by Coach Chris
Overall, 2012 was a great year in my opinion. The world did not end on the 21st of December or at any other time. The Washington Nationals made the playoffs. Twinkie went out of business (that could be a positive or a negative) and chances are if you have followed this blog, you are exiting 2012 healthier and faster in the water. 2013, though, has the potential to be even better. However, it depends on one thing: you.
You have the power to create and have an awesome 2013 full new personal bests in the water, a leaner body, and a cleaner diet.You also though have the power to have a horrendous 2013 where your times increase, you gain weight, and your diet becomes SAD (Standard American Diet). The difference lies in how you approach and plan the year.
Let’s say you approach 2013 with the general (and most common) resolution to lose weight, so you eat all the junk from now until New Years with the idea that on the morning of January 1st you will wake up and everything will be different. You will start the day with half a grapefruit and maybe a cup of coffee, pack a salad for lunch, and then have steamed chicken and vegetables for dinner. Your resolve may last for one or two days maybe a week but after that, chances are your will power will begin to falter and eventually you will fall into old habits and 2013 will be just like 2012. You blame yourself and resolve that you are doomed to have that spare tire forever. The problem though was not with you, your willpower, or your genes. Rather, the problem lay with your inability to prepare.
Having the best 2013 does not begin on January 1st 2013. It begins NOW and here is how, with these 5 triathlon tips:
- Fail to Prepare and Prepare to fail: Between now and New Years decide on what you want to resolve. It could be one goal or a whole laundry list. Get out a sheet of paper (go on, I can wait) and write them all down regardless of how far fetched they are. For me, I am planning to get my swim splits down, get or get close to getting my pro card, clean up my diet even more, ask out Chrissie Wellington on a date, and take care of my body more.
- Specify: Now that you have a list, get specific. It’s fine to have the goal “to lose weight” but you are more likely to succeed if you get specific. How much weight do you want to lose. Set a number and go with it. Make sure the goal is realistic, quantifiable, and has a do date attached to it. In my case it would be to get my swim splits down to 1:20/100yrds by July 31st, get my pro card by October 31st, remove gluten, wheat and refined sweets by March 17th, and cut my stress levels and consistently get 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
- Break it up: One of the reasons why people fail at resolutions is that they try to accomplish too much in too little time. Instead, what I am doing is breaking up the year into 12 manageable chunks in which I will tackle one of my goals. In January, for example, I am going to give up wheat and gluten (even trace amounts) completely. February is going to be “hibernation month” throughout which I will focus on getting more sleep. Then in March, it’s going to be “March Madness” where I will attempt to de-stress and begin a meditation and yoga regimen. By breaking up your goals, not only will you accomplish more activities but you will find it easier to focus on one specific goal until it becomes habit before moving on to the next.
- Shout it from the roof tops: Now that you have all your goals planned out, recruit a large support group to help you in the endeavor. Post it on Facebook and Twitter. Share it with coworkers. Tell your significant other. The more people you tell the more accountable you will become.
- Knowledge is power (and motivation): Go out and do research on the best way to achieve your goal. When I look at training and nutrition plans, listen to podcasts, subscribe to blogs, and read books, I not only find more reasons to continue on my present endeavor I also pick up useful tips on how to maintain the habit.
This may sound like a lot of work but if you look back on any year in which you set a resolution only to fail two days into the New Year, then this process is well worth it. Remember, that there are 365 days in 2013 so if you mess up on the first day you still have 364 days left to get it right. Keep in mind that resolutions are tough and do not come easily; neither is creating a new habit after years of doing the same harmful actions. Therefore, take it one day at a time and before you know it, 2014 will have already arrived.