Jason Wanlass: Got resolutions? Look inward and around yourself first.

Before you embark on this year’s fitness quest, put yourself in a position for success.

January 12, 2014 

Well, it’s here again — a new year. Another chance to become the change that we all strive for. To get in shape. To lose some weight.

It does seem to happen on an annual basis, as history does have a tendency of repeating itself. But despite our best intentions every January, most of us unfortunately will fall back to our old patterns and find ourselves back to square one the following year.

Now, I could dazzle you with hot new exercises, cutting-edge workout and nutrition tips that will get results fast. However, we have all the information we need in those regards at our fingertips — 354 million in 0.21 seconds to be exact (thanks, Google!). But the reality is we have to get right mentally and create a positive environment to elicit permanent change.

THE PEOPLE YOU HANG OUT WITH MATTER

We are creatures of habit and behavioral patterns, and have a natural tendency to mimic others — particularly from our upbringing (i.e., family) and the people we associate with. The late Jim Rohn said it best: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Take a moment to think about it. Seriously — take a moment.

If you look closely at the five individuals of your inner circle, you will see you share similarities in socio-economic status, hobbies and, of course, nutrition and exercise habits. With this in mind, you’ll want to surround yourself with people who share the same goals as you regarding your health and wellness. And be aware of those who may deter you. Friends may try to entice you to grab a bite to eat at the Steakhouse instead of going to the gym, co-workers may bring a box of donuts to work, or your spouse might complain that you don’t spend enough time with him or her.

Most friends and loved ones don’t do this consciously; mostly it’s because they have strong emotional ties to you, and any changes you make may alter the status of your relationship. If this happens, try lifting them up as opposed to being pulled down with the following strategies:

• Invite your friend to join you for a workout. It’s a great additional outlet, can create a stronger bond and could also serve as a catalyst for the positive change he or she may need as well.

• Keep healthy snacks at work just in case the “Donut Avenger” frequents your work often. If you are equipped with better choices, you are less likely to indulge.

• If your spouse feels you are “taking away” his or her time with you, be positive and understanding. Say you respect what your spouse is telling you, but emphasize that by making positive change for yourself, you are improving the quality of the time you spend together. You can always extend the invitation to join you as well.

While these are great strategies, they won’t work with everyone. If you are surrounded by individuals who do not support your efforts to make positive changes in your life, it might be time to find some who will.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that you have to sever all ties, but you will need to find a strong support group if you truly want to change.

Some options may include joining an active group of individuals who desire or have the same things you are after. This can be an outdoor adventure group, a recreation sports league or a fitness group. This is a great way to forge new relationships with people who share the same goals, have experienced the same struggles and will help lift you to new heights.

FINDING YOUR ‘WHY?’

With 70 percent of our country overweight, it’s understandable if you’re exercising to shed a few pounds. But I’m here to tell you this: There has to be a deeper purpose for your exercise. The scale will become a perpetual roller coaster that will drive you mad if that’s your sole reason for doing this. Go deeper than that! You have to find your true “Why?”

Personally, I have several reasons why. One is taking great satisfaction in being a positive role model for my children. And I know I’m making an impact when they say, “Dad will you take us through a workout?”

I also enjoy exercise because it calms the storm inside, creates mental clarity and allows me to hear that inner voice guiding me on life’s journey. Most of my best ideas have come in the middle of a workout and have been a major catalyst to some of my most prized accomplishments. Even on days when I feel I don’t have the time, I know I’ll be focused and efficient with my work afterwards.

It’s much more that “looking good” or “losing weight.” How you “feel” is ultimately what you are after and I promise if you stay with it, you’ll never feel more alive than you will then. So go inward and really ask yourself, “Why do I want to do this?”

YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE

You have to begin with belief in yourself — believing ultimately will make or break your success. Henry Ford said it best: “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”

So true! The battle is won or lost long before you even set foot in the gym. Your body will only go as far as your mind thinks it can. So eliminate self-limiting phrases like, “I could never do that” or “I’ll never be as fit as that guy.” It serves no purpose and only sends you light years back in the wrong direction.

I’m here to tell you that you can accomplish anything you want — ANYTHING! Change your thoughts and you will change your actions. Change your actions and you will change your body. Period.

Have a vision for what you want to accomplish, expect greatness out of yourself and, most importantly — believe.

HAVE FUN

Remember growing up in a world where there were no deadlines, meetings, errands, etc.? We simply played. Whatever your motivation for getting in shape, I encourage you to find your fun. Relax and don’t take it too seriously. Exercise and physical activity should be a way to let not only your body run free, but your mind as well.

Life always comes with responsibility, but we can still take the time to reconnect with that timeless part of ourselves. So in addition to simply following a workout plan, try out a new sport or activity, go on a scenic hike, play and be active with your kids and make it a weekly ritual. Let your fitness regimen serve to make your recreational activities easier and more enjoyable.

Want to change your life for good? Start by making a 90-day commitment to yourself and follow these action steps to put yourself in a place for achieving success. Beyond that, everything will seem to start naturally falling into place and become the new habit you’re after.

So make the decision, take action and make 2014 the year you truly changed.

Jason Wanlass, the owner of Champion Fitness Training in Meridian, has more than 15 years experience in the fitness industry. Contact him at championfit@live.com or www.championfit.net.

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