Oh fuck, January 1st is just around the corner. This is the last week of garbage eating before I get it together! So this week it will be the last round of:
- Drinking 3-6 beers before bed
- Eating cookies while waiting for pasta to boil
- Eating the entire basket of bread at the restaurant
- Eating 3 slices of pizza at 2 AM
- Dipping cookies in Nutella (that’s mine, don’t judge me)
Now magically when the clock strikes 12 AM on January 1st, that is all going to change. Starting Monday, January 2nd, 2017, I will eat:
- Egg whites & veggies for breakfast
- Salads with lean meat for lunch
- Meat and veggies for dinner
- No processed foods
- No junk food
- No snacking whatsoever
Man, nutrition is so easy. Goal setting is for suckers.
But on January 4 the story starts to change:
- Your body is so sore from going to the gym 3 days in a row that you can barely walk up and down stairs, and sitting on the toilet proves to be the biggest challenge of the day.
- You are craving sour cream and onion chips so bad that every time you see them in a vending machine or convenience store, you start to tear up a little bit and you sing “I will remember you” to a bag of chips.
- You start writing yourself notes that “you can do this” so you can maintain your strict eating habits until the weekend.
- The weekend comes and you get so excited and can’t even think straight. What “bad” foods are you going to have? ALL OF THEM, BABY!!! I was a good boy/girl this week. I earned it!!
How do I put this politely?? Hmmmmm.
New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work
Plain and simple, New Year’s resolutions don’t work. They never have, they never will, yet all of us feel pressured to write some bullshit down that we won’t look at again after January 31st. So why do we continue to torture ourselves?
I have a better idea. Forget all about New Year’s resolutions this year. If you are inclined to make some changes in 2017, I applaud you. Making that decision is awesome. But this year, make it past January 31st with this goal. That means changing the way we execute our goal setting.
Goal setting is is far more involved than writing a goal on a piece of paper. Anyone can write a goal. The key is not in having the ambition to write a goal, but in having the energy to execute the necessary steps to achieve that goal. Writing a big goal is wonderful, but you leave too much to chance and dying motivation if you don’t plan the steps in between.
First and foremost, think of your goal as a staircase. Imagine your goal is at the top step of the staircase and you are standing at the bottom step. Therefore to get to your long term goal, you will have to take multiple smaller steps to get there, not just one big step.
But how do you figure out what each of those steps should be? I’m going to show you the Bitch Slap Weight Loss Worksheet that I’ve created. This worksheet has helped me define the steps in between my first pound and the 50th. The key to this worksheet is specificity. Download the worksheet here and let’s get started.
Box 1 & Box 2
- In Box 1, set your long term goal. Make this goal exciting and make sure it is what you really desire. If you want to lose 50 pounds, write down 50 pounds. Don’t write down 20 because it is more realistic.
- In Box 2, write down the date by which you would like to achieve it. The larger your goal, the longer the time should be. Whatever time period you think you should achieve it by, add 20% as a buffer for life distractions and obstacles. There will always be unexpected travel, work, etc that will slow us down temporarily (For example, if my goal is to do it in 5 months, I would add another month as a buffer).
- Your goal needs to be specific, otherwise the remaining boxes will not be as effective. If you want to lose weight, specify a number. I.e. “ I want to lose 10 pounds” instead of “I want to lose weight” or “I want to be healthier.”
- Split the time between today and the date you set in Box 2 into equal periods. The longer the time or the bigger the goal, the more periods you should set (For example, if my goal is set for one year from today, I would break it into 12 periods, 1 for each month period).
- Each period represents a step on our staircase.
- Enter the period (step) number. Each period or step will require you to re-do this sheet (For example, if I choose 12 periods in Box 3, then I would print this document 12 times and re-do it once for each month).
Box 5A & 5B
- In Box 5A & 5B , pick two action items that will help you achieve this goal. The more specific you are the better.
- If your action items are not specific, I will force you to get more specific in the next step. If they are specific, try to make them even more specific in Box 6A & 6B.
Step 6A & 6B
- In Box 6A and 6B, break down your action item into more specific terms (For example, if your goal is to “lose 50 pounds” and your action step was “exercise more,” I want you to be specific with what exercise routine you will choose. For example, “I will exercise by going to CrossFit class” is more specific).
- Be honest with yourself in this step. If you don’t enjoy CrossFit, don’t write CrossFit. Write down something that you will enjoy doing. This does not mean that the action step shouldn’t be challenging, but it should be something that you enjoy doing and get satisfaction from.
Step 7A & 7B
- In Box 7A and 7B, you will specify how many times per week you will execute on your action item.
- The key to this step is making small changes, not big changes. Remember this is just one single step. A single step moves you up, but only a small amount. Some rules to live by are:
- If you are adding something to do, then a smaller frequency executed consistenly should be your initial step (For example, if I am currently not exercising at all, my month 1 plan would be to go to the gym no more than 3 times per week).
- If you are eliminating or reducing something, then cut down by no more than 20% at a time (For example, if I want to eat less candy and I eat M&M’s every single day, then my goal would be to reduce my M&M consumption by no more than 2 days. Therefore, I would still eat M&M’s 5 days per week, instead of the original 7 days per week).
Box 8A & 8B
- Re-write your original goal, but now include specificity, frequency, and duration. Now you set an intermittent goal (a step) to help you reach your bigger goal.
At the end of each period
At the end of each period, you should re-review your goals set in 8A & 8B. If you succeeded with these goals, move forward to the next step. For example, if I hit the gym 3 days per week, I will re-fill the worksheet but now adjust my goal to exercise 4 days per week, increased from the 3 days per week, I aimed for in step 1.
If you did not succeed at this step, repeat it again until you do succeed. There is absolutely no substitute for consistency, and you should not take the next step until you have mastered the step before it.
Why should I do this?
You can not change your current routine to the exact opposite just because the calendar reads January 1. It’s not how the human brain works. Instead, I encourage you to take a more sustainable approach. Take a path that encourages consistency, that builds good habits, that takes into account that life will happen, and that is both exciting and works with your brain's fundamental psychology and not against it.
To learn more about my anti-diet approach to weight loss, start with the workshop below.