T Nation

New Year Goals

New Years Day arrives about 5 weeks early for me each year. I treat Thanksgiving Day as the last day of the year-at least in terms of my written goals and here’s why. Most people who set goals use a January 1st-December 31st timeline. The problem is that you really dont get going until the second week in January. Then it takes a couple of weeks to recover from holiday indulgences and its often March before you really start making any measurable progress. Here is what I have done for close to twenty years. Use Thanksgiving as the last day of your training year. The Friday after thanksgiving is always a great day to rest and relax-its the ultimate alpha-male day-plenty of leftover food, no family expectations, the ladies are usually at the mall, adn there is often a good day of football. So you take Friday to rest, relax, and reflect on your previous years training. Did you reach your goals, what mistakes did you make, what did you learn, what changes need to make place, and then write specific, training goals for the next year and a specific list of action steps needed to achieve those goals. Your start date will still be Janurary 1st, but you have the entire month of December to get ready-both physically and mentally. Use December to improve your GPP, to improve your flexibility, to perfect your technique, maybe to try some new exercises or variations of exercises. You treat the gym as a lab during December-this is a lot of fun and it takes the pressure of focused heavy training. This allows you to enjoy the holidays. You also use this month to mentally prepare. Maybe you need a change of training venues, make a list of supplements you will need, of new equipment, drop some hints to your family in terms of these needs. Watch inspirational movies, ie Rudy, Vision Quest, etc. Order a DVD of your favorite iron athlete-you get the idea. By the time Jan 2 rolls around, you are rested, conditioned and completely prepared to hit the gym at full speed.

One final note-You best workouts of the year should be in November-train your ass off, hit those PR’s, and then enjoy the holidays.

Keith

That actually sounds like a great idea. What is your diet like during the holidays, though? Do you eat whatever until Jan. 1 or do you go into Jan. 1 already eating clean for a couple of weeks?

The neat thing about this program is that it actually keeps your diet in check because your getting in gear for the new year. I also like to do a lot of conditioning type work during this month, which tends to offset the extra holiday calories. I really dont eat much different, a few more goodies, and a few more cups of coffee with baileys, but that is about it,

I think the idea of the “New Year” being the time for change is a load of BS. The majority of the people on the planet who do this never stick with their “new” goals and fall off the wagon within the first month or two. If you are serious about bodybuilding, change should be a constant part of your life, not stagnation most of the year and then a sudden boost around the holidays. I do set goals for myself, but they are generally in terms of having a due date to reach that goal, not just some fixed time to start with no end in sight. What are you planning on doing in the new year that you waited for? Why did you wait for the coming new year instead of making changes all year long? I am usually either working on size or dieting. I just don’t understand those who drive in neutral for 10-11 months of the year and then step on the gas as if next year will be any different.

Well, I think people that post on this website have different new year’s resolutions than most others. Take me for example, my new year’s resolution is not to give up twinkies and beer, but to have less oatmeal and more lean protein etc. That point being that no matter what your dietery and exercise habits are, come new years everyone feels the need to become a little more discipline.