4 Ways To Conquer Your Fitness Goals In 2020

Young man workout in fitness club. Profile portrait of caucasian guy making plank or push ups exercise, training indoors

iStockphoto / Milkos

It’s that time of year again. The holidays are all but over. Christmas has come and gone, and if you’re like most people, you’re probably just starting to come out of your ham and cookie-induced holiday haze, and realizing you may not like what’s staring back at you in the mirror.

The good news? New Years is just a few days away.

Setting fitness goals are among the most popular resolutions each year. Many people want to lose weight, build muscle, eat healthier, and become more active. And they set these resolutions with the best of intentions.

But most of these resolutions fail.

Statistics show that less than 25% of people are still sticking with their resolutions come the end of January, and only 8% of people end up accomplishing their resolutions at all.

But why is the success rate so low?

While there are a lot of factors involved, what it really comes down to is a failure to have a plan. Most people walk into the gym on January 1st 2nd, hop on a treadmill for 30 minutes, do a few sets of bench press and bicep curls, and hope for the best.

If that’s your plan (or sounds like your plan in the past), I have bad news and I have good news.

The bad news is, that’s not going to work. Instead, it’s going to land you squarely among the 92% of people who end up not accomplishing their fitness goals this year.

The good news? You’ve come to the right place if you want to learn how to be one of the people who crush their New Year’s resolution in 2020.

Here’s how to set yourself up for success this year…

1. Set Reasonable Goals; Manage Expectations

Most people fail before they even get started because they’re chasing unattainable goals based on unrealistic expectations. You’re not going to lose 25 pounds in a month. You’re not going to gain 10 pounds of muscle in 6 weeks. Real, sustainable changes to your physique take time.

Outcome-based goals like that are great. But believing you can accomplish them overnight is a surefire way to set yourself up for failure before you even begin.

Instead, set reasonable process-oriented goals that align with your outcome goals. Because these are what you have 100% control over.

So, if your goal is to lose a certain amount of weight, focus on daily process goals like tracking your calories or eating more veggies. If your goal is to build more muscle, focus on getting to the gym consistently 4-5x per week.

Unlike outcome-based goals – which you don’t have 100% control over – process goals like these you 1) do have 100% control over, and 2) when done consistently, will help you accomplish your outcome goals.

2. Choose a Sustainable Plan

Quite possibly the biggest mistake people when it comes to getting in better shape, regardless of the time of year, is looking at it the entire process as something that’s temporary.

I eat and train the same year-round. My clients eat and train the same whether they’re trying to lose fat, maintain, or build muscle.

If you can’t see yourself following the same approach after you reach your goal as you did to reach your goal, it’s probably not going to work. If you love carbs, but you’re following a plan that has you eating zero carbs every day in order to see results, you’re probably not going to be able to sustain those results long term. Or if you think you have to train 2 hours per day, 6 days per week, but can barely even find time to make a meal for yourself, you’re not going to be able to sustain that long term.

To achieve real results AND be able to sustain them, how you eat and how you train needs to be something you can see yourself doing forever. That doesn’t mean you’re going to be dieting forever, or doing the same workouts forever, but the foundation should be the same. Which means enjoying the foods you eat and enjoying the workouts you do.

3. Don’t Rely on Motivation

I’m gonna let you in on a little secret: Most days, I’m not motivated to go to the gym. Most days, I have to force myself to get a workout in.

Why? Because motivation is fleeting. If you’re trying to rely on motivation to get started or push you through difficult times, you’re going to fail.

I go to the gym because it’s a habit I’ve built over the years. Because I know, regardless of whether I feel like doing it or not, NOT doing it isn’t going to help me improve my physique or my health.

If you want to accomplish anything in fitness, you have to create habits; non-negotiables that you commit to doing no matter what.

It could be as simple as committing to drinking more water every day, getting 7+ hours of sleep per night, getting up and going to the gym 3 mornings per week, having green veggies with every meal, or tracking your calories. Habits beget habits. And the more habits you work on building, the better your progress. And the best way to build habits?

4. Get Help

There’s no trophy given out for taking years to accomplish on your own, what you could accomplish in a third of the time by getting help.

Why? One word: Accountability.

Accountability works by forcing you to put skin in the game; and creating consequences for not taking action. And there are a lot of ways to create accountability.

You could team up with a friend or spouse if they have similar goals to train together or eat better. We as humans have this intrinsic desire to not be seen as a failure in the eyes of others. So by committing to someone you care about that you’re going to do something together, you are much more likely to follow through.

There’s also creating monetary accountability, like joining a class, buying a program, or hiring a coach. Most of us place a pretty high value on our hard-earned money, so when we pay for something, we are much more likely to then value that and use it consistently.

The added value of hiring a coach is that you get everything on this list rolled into one.

You get someone who is going to help you set realistic goals and manage your expectations of progress, create a personalized, sustainable plan just for you, help you focus on building the long-term habits you need to execute that plan, AND give you the knowledge, support, accountability to stick with that plan long enough to see the results you’re looking for.

If you’re struggling to find a plan that works for you, and create the habits you need to build your best body ever, getting help can change your life. It did mine.

(If you’re interested in learning more about coaching, fill this out and mention ‘Brobible’)

Year after year, most people set goals for themselves and fall short – because they struggle to conquer these key four areas of a successful transformation. Don’t let 2020 be that year for you. When deciding how you’re going to tackle your New Year’s fitness resolution, use this list as your guide to set yourself up for success once and for all.

Jorden is a cookie-loving former fat kid turned online fitness coach; who lost over 80 pounds and has now helped over 600 of men and women get in better shape and improve their lives. You can find him on Instagram musing about fitness, life, and cookies.