Full Episode Transcript

According to reports, 80% of new year’s resolutions are failed by February and of the people that managed to keep going on that, 8% of people that make a new year’s resolution actually see that through to completion and achieve the goal they originally set out to do. So that begs the question, what is it that we’re doing wrong when it comes to setting new year’s resolutions? And as a follow on from that, what should we be doing instead? And today in this podcast episode, that’s exactly what we’re going to discuss. We’re going to discuss where we might be going wrong when it comes to setting new year’s resolutions, what to do instead, and how we might maybe need to change our mindset around resolution, the goal setting in order to set us up better for success. So as always, let’s dive right in.

So before we get into our discussion around new year’s resolutions, may I first start by saying happy new year to all our listeners out there, thank you very much for supporting the podcast through 2019 and it’s glad to have you back in 2020, we’ve got some exciting stuff coming up this year, so keep an eye out for all of that. It just makes sense for us today to start this conversation in this industry around the topic of new year’s resolutions. So before we dive into what people are potentially doing wrong and what they can do instead, let’s have a quick look at what reports are suggesting are the top new year’s resolutions for the year ahead. Now the report that I’m using here is American as a lot of these things are when it comes to this sort of stuff, but it probably gives us a, a good idea of most westernized countries.

So according to this report, the top three new year’s resolutions out of the top 10 all relate to health, fitness, or wellness. So number one on the list is to diet or to eat healthier. So 71% of people are looking to do something that involves a diet, or eating healthier. Number two on the list is to exercise more so that 65% of people are looking to exercise more. And then number three on the list, 54% of people are looking to lose weight so the first three are all sort of interlinked in some way because you might need to do one to achieve the other and things like that. But it just shows you that when we’re talking about this conversation of new year’s resolutions in relation to our industry, the health and fitness industry, this is a big conversation. It’s a big topic and therefore I believe we should do a better job of helping people sort this out and do a better job of it.

In the top 10 there was also a one or the one that featured, which was to drink less alcohol that came in at number nine and that was 15% of people. So there’s maybe four of the top 10 that relate directly to health and fitness. And then even the other ones that are on there, there’s ones on there like quit smoking. Um, spend more time with family and friends know, you could argue that this, there’s an element of wellness to these things as wellness and health. So there’s a, there’s a massive trend towards new year’s resolutions around health, fitness, wellness, mindfulness, and these types of things. So if people are going out there with the intention of improving themselves in these areas, where are they getting it wrong? What is it about the way we look at new year’s resolutions or goal setting as we might call it? What is it about that that we are getting wrong? So that’s what we’re going to take a look at first. We’re going to have a little conversation around that. We’re going to unpack a few ideas there and then we’re going to look at what we might want to do instead. So first of all, let’s look at where we might be going wrong.

So where exactly might we be going wrong when it comes to setting new year’s resolutions or setting goals for the year ahead. And I’m going to look at this from a place of what we might be focusing too much on. And in doing that, what that potentially ignores around the pursuit of any sort of goal or resolution. And that’s how I’m going to look at this. The topic or the idea of setting goals and resolutions. And that is quite a large one. I’m going to go at it from my own angle and unpack it in two different ways. So fundamentally, one of the big problems I think people have when they set resolutions and goals is there is too much emphasis on the goal itself. And by that what I mean is, is on the outcome. So, let’s take an example from our world, our industry health and fitness, big goal that most people are going to have this year is I want to lose weight.

Some people might go as far as saying, I want to lose X amount of weight. So let’s use two stone as the example. I want to lose two stone of weight. Okay, good goal, you know, inspiring goal. You know, you’re setting yourself something that’s achievable, but at the same time it’s going to require you to push yourself. It’s quite clear in terms of its measurable and things like that. All the emphasis, all the focus, all the sought of mindset becomes targeted on that outcome. Everything that you do then becomes aimed towards doing absolutely anything in your power to achieve that end goal. And what happens there is I think we miss out on two parts of the actual process of achieving and setting good goals. First part of that is, is getting some context around that goal, i.e. what’s the purpose? What’s the why? So we might have set the goal, but what’s the driving force behind that?

Have we actually taken any time to unpack that and understand that for ourselves as personal trainers, it’s something that we try and do when we help clients? But again, I still think there has to be an element of doing that for yourself and actually asking yourself a few questions around that goal. So if the goal is to lose two stone, what does that actually mean? What does the pursuit of losing two stone actually mean for you? Why is that meaningful? Why does that have any sort of purpose? How does it affect you? How does it affect the people around you? These all important questions to ask yourself. And something that I like to ask is who would you need to become to be the type of person that loses that amount of weight? Because to me it’s, it’s about becoming a slightly different version of yourself that does different things.

And that ties into what we’re about to unpack next. So by focusing too much on the outcome, we actually miss a little bit of the purpose. We listen, we miss a little bit of the mean and all we focus on is the actual end outcome. And another problem I have with that is that that can then lead people down the route of looking for quick fixes. So if you’re overly focused on the outcome and achieving the outcome at any costs, that’s where we see people taking part in things that fundamentally we know aren’t the way to get us to our end goal, but we do them anyway in the hope that it works because all we’re focused on is the end goal. We’re not focused on the actual process. We’re focused on the outcome. So that’s where people may, you know, starve themselves for seven days to try and lose a stone before they go on holiday just so that then they can gain that stone back while they’re on holiday.

That might be why someone takes part in, get rich quick schemes to try and earn a load of money and become a millionaire overnight and become an overnight success when really, we know that that’s not how things work. So these all STEM from the same problem. They all STEM from the same idea of focusing too heavily on the actual outcome itself, on the actual goal itself and not the bits that underpin that. The first bit that underpins that is the, is the purpose and the meaning behind it. The other bit that underpins that, which is what I want to talk about next is the underlying habits that you are going to have to build to achieve those goals. And I believe that that’s where we need to start shifting the conversation, shifting the focus, setting a goal and goal setting is a powerful tool. It works, you know, people that set goals and achieve them do really, really well for themselves in life in many different areas.

There is nothing wrong with setting goals, we just need to look at it a little bit better and we may need to look at it with a slightly different mindset. So the mindset I’m trying to shift you towards today is almost down the line of habit setting as opposed to goal setting. And the way we do that is we look at what are the goals that you want to achieve. So in our example from before it was two stone weight loss. Okay, what are the habits we would need to instil to actually get to that end point? What that then does is it takes our focus away from the outcome and instead focuses on the process. If we can fall in love with the process, we will find it so much easier to get to our end result and our end goal. And in doing so, we’ll have picked up a lot more skills along the way and we will now have that lifelong ability to do whatever it was to get us to that end goal.

So, in our weight loss example, let’s say that someone has decided they want to lose weight, they want to lose two stone. They’ve given themselves a bit of a talking to and they’ve gotten clear on why that’s important to them. And after asking themselves a few questions, this person might have come to the conclusion that actually I want to lose a couple of stone because I believe that that will make me a better parent. It’ll make me a better example to my kids. I’ll be able to do more with them. I’ll have more energy, have a better relationship with my partner, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It becomes about way more than just the actual weight loss itself. It becomes about all these other powerful things that are actually really important to the person. We’ve done that bit, we’ve decided that bit. What we’re now going to do is focusing on the actual input side of things and the habits that underpin that.

So, what this person could now do is say, right, I’ve got that goal in mind. I know that it’s important to me. I know there’s a purpose behind it and all there’s a reason that’s okay. I’m going to put that to one side. I’m going to leave that on that shelf over there in my mind. And what I’m now going to do is I’m going to get very clear on the bits that need to happen for, for me to actually get to that point, and we might start breaking this down so we might look at it from a perspective of eating. So in order for me to lose two stone, I need to start eating better. I need to get, get better control of what I’m eating and what I’m putting in my body. And understanding what that looks like and how it affects me.

Okay. So what we’ve got there now is we’ve got another goal. We’ve got a goal of eating better, so we can’t really do much with that. Again, we need to break that down into what are those habits. So a very, very simple habit that someone might decide is, is, well, if I want to eat better, I want to commit to sitting down once a week and actually writing myself a shopping list and making sure that I’ve got the things in my house that I need to give me the best chance of eating better. They might also set alongside that that once a month they want to go through the cupboards and clear out any crap that they’ve accumulated along the way that maybe they weren’t meant to buy, but has found its way into their cupboards or into their fridge or into their freezer.

And we just want to get that out of the way. So the habit they’re going to form there is once a week I’m going to write a shopping list so that I actually go shopping and do a decent shop for the week and on top of that, once a month I’m going to have a bit of a clear route and get rid of anything that shouldn’t be in those cupboards are or in the fridge or the freezer. That’s just a very, very basic example, another version of that might be that they’re going to sit down once a week and plan the meals for the week ahead. So I’m going to plan what I’m going to cook for the week ahead. Then I’ve got an idea of what I need to buy on my shopping list and these things start to take care of themselves. It gets people down the route of eating better.

If we flip that over to the other side and we have a look at something like exercise again, the goal is to lose two stone in weight. So what are the habits that underpin that? Well, we need to eat better. Maybe we need to move more. So, what are the habits that I am going to instil within myself to actually make that a reality? Someone might want to commit to just doing some form of exercise every day. They might just say, you know what, I need to move every day. And it doesn’t matter what that movement is initially it might be that I go to the gym a couple of times a week and that’s great. But what I actually need to do is create some sort of consistency and frequency around how much I actually move. So I’m going to commit to forming the habit of actually doing something every day that feels like movement and exercise.

So, it might be the, let’s say for example on a Monday we’ve woke up, we’re really motivated, we’ve gone to the gym, we’ve done that. Brilliant. Because it’s easy to do at the start of the week. On Tuesday we’ve not gone to the gym, but we’ve gone for a walk at lunch time. Um, cause it’s a fairly nice day. We’ve gone out with grabbed some lunch or whatever. We’ve, we’ve gone out with a colleague and we’ve had a bit of a walk, got moving around on Wednesday we’ve gone back to the gym cause again it’s still fairly early in the week. We’re still feeling fairly motivated. It feels quite easy to do by Thursday or Friday. Things are starting to feel a bit more difficult and works piled up throughout the week that now needs taking care of. So time is off the essence, your busy, the kids are busy, family are busy. What can you start to do to instil this habit of keeping on top of doing some form of exercise?

Let’s have a look at a couple of simple examples. One thing you might do is set yourself the challenge of if you haven’t been able to go to the gym or I haven’t been able to go for a walk or I haven’t been able to do a home workout, what I’m going to do is I’m going to use my flight of stairs at home and I’m going to run up and down the stairs five times. That’s my exercise done for the day. That’s my little commitment that I’m doing with myself. It might be that you’re going to drop on the floor and do 50 pushups. Might be that you’re going to do 50 squats. It might be something as simple as that. It might be that you’re just going to do one of those things over a number of times. That’s you ticking that box of saying, I have done something today along the lines of moving and exercising in that is going to get me one step closer towards that end goal because what will happen if you start to do that is that you’ll then start to commit even more consistently with the bigger sessions that you do in a week and the other bigger bits of exercise that you do in a week because you’re doing those smaller ones, even on the days where it’s difficult to fit them in, you will now find yourself committing to the bigger ones more frequently as well.

It’s just the way these things tend to knock on and the knock-on effect that we have with some of these things. So doing that might be something that’s very, very simple for you to do and that you can commit to. You might not want to commit to exercise every day. You might say to yourself, I’m going to commit to doing X this many times per week and that’s the habit you want to form, or I want to go and meet this friend X times a week and go for a walk. That’s fine. That’s up to you what you set as the habit and you could even break it down smaller than that. You might want to get into the habit of actually packing your gym kit on a night so that on a morning. When you get off, it’s ready and you’re ready to go to the gym.

There’s loads of ways you can look at doing this and different things will work for different people, but I just want to give you a bit of a blueprint and an idea of what this might look like if you were to ask these questions yourself. So we’ve used an eating example, we’ve used an exercise example. Let’s have a look at something else. Let’s have a look at like a mindfulness or a mental health type example that you might want to do as part of this. Um, because I do believe that that should be part of any health and fitness journey as well. Something we like to try and do is get people to start using things like journals and gratitude logs. So it might be that you start committing to, right, I’m going to start my day off, finish my day by writing three things that I’m grateful for.

Um, it might be that you want to sit down and journal once a day for five minutes and just write down your thoughts and your feelings and have a little check in with yourself. It might be that you want to commit to using a free app to a little bit of meditation or something like that. You might want to use something like Headspace and sit down for five, 10 minutes and do a bit of guided meditation. Or you might want to sit down with a book and read a book for five minutes a day or read a chapter a day or something like that. So you can start to see how we would build up, what would be a really, really healthy picture of how someone might get to their end goal. I know the mindfulness stuff that I just talked about might not seem directly relatable to that end goal, but usually if you get people doing things for themselves and reviewing themselves, it helps them stay in line and stay in check with why is that they’re doing what they’re doing and reminding themselves of what the end goal is and what the end outcome is.

We could also use that, that last bit there, that sort of mindfulness bit and wellness bit to even talk about something like sleep and setting some habits around that to make sure that you’re actually well rested and well recovered if you’re going to start expecting yourself to exercise more and eat better and things like that. So these are all things that you can start building a small habits and where I would maybe advise that you start with this, is just set one small habit, follow it through for at least a week, maybe two, maybe three and then start adding new habits in. On top of that, what most of us do is we overdo it very early on. We expect ourselves to exercise more, we expect ourselves to eat less and we expect ourselves to start getting up earlier in the morning and sleep less to try and fit all these things in.

And before we know what we burn out, cause we’re now putting less fuel in our body, we’re now recovering less and we’re expecting our body to have more output than it ever has before. All at a time of the year when we’ve probably just spent two to three weeks abusing our bodies over Christmas and new year. When you break it down and do the simple maths it doesn’t add up, it doesn’t stack up. It doesn’t make sense. Why would you expect that of yourself? So let’s sit down initially and look at what habit can we do from now that actually adds to your body or adds to your health and put some equity in the bank so that when you do start to expect yourself to move more and things like that and eat less, you’re actually in a better position to do so. That might be where you start with a, with a habit around sleep or something like that.

So, I hope that gives you an idea today of a different way of looking at resolutions and where you might want to go with that. I usually find that when people start to focus on the habits, the rely a lot less on sort of self-discipline and this idea of motivation. It’s much easier to just create something that small that you do daily that creates the ultimate success. And if you look at someone that’s successful in anything you want to be successful in, the only difference is, is that they’ve got a small set of habits that they do repeatedly on a consistent basis every day. That has led them to the point where they are now. You’ve not quite done that yet, and that’s what you need to instil in yourself. So in the health and fitness world, that’s things that you’re going to do for yourself, that puts equity in your own bank account with regards to how you’re treating your body and how you’re treating yourself so that then you can have a bigger impact on the people around you and things like that.

So hopefully that gives you an idea of how you want to look at resolutions and goal setting differently. If you do need any help with any of that or if you’ve got any questions, please feel free to reach out on the blog mattrobinson.blog. There’s a contact button over there where you can find me and ask for any help that you need over there. You know, if you find that you setting poor goals or you’ve set resolutions many times before and never quite achieved them, this is something that you should probably really sit down and have a talk to yourself about and have a think about what am I going to do differently this time because I keep going down the route of this setting resolutions and committing to doing this and committing to doing that and I never quite see it through. Something has to change for you to start seeing an impact and seeing this change over time so that you actually get there.

That’s it for our first episode of 2020 this was episode 39 so if you want any of the show notes or anything like that, any of the links, please head over to mattrobinson.blog/039 and you will find all of that. You will also find a full transcript of the episode. If there’s any bits that you want to go back and look at and take some notes on, you can find them there, they are very useful for lots of people in the coming weeks, and I have sort of teased this before of tease this idea a couple of times now, but in the coming weeks we are going to do a little miniseries on how to take the first steps with getting in an online version of yourself out there on the interweb so that people can find you.

It might not necessarily be about online personal training per say, but how do you get your business, your fitness business represented online in a way that’s representative of you and you can then potentially use that as a stepping stone to start doing things like online training or online coaching on nutrition coaching and things like that. So that’s a little teaser for things that are coming up in a in a couple of weeks’ times. And I’m going to give you some really, really practical hands on tips and advice on that. I have mentioned before that a lot of that information is going to be delivered via the blog and via the email list because there’s going to be videos in there and articles and stuff. So if you’re not yet subscribed to the email list, head over to mattrobinson.blog.

You’ll be able to find relevant links there to actually join the email list. All I ever send out is a little weekly update on the latest podcast episode, but now I’m going to start adding in the additional educational content as well that you’re going to need over the next few weeks. So if you’re interested in that, if you’re interested in having an online version of yourself out, there somewhere, make sure you go over there and subscribe to the email list and I will make sure that you get all the relevant information and the content ready for when that is a going live. Until next time, take care of yourself. I hope you’ve found today’s episode very, very useful because it’s something that’s needs a bit more attention and a bit more time for us to think about. So have a think about that over the next few weeks. Don’t think about your resolutions or your goals in 2020 is like a one-off thing that you’re just going to sit and do and then forget about. It’s a bit of a process or maybe start that process today, thinking about these things and then committing to habits over time that you’re willing to do to move towards your bigger goals and ambitions. As always, take care of yourself and I will see you in the next episode. Cheers.

How To Actually Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions

Are you someone who likes to set New Year’s Resolutions?

If yes, how well do they usually work for you?

Do you find yourself setting the same goals each year?

Believe it or not, only 8% of people who set a New Year’s Resolution actually succeed in achieving their goal. In fact, by the end of February, approximately 80% of people have already given up on their resolutions.

 In this episode of the Pro-Fit Podcast, I take a look at some of the key statistics around setting resolutions and ask the question “where are we going wrong?”.

We then take a look at the idea of ‘Habit-Setting’, as opposed to ‘Goal-Setting’, and see whether that might be a more successful route for people to go down if they want to actually achieve their goals.

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