy out,” and is actually why you’re in need of making a resolution in the first place. This procrastination, along with setting vague or unrealistic goals and not seeking expert help, is the biggest reason most people fall short of achieving their fitness expectations in the New Year.
First, in order to be successful with your resolutions, you must understand that a healthy lifestyle is a habit, and habits take time to form. Continuing to put off starting a gym regiment or diet program is just enforcing your old bad habits. Start your New Year’s resolution now.
Make it a yearlong resolution starting immediately, not a New Year’s resolution starting weeks, or even months, from now. And once you’ve formed good habits, maintain them year round.
Second, be realistic when setting your goals, and seek the help of a fitness professional in doing so. The quickest road to failure is to set a goal that is too lofty, failing to meet it, and quitting out of frustration.
For example, some people want to lose 20 pounds in a month, but they may only lose five. Obviously, they think it’s impossible to change, so they give up. Instead of this self-defeating approach, seek advice from a professional who can help you set smaller, achievable milestones along the road to your ultimate goal.
It’s recommended to lose one to two pounds a week in order to develop healthy habits and keep the weight off permanently, which means you may need to work consistently for two and a half to five months to drop 20 pounds.
As I tell my clients all the time, “You didn’t put on the weight (or lose the muscle) over night, so you’re not going to reverse it overnight.”
So no more waiting on the New Year to start the journey to a healthier, happier you. Seize the day, choose to be strong, and conquer those goals for good!
Rick Twombley Fitness, Gravitee Fitness
GA: Why do some people succeed at fitness goals while most do not?
The people who succeed are the people who just show up. We fitness experts are there to guide you and help you make the right choices towards your fitness goals. We understand that you’re exhausted from a long trying day, and the last thing you want to do is go to the gym; however, we also know that after you get done with your workout – whether that be 10 minutes or 30 minutes – you will walk out the front door feeling energized, relaxed, and accomplished knowing you are one step closer to your goals. That feeling of accomplishment is what drives success, and I guarantee you’re going to leave with a smile. You did it! You made that commitment to come into the gym. You will succeed.
Michael Wido, Southeast Bodies CPT, Gravitee Fitness
GA: What is your advice – should people even make fitness-related resolutions?
Vowing to lose 20 pounds, tone your arms, and get yourself a six pack are great fitness resolutions for the New Year. It’s good to commit to being a better, healthier you. The challenge is that people go in with the wrong intentions – looking for that quick fix. They over train, go on fad diets, and then crash and burn by February when they don’t see immediate results.
Fitness resolutions stick only when you make a healthy lifestyle commitment. That means skipping unrealistic goals like, “I’m going to lose ten pounds in a month” or “I’m going to have arms like the Rock by March.”
Instead, focus your energy on eating healthy, and make consistently good decisions about how you will take care of your body. The best way to do this is to get help. A good trainer will put you on the proper track to get fit responsibly, leading you on the way to do it correctly. This includes not only exercise, but also nutritional modification and can lead to a major change that will happen gradually and become long lasting.
Cliff “Hollywood” Boyce Celebrity and Fitness Coach, Hollywood Fitness IFBB Pro, Gravitee Fitness
GA: If someone is not a “gym rat” but wants to get into shape for the New Year, why do you recommend the gym? Can’t it be done on your own?
If you’ve never really worked out, it can be very intimidating to sign up at a gym, but working out a gym has its advantages over working out at home.
You can absolutely get a great workout at home, but staying motivated can sometimes be difficult. Going to a gym gets you energized to work out by being surrounded by other members who are in the same boat as you.
Another advantage of the gym is that you will also have access to great trainers and staff who can teach you proper form and get you on a plan to reach your specific goal. Last but not least, if you like groups and working out with others, there is usually a class for everybody, from spinning and kickboxing to TRX and yoga.
Just remember: everybody in that gym had a “first day.” Remember to have fun.
BetterBodies, Gravitee Fitness
Of course, fitness isn’t the only common resolution going into 2016. Another major resolution is improving finances. For some gay men that means buying fewer weekend cocktails or spending less on new clothes. For others it means getting a new job or an extra job. Sometimes it means getting rid of debt or and sticking to a budget. It’s no secret that as gay men we’ve been known to drive up uncontrollable amounts of debt.
“This is not a game,” said author and financial expert Dave Ramsey. “Debt has become a part of who we are. It’s become that spoiled child in the grocery store with their lip stuck out: ‘I want it. I want it. I deserve it because I breathe air.’ And, well, that’s an uphill climb in our culture right now, to go against that and say, ‘Hey, let’s be grownups here. Let’s be mature, learn to delay pleasure, save up and pay for things.’”
For more information about Dave Ramsey, go to www.daveramsey.com.
Josh Noblitt, who is also a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice, has taught Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University classes and has some advice when it comes to making financial New Year’s resolutions.
GA: Why do people fail at their financial New Year’s resolutions?
Josh: There is a tendency to take on everything at once, or to establish unrealistic expectations for change. For example, if I resolve to pay off all of my debt by the end of the next year, but I don’t have a clear plan on how to achieve that resolution, I am more likely to ditch it altogether after not seeing the progress I might want to see. We live in an instant gratification culture right now, and it is easy to give up when we don’t see instant results.
GA: Why do some people succeed?
Josh: Those who succeed in achieving their New Year’s Resolutions are often motivated not just by the arrival of a new year, but by additional motivating factors. There was a time in my own life when I was not achieving the financial goals I set for myself. I got tired of spinning my wheels over and over, so I took a financial class that offered help in coming up with a plan. It broke the goal down into much more manageable pieces and thus I saw a lot more success.
Whether or not you set New Year’s resolutions it up to you. Whatever your resolutions – fitness, finances, or something else – going into the New Year with a plan is smart.
“I encourage everyone to have at least once resolution for the coming year,” said Noblitt. “It gives you something to look forward to. Manage expectations on the front end and pick resolutions that are realistic. Come up with two to three specific and achievable resolutions with a clear plan and specific deliverables. Share your resolution with another person and invite them to be an accountability partner to help you stay motivated and focused. It is much easier to ditch the resolutions if nobody else but you knows. Celebrate small victories along the way.”