Never mind, “It’s that time of the month,” how about, “It’s that time of the year?” You know what I’m talking about. It’s December 31st and you’re setting your New Years Resolution. More than likely, it will have something to do with getting in shape. Does this sound like you? Well you’re not alone.

Millions of other people around the world set out to “get healthy” or “get in shape” every single year, but end up coming short, sometimes very short. So what’s the problem? Surely if there are millions of other people around the world who are able to stay in shape year-in, year-out, then you should be able to, right?

Right! The thing is, there really is no problem….except you. You’re the only person standing in your way from actually getting and keeping that body that you’ve always dreamed of. Just take a second to think about it. You’re the one who tells yourself to start getting in shape. You’re the one who starts to get in shape. You’re the one who decides if you want to keep at it 1 month down the line when you’re not seeing results as quickly as you expected. In order to get in shape and stay in shape, you have to get out of your own way. Getting in shape and more importantly, staying in shape is a practice though; a practice that you must stay consistent with.

Staying in shape requires consistency. If you’re not consistent, you will begin to put more weight on, hence losing the body that you’ve always dreamed of having. Think of it like a job. If you stop working, then the money stops coming in. If you stop exercising, your physical figure will start to pay the price. Staying consistent with your workouts is hard though. Some days you might not feel like working out, while others, going for a 5k run will seem fun. No matter what feeling emerges when you think about exercising though, it is important that you go do it.

Multiple fitness experts have various different beliefs as to how many days per week you should work out. Some say 3 is enough, others 4, and then there are some experts who say 5 is just right. Exercising more is obviously good, but first it is important to think about what you want to get out of it. Before you start working out, find or create the right plan that matches your fitness goals. If you want to be physically fit in the next 6 months, but are currently a couch potato, then I recommend you start working out 5 days a week right now.

On the other hand, if you’re happy with your physique and you’re not looking to be in the “best shape of your life” then working out 3 days a week is perfectly fine. As long as you are exercising during the week, then you are working towards a healthier lifestyle. Nobody can criticize you for that.

Set goals for yourself. Where do you want to be next month? How about 3 months from now? Half a year? One year? If you don’t visualize where you want to be in the future, then actually making that dream a reality will be next to impossible. In order to attract a new reality, you must first visualize exactly what that new reality will look like. From there, you must practice habits that lead towards that new reality on a daily basis. As you start practicing these habits more and more, the reality that you are heading towards will become clearer with every passing day.

As important as it is to set goals for yourself, it is even more important to maintain your expectations. The last thing you want to do is injure yourself beyond repair. Push yourself when you know that your body can handle it, but rest when your body demands it. Take the weekend off if you workout 5 days a week, or take a one-day-on, one-day-off approach. However you plan to setup an exercising routine for yourself, allow your body to rest! Allowing your body to rest allows for your muscles to catch up if you’re weight lifting and your lungs to develop more endurance if you’re focusing on cardio.

It’s also important to journalize your workouts. However you see fit, make sure that you keep track of your progress. Keeping track of your fitness level will not only help you understand how far you’ve come, but it will also help you realize how much further you can go. Start at a low level, and then build from there. This approach applies to cardiovascular exercising or strength training. Don’t try and go all in from the get go, or I promise you, you will quickly decide that working out just isn’t for you. Go slow, and when you feel like you can take more, put more on.

Keep in mind that consistency is all key to this though. You could have a master plan for yourself at the very start of the New Year. Everything has been planned out; you even have a diet plan ready to go. Unfortunately, after about 1 month you give up because you realize that it’s hard. Yes, it is hard. Nobody was promising you that it was going to be easy though. It’s like the old saying goes, “Nothing in life worth having comes easy.” Work through the pain, stay consistent, and I promise you the results will be worth it in the end.

Ready? Set? Go!

I can’t wait to see you and your new self 1-year from now.

To Your Success,

Euan Swan