January 15, 2012

Are Your
New Year's
The Real Thing?

Patty told me the homily at church on New Year’s Day was about making resolutions and the difference between true resolve and wishful thinking. Briefly, a serious resolution must be specific and, of course, truly committed to; otherwise, it is just wishful thinking.

As she explained the homily in more detail, I was reminded of Bill Phillips’ formula for resolve and goal setting in his best selling book, Body for Life. He advised . . .
  • Setting a realistic, attainable goal.
  • Writing it down.
  • Setting a deadline for reaching that goal.
  • Setting weekly short-term goals that incrementally get you to your long-term goal.
I have a similar formula in my beginners’ book, Gray Iron: A Fitness Guide for Senior Men and Women.” Here is an excerpt from it . . .


“Keeping a fitness notebook provides order and efficiency to your workouts and your life. A simple three-ring binder and some index tabs work fine. Keep it simple, but keep it current.

“Title for first section ‘Goals.’ On the first page, write out what you want to accomplish, and when you intend to do it. ‘I will lose 100 lbs. of fat in 90 days and win a weightlifting contest,’ is ridiculous (i.e. wishful thinking). But, ‘I will lose 20 lbs. over the next 90 days,’ for example, is a realistic attainable goal for a determined person. Be sure to set an exact date you intend to reach your goal. Now, you’ve really got something to work toward.

“The second step is to set short-term goals. Don’t overlook this part. You reach major objectives by incrementally reaching smaller ones. Many people set new short-term goals at the beginning of each week (‘I will lose 2 lbs. by next Sunday,’ for example). If you have trouble staying focused, setting new goals every week is a good way to stay on track. At the end of each week you can say ‘I did it!’ and feel a well-deserved sense of accomplishment.

“Some people even tape their goals list on a mirror or wall so they see them every day. If it helps, do it. Whenever you reach a short-term goal, check it off the list, and write in the actual date you reached it. Incrementally, you are closing in on your long-term goal. Once you reach a long-term goal, set a new one. Keep repeating the process. Structured goal setting is a ‘secret’ of many successful people.”

Without a plan, what many people call a resolution is nothing more than a wish. Read again the excerpt from the book. That is a way you make a genuine resolution, and how to reach an actual goal.

Two weeks have passed since New Year’s Day. Did you make a resolution about fitness (or anything else)? Maybe you wanted to but didn’t get around to it, or perhaps you did but your resolve is already fading. Don’t be discouraged. You can do it. With a realistic goal, a plan, and resolve, amazing things can happen.

Just apply the foregoing formula and watch it work its magic.

Trust me on this one.

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Gray Iron: A Fitness Guide for Senior Men and Women

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The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter is a free publication sent twice monthly to subscribers. The purpose is to provide honest and realistic fitness information for people age 50 and above.

I have never been paid or received compensation of any kind to write a positive review or endorse a product. If I say that I personally use a product or service, it is because I find value in it and have paid for it with my own money.

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The newsletter and web site provide information to help users establish and maintain a fitness lifestyle. But fitness information is not the same as fitness advice, which is the application of exercise and dietary practices to an individual's specific circumstances. Therefore, always consult with your physician for assurance that fitness information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate for you. Your comments and questions are always appreciated.


Logan Franklin
The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter