Gaspari Nutrition

Ron Harris

What will you do with 2013?

It's 2013, a year many around the world didn't even think we would live to see. So now that we're all still here and we have this entire new year stretching out before us, what are you going to do with it?

You often hear people say things like "I hope this will be a good year for me," or "I hope this year will be better than the last." These are the red flags that alert you to the fact that this particular person is not in the habit of accepting personal responsibility for the overall quality of his or here life. Instead, they abdicate that responsibility to various outside forces like fate, the government, or the economy. Granted, we are not always in control of all the factors that can influence 'what happens to us.' But at the same time, we are all in control of a great deal more than we typically understand.

The thing is, life is always happening. The days, weeks, months, and years will continue to tick on by no matter what you do or don't do. They say time flies when you're having fun. But time flies regardless of whether you're having fun or not. We have these 12-month cycles called years that we use to mark units of time in. Every single one of us has the same year ahead of us. You can either choose to take charge and use this year to improve your life and the lives of others, or you can sit back and do nothing at all.

Hopefully, you choose to make the most of your time. The most productive way to do this is to have specific goals with deadlines in which to achieve them, and to come up with a solid plan to meet those goals. Vague goals aren't likely to be met. You hear a lot of people around this time of year announcing vague goals such as "I want to get in shape this year," or "I want to lose some weight." What does 'getting in shape' mean, exactly? Depending on the person and what he or she wants to achieve, it could be anything from developing better muscle tone, getting rid of bodyfat, adding muscle mass, or getting into excellent cardiovascular condition. This is why it's critical to decide EXACTLY what you want to accomplish, being as specific as possible. Instead of merely wanting to lose weight, here is how a weight-loss goal can be far more specific, using a person who is 60 pounds over his or her ideal weight as an example:

I want to lose 60 pounds by the end of 2013.

I want to fit into size 34 pants again (or a size 6, etc. for women)

Now you have a better goal. With some numbers to serve as a frame of reference, you can put a plan together. 60 pounds over 12 months averages out to just 5 pounds a month, or a little more than a pound a week. Since weight loss is never completely at a consistent rate, it's important to keep those 'averages' in mind. If you started eating cleaner and doing more cardio today, in all likelihood you would lose something like 10-12 pounds by the end of this month, which would put you ahead of schedule. Weight loss will eventually slow down once the novelty of eating better and exercising more pretty much wears off. By the end of June, you should be halfway to your goal weight.

By weighing yourself each week just like they do on shows like 'The Biggest Loser,' you know exactly where you stand in terms of your progress. If you are ahead of schedule, that's wonderful! If you are behind, that's a signal that you need to change something in your program. It might mean cutting back on your carbs, upping the intensity and duration of your cardio, etc. The key here is that you are regularly monitoring your progress toward your goal and making adjustments along the way when said progress is not happening.

Conversely, gaining muscular bodyweight could be your main goal. How much muscle do you want to add this year, and how are you planning on doing it?

Your own goals could be about anything, and this is by no means limited to bodybuilding and fitness. The main thing is that you need to set specific goals in the first place. Writing them down and telling others about your goals has also been proven to increase your odds of success. Putting a clear plan of attack into writing is also an excellent idea. This plan must be flexible to allow for unforeseen obstacles and the inevitable plateau you will be faced with at several points along your journey.

But once you have specific goals, a specific plan to achieve them, and a timeline in which to make it all happen, you will be well on your way to making positive changes. Maybe things will go exactly as planned, and your path to your goal will be an easy one. Or, you might have situations and circumstances arise that will force you to work harder to stay focused, and likely also force you to tweak your plan and/or approach so that you are able to continue moving forward. That's fairly likely, which is why you need to have the attitude from the start that even though you might get slowed down at times, nothing is going to stop you.

The bigger your dreams and goals, the more powerful your motivation must be. Others will discourage you and attempt to talk you out of even having your goals. DO NOT PAY HEED TO THEM! Those who are too fearful or too lazy to have goals and work toward them usually feel terrible and ashamed deep inside, and they mask this by trying to dissuade others from having goals and working toward making them reality. This could be obvious, as in those may mock or insult you, or it could be far more insidious, disguised as love or concern. "I just don't want to see you fail."

There is only one surefire way to fail, and that is to never try in the first place. By putting forth your best effort and believing in yourself, you will at least have a chance of achieving even the loftiest of goals. By never trying, you are 100% guaranteed to fail.

You have a whole year right in front of you like an open highway. There are infinite possibilities. What do you want to do? What have you been wanting to do but have been afraid to try because you are so sure you will fail? This is the time to put all that doubt and fear behind you.

Do those things you have been meaning to do.

Be the person you always wanted to be.

Start on it RIGHT NOW!!!

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