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5 Ways to Keep Your New Year Resolutions

New Year New Me!

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We’ve all heard that saying.  Especially at the beginning of the year – a time where nothing is impossible.  People are ripe with motivation. Dreams from yesteryear  are once again picked up from the pile of deferment and dusted off. Hope indeed springs eternal.

Yes, I love this time of year.  The fresh dew of belief and possibility that forms during the night of the previous year is refreshing and inspiring.   It’s the best of times and the worst of times.

Why the worst of times? Well, because I know that the majority of those dreams and goals will become deferred once again in a few short weeks.

How do I know? That’s what I did for a long time.  Each year I’d resolve to do something and within weeks I’d see my resolution in the corner covered in dust and tarnished as I walked by living the life I so desperately wanted to change.

When I really decided to change my life there were 5 things I did that helped me stay on track.

(These are listed in no particular order.)

 

1. Break big goal into smaller goals  goals

I wanted to lose 100 pounds.  That’s a big goal! (and a bit far-fetched if I’m honest with you.)  So I created smaller goals of losing 5 lbs and 10 lbs. That did two things – Kept me moving toward my goal and gave me belief that I could reach my goal.  I mean, if I could lose 5 pounds, I could lose 100.  It was just doing what I already did 20 more times.  Make sense?

2. Have an accountability partner

This was a big one for me.   I knew me and I know the chances of me not keeping my commitment to myself (that’s what a resolution really is) were high.  So what did I do?  I told a handful of people what my goal was.  These were people who’d encourage me when needed.  Get on my case when needed.  More importantly they were people I did not want to let down.

3. Have a plan

This is an absolute must.  A plan is necessary. I needed to have something that I could follow.  I had a nutrition and exercise plan.  That gave me a sense of direction and provided a way for me to measure my progress.  I repeat. Having a plan is essential to achieving any goal.

 

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4. Make it fun

This seems obvious but for me it wasn’t.  I was so focused on my goals that it quickly felt like a job.  And that wasn’t a good thing. The reason being, I was more likely to quit.  So find a way to make it fun. If you’re like me and your goal is to lose weight but hate going to a gym, exercise outside.  Walk your dog, play with your children.  If it’s too cold or raining, turn on music at home and dance around.  Get on YouTube and find a home workout to do.

5. Reward yourself

This ties back to #1.  Setting and reaching the smaller goal along the way is half the battle.  Reward yourself for achieving that goal.  You deserve it. Celebrate you! You said you were going to do something and you did it!  When you set the goal, you should also set the reward.  Having that reward gives you extra motivation to keep going.  It pushes you when things get a bit hard.  The incentive rewards provide is an effective tool. Just make sure the reward matches the goal.

So there are my top 5 tips I used to make sure I did what I said I would do. Feel free to use them.  Let this year be the year you accomplish all you said you’d accomplish.  Go forth and be great!

(I know these aren’t the only tips. What are some of the things you’re doing to help you reach your goals? )success

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy 2015

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. That doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten about the blog. I’ve received numerous emails about the blog activity(or lack thereof) I appreciate all the emails. Even though, I haven’t blogged in a while, I’m still very active in maintaining my health.

This year I’ve been able to directly help a few people pursue their health and wellness goals. I’m also proud to announce that I’ve been working on a book as well. It will be finished soon. I cannot wait to share it with you guys!

Who would’ve thought my first post would’ve led to a book and helping others reach their goals.

Thank you to everyone who follows this blog. I am humbled and appreciate the support. Let’s make 2015 a year unlike any other.

May you accomplish all the goals and dreams you have for the new year!

Happy New Year and I pray you have a wonderful 2015!

-Antuan

 

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Keep The Good Ones

I was watching tv the other day and saw a basketball commercial. A current player was asking a hall of fame player the secret to a great season. The gist of the commercial was the really great basketball players have short memories and only remember their good moments. While it was comical, the commercial was actually right. Not only was it right, it provided a great lesson.

What’s the lesson? You can’t achieve your goals (be it weight loss or being a great basketball player) if you focus on the bad choices you made or the shot you just missed. Instead forget those moments as quickly as possible and move on to the next moment. The next shot, the next meal, The next workout.

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It’s kind of like how yesteryear was. Believe it or not there was a time when cell phone cameras and digital cameras did not exist. Instead you would snap pictures on actual film inside a camera. Then once that roll of film was full, you would take that roll film to a store to have the film developed. Once the film was developed, you could go through the pictures and keep only the good ones. The dark ones, throw them out. The blurry ones, throw those out too. At the end of the process, you have only the good pictures.

That’s how my weight loss journey has been. There have been bad food decisions. (blurry pictures) There have been skipped workouts. (dark pictures) Like the hall of fame basketball players, I didn’t keep those memories. I threw those out and only kept the good memories. The killer workout completed. The 3 mile run without stopping. The crossfit session completed. The healthy meal with all the portions properly measured. All those are good pictures. Good memories.

I’ve found you get a lot further a lot quicker if you focus on the good decisions, memories, pictures more than you do the bad ones. So if you have a bad moment or make a bad decision(hey it happens) Don’t think about it too much. In fact, throw out that picture and keep only the good ones.

That’s what I did and it has made all the difference.

 

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Discipline Not Motivation

Two questions I’m asked constantly is “How have you managed to keep the weight off?” and “How do you stay motivated?” Both questions have related answers. Whenever I share my response, people are surprised.

I’ll answer the second question first. How do I stay motivated? That answer is simple. I don’t. I haven’t been motivated in a long time. Motivation (for me) was temporary. Honestly, I lost motivation after the first few weeks into my weight loss. What happened though was an exchange. Initially, I had lots of motivation and not so much discipline. As the weeks passed, I exchanged motivation for discipline. Pretty soon I created habits that were in place regardless of motivation. (or lack thereof) There are/were plenty of days where I don’t have the motivation. Or more commonly stated – I don’t feel like working out, eating right, etc…

In my mind, motivation is predicated on feelings. And a lot of times, feelings were overrated. At least mine were. When I didn’t feel like doing the right thing, I did it anyway. The habits I created while motivation was high have carried me when my motivation didn’t exist.

You don’t need motivation as much as you need discipline to lose weight.

The first question – “How have I kept the weight off?” I just embraced the fact that this was my new lifestyle. Living healthy, eating right, exercising was now an integral part of my life. (Goes back to those habits) I decided the word diet would no longer be in my vocabulary. I replaced diet with healthy lifestyle. That has made all the difference in keeping the weight off.

Hope that helps.

 

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From The Trail

Not too long ago I was introduced to trail running. Just think a few short months ago I was training for my first 5k. Now I’m voluntarily running in the woods. How crazy is that? This was probably the most challenging run I’ve done to date. The terrain – unforgiving. The hills – lung burning. Those things also made today’s run the most gratifying to date. (To make it even more challenging, I parked my car about a half a mile from where the trail started. So I ended up walking an additional mile to and from my car. Talk about maximizing my time. But that’s another topic for another blog.)

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As I finished up, I was exhausted. I successfully pushed myself to the limits. With beads of sweat traversing their way from my forehead to the corner of my eye and heading down my cheek, I staggered to the nearest tree and just plopped down. While sitting there with my head down, I did everything in my power to catch my breath. I was so in the moment replaying my accomplishment I didn’t notice the hand that was held out in front me. I looked up and saw this elderly gentleman reaching for me. He said “C’mon let me help you up.” I smiled and let him help me up. We walked together underneath the sea of uninterrupted blue talking for a short moment before we went our separate ways.

That moment reminded me that I wasn’t on this journey alone. There have been many people who have played the role of that gentleman. While maybe not physically, your words of encouragement have been the hand he extended to me helping me up when I felt too tired to move. Your checking on me to make sure I hadn’t fallen off the wagon were his hand extended towards me. So to you all I say thank you. The encouragement and support have been priceless.

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A funny thing happened after we went our separate ways. I passed a guy who was struggling on the trail. He was bent over breathing laboriously. I walked up to him and said, “Friend, you finished?” He responded “No just catching my breath.” I extended my hand “I’ll run with you a ways, my friend.”

Just like that I was able to pay it forward.

 

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A Year Later

Last April I decided to do monthly updates in the same shirt and same pose so I could have a visual of my progress. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year already but it has. I thought about stopping the updates but I was asked to keep them going by quite few people. I don’t know how long I’ll keep doing it but for now, I won’t stop.

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Click to see the April (and all of the monthly) updates.

fyi – Click on the picture to enlarge it.

 

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Pursue

Can you believe it’s pretty much April already?!? This year is flying by! Time definitely waits on no-one. It is my hope that those who made goals, resolutions, declarations, etc. some 85 days ago are still actively pursuing them.

That word pursue is a great word. There are a few definitions of the word. The ones I particularly like are below.

  • to strive to gain; seek to attain or accomplish (an end, object, purpose, etc.).
  • to carry on or continue (a course of action, a train of thought, an inquiry, studies, etc.).

Those definitions do not say anything about quitting err, I mean stopping. Nor do they mention anything about giving up on weight loss because of a few bad decisions.

In fact, it says just the opposite. Pursue tells you to keep going regardless of the bad decisions. It tells you to get back on track. Pursue tells you to persevere even if you don’t see the results you want…YET.

The only way you won’t see the results is if you stop pursuing what it is you said you wanted. Do something daily to get you closer to your goals. That’s all I’ve done. I did do something every day to get closer to my goals. The next day I do a just a little bit more and a little bit more.

I promise you. If you do something everyday, you’ll get there.

So no matter what’s happened in the past 84 days, it’s okay. Good or bad it’s in the past and it can’t be changed. So focus on today. Do something today to get you back in the pursuit! You still have 280 days left in this year.

 

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