New Year's is fast approaching and so are those New Year's Resolutions! I was a New Year's Resolution transformation survivor. Below are some tips on how I was able to survive and continue to survive today. A little over 4 years ago I walked into a local gym with the hope that I could change my life. Thinking back, making my way through the front doors was a huge step. I was extremely intimidated by the environment and all the fit people. I met with a trainer who took my body fat, and gently broke the news that I was obese. Several times I had looked in the mirror and found myself disgusted, but I had never considered the notion that I was obese. I decided then that it was absolutely time for change. Staying on track and changing my life has been far from easy. Every day is a battle to stick with the commitment I have made to myself. As my journey has continued, I still have to do things every day to motivate myself to stay on track. Here are my tips to help you survive your transformation. Tip 1-Have a vision/Goal Before setting out on this life changing and transforming journey, you will need to have a clear vision/goal of what exactly it is that you want. Who has ever gone out and done something great without first having a vision/goal of the end result? Not only do you need to have a clear vision but you need to ask yourself, “why it is important to you”? There will surely be tough days ahead where you will ask yourself, “Why am I doing this”? On those tough days it will be your vision/goal that will push you to fight on and continue with your transformation. Set SMART goals. Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Timely If you want to learn more about SMART goals, here is a link to a great article from Shannon Clark. http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/sclark19.htm Tip 2-Make an Official Announcement Making an official announcement will mentally commit you. Tell everyone that you are transforming your life. Not only tell everyone, but be excited about it. Make an official announcement on your social networks along with verbally telling people at work, and any other place you frequent. When you tell people about your goal, they WILL follow up with you and help keep you accountable. Utilize BodySpace in this process. It’s a great tracking tool, and it even has a countdown for you reaching your goal. When you put your goal out there for everyone to see, you’re much more likely to follow through. People who keep their goals secret, bail in secret and only disappoint themselves. Tip 3-Have a Plan, Set a Schedule Having a plan and a schedule is critical. Would you schedule a meeting with your boss and not show up? Why should it be any different with training your body? Your health is important so you must schedule your gym time and have an agenda while you’re at the gym. One of my favorite quotes, by Benjamin Franklin, states “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. There are many resources available to help you come up with a plan and stick to the schedule. Bodybuilding.com has free plans developed and made available from the world’s top professionals in the health and fitness industry. I used Kris Gethin’s 12 week trainer and dropped 45 pounds. In addition to scheduling time in the gym, it is also important that you plan time in your schedule for other areas in your life including family time, rest days, etc. Tip 4-Daily Alone Quiet Time- Finding time every day to be alone and somewhere quiet can be difficult. Our schedules are packed and life can be noisy and busy. As the father of four young children, 3 boys and 1 girl, it’s hard to find a moment and a place during my day where it is quiet and I am alone. In your schedule set a time daily to reflect on your progress, and plan. I have found that the best time for me is in the early morning when my family is asleep and I can sit at my kitchen table and read, ponder, and plan for the coming day. Tip 5- Become a Student To be successful at reaching and maintaining fitness goals it is important to be a student. I am a teacher by profession and consider myself a lifetime learner. Am I saying go out and enroll in college courses? No. I found bodybuilding.com to be a comprehensive resource in helping me to better my health and reach my fitness goals. The more knowledge you gain about health and fitness, the more accountable and less ignorant you are. With anything in life, if you want success, you must study methodology, is it not any different with exercise, and nutrition. Tip 6-Ignore the Haters While there are many people that will support you along your journey, unfortunately there may often be what the fitness industry refers to as “haters”. Haters come in many forms and are often those closest to us. They may be your friends and even family members. For a variety of reasons, there are people who feel uncomfortable when those around them start to make positive changes in their health and fitness. Those who know you best, who are supposed to be your greatest support can become your greatest transformation adversaries. Whether it’s your parents, spouse, children, and yes, even sweet old grandma, whoever the naysayer is, my advice, ignore them! If anything use their negativity to fuel your fire to succeed. I am in no way saying write these people off, they are your family, and they may be very supportive in many other aspects of your life. All I am saying is realize they know the old you. There will be times when you sit at family functions and social events and watch others eat as much, and whatever they want. You will hear the comments and little jabs taken at you as you eat differently. Yes they are enjoying themselves but who is going to be happier with the results in the end? You! Look at your transformation as an opportunity to be an example to them, and maybe you can eventually help them to change their lives. Tip 7-Look to the BodySpace Community for Support Transforming your life and living a healthy lifestyle is a road not many take. Statistically looking at the obesity rates in the U.S, the evidence is clear, this road is a road less traveled, and can be lonely road at that. BodySpace is a place where you can go and find others who are on the same road as you and who are going through a transformation right now, just like you. There are thousands upon thousands of people on BodySpace who,just like you, want to live a healthy lifestyle and want to improve every day. There are also many others who I guarantee had it worst off than you, and they were able to overcome and transform their life. Find those people who have been successful, those who inspire you. Make those social connections, and look to them for support while going through your transformation. Tip 8-Believe in yourself, Expect to finishing, Make Changes Permanent As you go into your transformation, realize that this transformation isn’t just a “diet”. To truly transform your life, the changes you make need to be permanent changes. Realize you’re making a lifestyle change. Through your transformation, inevitably there will be hard days ahead. Remember your reasons for taking the journey in the first place. Remember the destination. Believe in yourself; be consistent, be patient, and you will transform not only your body, but also your mind and heart. I promise you that if you commit, if you follow through, if you make changes, and live a healthy, active lifestyle, all other aspects of your life will improve. Your relationships, your career, your attitude…EVERYTHING will improve! You will have a new found passion for life; waking up each day ready to achieve greatness. The true secret to becoming a transformation survivor is to keep the big picture in mind as you do the little things everyday. While focusing on the little things every day, realize that it is because of the little things, that you are able achieve the great big things. I know you can do it! Don’t wait another day. Don’t put it off until tomorrow, start today!