TIPS FOR THE NEW YEAR

We just started Biggest Loser “6” with 58 people. It’s not too late to jump in if you catch me right away. If you’re a regular reader, you know we usually end up with half the people that we started with. I’m hoping to change that this time.

There are quite a few repeat “Losers” doing it again for one reason or another. So many that we’re calling this one Biggest Loser “6” All Stars. I know they’ll stick, because they’ve done it before. Now they’ll get even better results.

Some want to keep making progress, and know they need the structure and support. Others have put some weight back on and want to get things back on track. That’s not unusual. It’s so common, there’s a name for it: “The Yo-Yo Syndrome.”

Usually, it’s because they either go back to eating the way they used to, or they’ve quit working out. Sometimes, it’s both. That can be a disaster. It has to become a lifestyle change if you’re going to be successful in the long run.

Here are some tips that can help you accomplish your goals this New Year. It’s by no means an exhaustive list, but it will help get you started. Next week, I’ll give you the roster and results from week one.

1. What Do You Want? Be specific. Most people don’t just leave for vacation without knowing the destination. You’ve got to know where you’re going. It’s O.K. if this isn’t too precise—we can hone in on the details late. What do you really want?

2. Why Do You Want It? It’s important to have reasons why, because it’s going to be pretty easy to come up with reasons why not to when things start getting difficult. Your “got to” has to be bigger than your “want to.” If it’s important enough, you’ll find a way to do it.

3. How Bad Do You Want It? This is important too. If it’s low priority, it’s likely to get bumped when life starts intruding. You’ve got to really want to do it. Here’s where I think people miss it. They want it, but not bad enough to put up with the pain and inconvenience. They don’t stick, because they don’t want it bad enough.

4. Give It Priority. What’s the most important thing that you want to do or change? Let’s focus on that one. Always keep it in the back of your mind that this is the one thing that you want to make sure you finish. You have to finish it.

5. Find Out How. Figure out what you’re going to have to do, and how to do it. Get help. If it’s losing 50 pounds, how quickly do you want to do it? Do you have the time to devote 12-24 weeks to it, twice a day? Or are you comfortable with slowing it down and using the whole year to get there? Are you willing to work that hard?

6. Get With Like-Minded People. There’s safety in numbers. Have a support system. Most people push harder in my group workouts then they do on their own. It’s motivating to see other people all focused on the same goal.

7. Tell People. It helps you stay accountable. If you tell someone, you’re more likely to follow through because they’re going to be watching you. That’s another reason people often do better in groups.

8. Just Get Started. At some point, the talk has to stop, and you’ve got to take action. You can want to do it for a long time, but it doesn’t happen until you actually do it. After you’ve done the research and figured out a good plan, do something about it. Sign up. Show up. Buy some workout shoes.

9. Start Easy. Start easy but keep turning it up. Every day, do a little bit more to get you closer to your goal. Write down what you do—it will encourage you when you look back. And if you have a day or two where nothing’s written down, you’ll realize you need to get back into the game.

10. Stay focused. Don’t let anything get you off track. Remember, this was the one thing that you not only wanted to do, but felt you had to do. Stay the course. When life intrudes, deal with it, and then find a way to keep moving forward. Keep thinking about the end result, which is you getting what you want.

11. It’s O.K. when you make a mistake. Heck, I make at least one every day. If you ask my wife, it might be more. Cut yourself some slack. Forgive yourself. It’s tough enough, without beating yourself up all the time.

12. Get Back Up. Everybody gets knocked down. Winners find a way to get back up. If you have an injury, work around it. If your schedule suddenly changes, figure out how to get it done anyway. If you have a couple bad days, get back with the program.

13. Remind Yourself Why. Keep the big picture in mind. Why are you really doing this? Here’s where the rubber meets the road. When it gets tough, and it will, if you have a bigger “have to” then your reasons are for quitting, you’ll be able to stick it out, and get what you want.

14. Keep Your Commitments. Even to yourself. If you say you’re going to do it, do it. Stay consistent in your efforts. Keep at it.

15. Encourage Others. I’ve found that when I help others reach their goals, I reach mine. A team of horses can pull a much heavier load than just one.

16. Finish What You Started. This is such a huge problem in today’s fast food, get it now, culture. We want it now, and when we don’t get it, we tend to quit and move on to the next thing. Refuse to be a quitter. If you let yourself down that way, everyone else suffers too. Like that great philosopher-comedian says: “Git er done.”

17. Give Thanks. No one does anything in a vacuum. Other people help. Some encourage—some motivate. Thank them. Thank God.

18. Enjoy It. This one’s a little hard for me. I’m so goal-oriented and focused on the end result. Then I get depressed when it’s over because there isn’t something to do anymore. I need to learn to enjoy the journey. I also need to learn to enjoy the destination more.

19. Keep It Going. Come up with a plan to keep the progress you’ve made. In military terms, you want to keep the ground you’ve fought for. Don’t be a yo-yo.

20. Set New Goals. There’s always more to do, and it helps you stay young.

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