Dan Penza

The famous yearly lie: New Year’s resolutions. Everyone makes them; almost nobody keeps them. It’s time for that to change.

It’s not an uncommon sight when you walk into a gym on New Year’s Day to a bunch of people trying, and often failing, to use the different machines. Most of these people made it their resolution to work out more; they want to get in better shape but don’t know how to do so properly. That’s because most of these people are lacking in one thing: proper help. Let’s be honest, if everyone there had the proper help then they would have a better idea how to safely exercise while maximizing their muscle growth, and they’d be a lot less likely to stop going to the gym until the next New Year’s Day. This applies to all resolutions. If you don’t find someone who can properly help you to succeed, you’re far less likely to see results and will be far less likely to keep up with any activities related to reaching your goals.

As important as it is to find proper help, it won’t do any good if your goals are objectively unrealistic or you don’t have the motivation to succeed. The person helping you can help with your motivation, but you have to be the one to set realistic goals for yourself. Only you know what you’re able to do to work towards your goals, so it’s important to break your goals down into smaller chunks. Instead of thinking that you’ll be able to bench press 225 pounds by the end of February, try to figure out the pace that you can increase your weight limit in small increments, such as by 5 pounds each time. It can help to turn this system into a schedule you can mend at a later date so you can have a clear path to reaching your goals with few bumps in the road. It’s also important to track your progress so you know how to mend your schedule if it becomes too difficult, and so you can be proud of how far you’ve come—as you may not have noticed had you not tracked your progress.

One thing I cannot stress enough is that you will have setbacks, so it’s important that you don’t beat yourself up over it. This happens to everyone. Stay determined and don’t let one failure keep you from achieving a goal that is within your reach. Failure is how we learn, so instead of focusing on the fact that you failed, focus on how you can learn from your failure, or focus on building yourself up so you don’t have to worry about that failure again. If you see someone fail to reach a new personal record while attempting to lift a very large amount of weight, more than likely they’ll be a little upset, but then they’ll lift what they normally lift so that they can work their way up to success. That’s the mentality you need to have for your goals. Once you reach that new personal record and are getting closer to reaching your overall goal, celebrate. Celebrate your successes. It doesn’t have to be a big party, but if you make sure to reward yourself for working toward your goal, you will be helping to keep your motivation going and will be much more satisfied with how far you’ve come, especially once you reach your goal.
It can take a month or more to properly form a habit of working toward your goals, so if you don’t see that happening right away, remember that it’s important to never give up on your goal if you truly wish to reach it. Be patient, successes take a lot of time and effort. As long as you stay determined and lay a realistic path for yourself, you can achieve your goals. Then all you have left to do is celebrate!