The 10 Key Differences Between Weight Loss Success and Failure

“NEW YEAR, NEW YOU!” 

At some point in the past two days, you probably said something like the following:

  • “Alright, time to lose this gut. “
  • “This year I’m gonna tone these arms and fix these love handles.”
  • “Holy crap I really let myself go. Is that Cheeto dust…on my forehead? Yikes.”

And thus, we begin our search for the promised land of effortless, enjoyable weight loss:

We want that one workout that scientists hate that finally melts the fat off our midsections and makes us look like Wonder Woman.

We gorge on acai bowls and omega-3 supplements and get excited about the latest article that says red wine is a health food as we polish off another bottle.

We go through a series of follies in search of a get-fit-quick fantasy that never actually comes to fruition, like Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Reality paints a much different picture:

A flat stomach doesn’t come in a bottle or in a workout DVD.

It comes from boring consistent action over months and years. Gross.

I have seen tens of thousands of people collectively lose millions of pounds since I started Nerd Fitness almost a decade ago.

At the same time, I have also seen hundreds of thousands of people chase the latest health fad, lose a few pounds, and end up a year later right back where they started. Every year, I have seen packed gyms in January become ghost towns in February.

No wonder a 2016 British study declared, “We’re doomed to stay fat.”[1]

So what gives?

This year, what will separate the people who make new years resolutions and STICK with them, and those that give up after a few weeks?

With over 40,000 students in our flagship online course, the Nerd Fitness Academy, 150 1-on-1 coaching clients, and 10 years with thousands of emails and success stories, I created this monster resource that dives deep into the key habits that will actually help you get in shape this year.

Here are the 10 key strategies that separate the Healthy from the Unhealthy – start doing these things today and you’ll actually make progress that lasts:

1. have a Growth Mindset.

Your mom was right: you are a unique snowflake.

That means there are ton of things that affect why you’ve gained weight over the past decade(s) and why you struggle to lose it:

  • Genetics
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Stress level
  • Home environment
  • Mental health
  • Activity level
  • Nutrition

All of these things play a factor in what you look like and how healthy you are. Despite these various factors, I’ve seen a common thread in people who build healthy habits and stick with them:

A Growth mindset.

Let’s get nerdy for a second (you’re reading Nerd Fitness after all). I assume you’re familiar with Groot, the tree-like superhero from Guardians of the Galaxy. He can grow and change his shape to suit the situation. He also only says, “I am Groot,” but that’s less applicable here.

HOW TO BUILD A MINDSET LIKE GROOT:

Unhealthy Person: “I have bad genetics. My parents are overweight. I am busy. I have children. I have a slow metabolism. I’m never going to be able to lose weight. This plan won’t work for me because [excuse to let myself off the hook]. I’m the fat guy/gal and that’s all there is to it.”

Habit Building Badass: “I have bad genetics. My parents are overweight. I am busy. I have children. Soooo….How can I make this work for me in my situation? I know people like me who have lost weight, which is a great sign. I refuse to accept that I am a lost cause. I am Groot.”

Key Takeaway #1 - Have a Groot Mindset

Even if it isn’t your fault where you are, accept that it’s your personal responsibility to deal with it.

We all have emotional, visceral responses to what we see in the mirror or how we feel when we wake up. We need to cut through the emotion and get to the truth: we alone are responsible for our fate, and that means we alone can fix it.

Like Groot, you can change and grow.

You’ll learn that your excuses are moot – if busier, older, fatter, poorer, and more injured people than you can get in shape, you can too.

So, decide TODAY that this year that you are a“a healthy, habit-building badass” and then simply do the things that perpetually healthy nerds do. With each meal or each decision, ask yourself “what would a healthy person do?” And then do that.

2. know Your “Big Why”.

The road to perpetual weight loss and healthiness is fraught with peril.

Even the best-laid plans and New Years Resolutions will end up in a ditch on the side of the road unless you have a damn good reason.

After all, life gets busy and it’s Taco Tuesday and a new video game just came out and your kid is sick and you just don’t feel like exercising and it’s cold. There will ALWAYS be something.

You will never not be busy.

That perseverance will from a damn good answer to the question: “Why?”

Not just “Because I need to lose weight,” but two levels deeper: WHY you want to lose weight. That’s the motivation and answer you need to be reminded of to persevere over the next few months.

If your answer is: “I’m here because my doctor/wife/husband thinks I should lose weight. I know I should exercise more and do more.” you are doomed. You will give up at the first sign of adversity.

Compare this to the raw, deep, honest answers we get from Nerd Fitness Academy members when we ask about their “Big WHY”:

  • “I’m here because my dad died of a heart attack at age 45, and I don’t want my kids growing up without a father like I did.”
  • “I’m here because I want my husband/wife to look at me the way he/she used to, and I want us to grow old together.”
  • “I’m here because I just got dumped and I want to get healthy so I can start dating again. I don’t want people swiping left on my photos anymore.”
  • “I’m here because I want to look in the mirror and be proud of what I see. I want to stop hiding behind others in photographs.”

Find Your Big Why

Why are you here? Why do you want to build healthy habits?

Is your reason for being here more important to you than cake? If it isn’t, you’re gonna give up at the first sign of adversity.

Write down your Great Big Why and go deep, my friend. Way down. And ask yourself “Why?” to the answer of each of your questions until you get to the root of your reason for being here.

Once you write that answer down, hang it up somewhere you can see it every day: fridge, cubicle, bathroom mirror. Accept responsibility for your current situation, be compassionate, and also accept that you CAN change, and your identity can change with small wins that prove it.

3. don’t go on a diet. adjust Your nutrition.

Perpetually unhealthy people have a love/hate relationship with diets.

Mostly hate.

They go on diets all the time – especially in early January, and then they go off diets. And then they go on another diet. And then they find another diet that’s supposed to promise even faster, easier weight loss, so they switch to that one.

Unhealthy people get dieting wrong from the start, and this is what dooms them.

Unhealthy people go on a diet for a month or two, and they can’t wait to go back to “eating normally.” The problem is that their “eating normally” is the reason why they’re overweight in the first place.

Temporary changes to one’s eating results in temporary changes to one’s weight and physique.

Like an addict chasing the next high, somebody consistently has to chase the next diet because their normal eating is the problem in the first place!

And yup, dieting sucks.

Starvation, eliminating favorite foods, and trying to use willpower to avoid candy and sweets is a terrible strategy, so stop doing it.

No wonder people abandon diets as soon as they start them; they think, “If this is what it takes to be skinny, I’d rather stay fat and happy.”

This year, never go on a diet ever again.

Instead, come to terms with this: “My concept of ‘normal eating’ is broken, which means it needs to change permanently in order for me to get healthy.”

Think about that for a second.

If you “never get to be done” with your nutrition, and you can’t go back to how you were eating before, then the ONLY way permanent success happens is if you actually enjoy your new “normal.”

Don't do diets, adjust your nutrition

Stop going on diets!

No more diet pills, cleanses or crazy 30-day strategies.

Nothing you do can be temporary, or the results will be temporary.

Instead you are going to make deliberate, incremental permanent changes to your daily nutrition, slowly, over a period of many months.

Eat to line up with your goals.

If you are afraid of giving up something, don’t! Make the unhealthy foods more of a treat and less of a daily indulgence:

  • If giving up soda forever is scary, slowly cut back from 12 a day down to one a day.
  • If giving up pasta forever sounds like a life not worth living, learn about portion sizes and make it an experience (only at restaurants, for example).
  • The same goes for diet pills and supplements – Supplements cannot replace a good nutrition strategy.

When you think about getting healthy this year, think in terms of days and years, not weeks and months:

Know that it took years for you to get to your current physique, and it’s going to take months if not years to correct it. This means you HAVE to enjoy the journey.

Once you accept that you never get to be “done,” you can start picking small adjustments or changes that won’t scare you away from adhering to your plan.

4.know what’s in the food You eat.

Did you know that when it comes to weight loss, your nutrition choices will account for 90% of your success or failure?

In the Nerd Fitness Rebellion, we refer to this as the “you can’t outrun your fork” rule.

Seriously. 90+ PERCENT of the equation

Tattoo this on your forehead. Hire somebody to skywrite it above your home every day. Pay somebody to call you every morning and remind you of this fact.

Whatever it takes to get you to realize that changing your eating habits will be the fastest (and only) path to weight loss in 2018.

And it starts by educating yourself about your food.

Make a habit of knowing what’s in the food you eat! 

Whether it’s portion control, calorie counting, tracking macros, or even keeping a food journal, it’s important to have rough idea of the nutritional breakdown of the food you consume regularly.

After all, GI Joe tells us that “Knowing is half the battle!”

The other half is lasers:Knowing is half the battle, lasers is the other half

With each meal tracked, this habits adds up to knowing what needs to happen every day for you to get healthy.

Sugar is a big culprit in spiking insulin and thus contributes to making waistlines larger, which means checking the labels on the foods you’re consuming for sugar is a great habit to get into.

Speaking of sugar, let’s see a common pitfall you can start to avoid. Here are two different beverages:

  • Coca-Cola (20 oz): 240 calories, 65 g of carbs (65 g of sugar)
  • Naked Juice Green Machine (15 oz): 270 calories, 63 g of carbs (55 g of sugar)

Look at those two things above: one is a can of cola that you know is bad for you, the other is marketed as a “healthy beverage.”

They’re both terrible for you!

Don’t fall for the hype: read the label, and break free of the Matrix!

Learn about the food you’re eating. You’re an adult, you can take 3 minutes and Google it.

Once you know the composition of your meals, you can start to make subtle adjustments or change quantities over time as you start to approach a healthier weight.

Be okay with “good enough” to start, and get more accurate as time goes on.

What’s that? You don’t know how to eat healthy? I got you, boo: “A beginner’s guide to healthy eating.

For each food, learn the following:

  • Total calories
  • Serving size
  • Fat
  • Protein
  • Carbs (especially sugar)

Don’t overthink this: Write down what you eat every day for a week. If your weight isn’t changing, adjust down total calories and minimize sugar consumption and see how your weight changes.

Make small adjustments over time and see how your body responds.

Speaking of goals…

5. use Blueprints and Blocks to Create Goals.

Perpetually unhealthy people say things like “I’m going to exercise more this year!”

Goals like this are cloudy with no real markers of success.

With no beacon guiding them, perpetually unhealthy people don’t know if they’re on track, and there’s no accountability if they don’t succeed. These goals get tossed in the abandoned pile next to goals like “I’m gonna start flossing!”

Compare this to what you’re going to do in 2018:

  • Pick a reachable blueprint to follow: an outcome-based goal.
  • Place the blocks to build that blueprint: a habit-based goal.

Let’s see this in action: “I want to lose X amount of weight by X date.”

With a very specific goal and a specific timeline, we can work backwards to calculate how much weight we need to lose each week to build that blueprint: our target weight.

Once you know where you want to be a year from now – you can then just focus on what you need to do TODAY.

Want to lose 50 pounds by the end of the year?

That’s one pound per week. And that can happen by making a single change today and every day moving forward.

Focusing on the habit (“today I’m going to drink only one soda instead of 3, and have one vegetable”) allows you to not get overwhelmed at the big picture.

In Minecraft terms, once you have the blueprints for a replica of Rivendell from Lord of the Rings, all you have to focus on is placing the next block in the right place. And then repeat!

Eventually, you’ll have Rivendell:

Here’s a real-life example of this block-placing mentality:

“My goal is to reach my goal weight of 150 pounds by December 1st, 2018, so I will eat one vegetable every day, and I will strength train for 30 minutes, two days per week. On other days, I’ll go for a 10 minute walk.”

What happens when you do this: you stop worrying about the outcome, and instead JUST focus on the habit you have to do today.

It allows you to very easily answer the question: “Yes I placed the block” or “no I did not place the block.”

  • You either ate a vegetable today or you didn’t.
  • You either exercised for 30 minutes today or you didn’t.

Make sure you are picking a blueprint that you can build (it’s not overly optimistic), and keep things simple. A target weight loss goal of 1 pound per week is reasonable and sustainable. Remember that the focus should be on SUSTAINABLE progress – not “progress at any cost.”

Once you start reaching goals you can create more complex plans.

Or in fantasy terms, after you finally slay the dragon, go find a bigger one!

6. You don’t HAVE to exercise, You GET to exercise.

Unhealthy people treat exercise as a miserable means to an end: “I’ll exercise until I reach my goal weight and then I can stop this exercise stuff and go back to what I was doing before.”

Temporary changes, miserable strategy, temporary results… sound familiar?

They run on a treadmill because they think they should, but they hate it, and they never want to go back. Or they get dragged to a class with a friend and the class ruins fitness for them.

They do their best to build the habit, but they’re so unhappy and unexcited about the exercise that the habit never sticks.

Look, here’s the truth: “exercise” sucks.

So you’re going to stop doing “exercise.”

I’ve heard from Nerd Fitness Academy members time and time again: “I can’t believe it, but I actually look forward to exercising now. How did THAT happen?”

What’s going on here?

Because nutrition is 90% of the battle, building a habit of exercise and movement is more important than what specific type of exercise you choose:

Whatever gets you off your ass and out the door. If there’s a type of exercise they HATE…don’t do it.

You don’t have to exercise in a way that you hate.

Pick the kind of exercise that makes you come alive. Don’t have that form of exercise yet? Try new things!

Especially the stuff that doesn’t feel like exercise.

Nutrition is 90% of the battle, so the exercise can be something that you enjoy, that reminds you to make better food choices so your efforts don’t go to waste.

Desperate to lose weight faster? In addition to fixing your nutrition, try temptation bundling to get you to go to the gym.

Have a specific physique in mind (six pack, toned arms, a better butt, broader chest, etc.)? Build the body you want and get hooked on improvement: “I can’t wait to go to the gym and find out how much stronger I got today compared to last week.”

You are a video game character increasing your strength attribute with each training session.

7. They invest in their health like a 401(k).

When it comes down to our health, we can invest in three ways:

  • Our Time
  • Our Effort
  • Our Money

Healthy habit-building badasses know this and prioritize accordingly: they know investing in their health is the best decision they can make. So they decide what’s the correct balance of time, effort, and money to use for that investment.

 

Your health is an investment just like your net worth:

  • If you want to devote your effort and time to building your own workouts, crafting your own meal plans, and keeping yourself accountable, that’s awesome. I did this for myself for years.
  • You might decide to outsource your programming to a coach, recruit an accountability partner, or buy into a program that creates your workouts and nutrition for you.

Either way, this is a months or years-long process that requires discipline! Every day you get a tiny bit better compounds upon the day before and builds you a big nestegg (read: a great physique) that will keep you wealthy (read: healthy) for decades and decades.

We’ve had thousands of people who read all the free content on Nerd Fitness for years with no results, because they never invested in themselves.

However the second they finally invested in The Nerd Fitness Academy or joined Rising Heroes (our monthly habit building adventure) or hired a 1-on-1 coach, they took action and lost weight within months.

Why?

Because we VALUE what we pay for and invest in, making us more likely to actually do the damn thing. And we don’t value what we get for free or take for granted.

Unhealthy people don’t look at all of this stuff rationally – they complain about spending 99 cents on an iPhone app that could dramatically improve the quality of their life, and then gladly spend $6 on a sugary Starbucks beverage each morning without a second thought.

People email me all the time asking “Why should I pay for a course when there is free information online.” Welp, there has been free information online for decades – has it gotten you in shape yet? Maybe there’s a point to investing in yourself!

Your money, your time, and your effort are all limited resources: how you choose to spend each of them tells me a lot about your priorities.

Personally, I gladly pay hundreds of dollars every month for my own online fitness coach.

Many probably think I’m crazy and that this is a waste of money (“just do your own workouts!”), but I feel that it’s the best money I spend every month, and it’s why I’ve prioritized it over other expenses.

I’m not just paying for a workout plan in an excel document.

I am paying for accountability from somebody who is checking in on me, expertise from a trained professional who can spot my weaknesses, and the knowledge that I’ll actually do the workout because I’m spending my hard-earned money on it.

And it got me the results that had eluded me for a decade.

It’s not what you say is a priority, it’s what you spend your time or money on that’s a priority.

Prioritize your money and time on the best stuff, even at the expense of other creature comforts, and you’re more likely to get in shape because you’ll actually care about it.

Answer these questions:

How much money do you spend on your health?

How much time and effort do you devote to creating your workouts or fine-tuning your nutrition?

Have you ever hired a coach or paid for an online course

Do you buy apps or software that make your life easier, or do you try to get by with free stuff that you know you won’t actually use?

Sometimes spending money is the best investment you can make in yourself – because you KNOW that the free option is something you won’t stick with! 

  • Although you have a free gym in your apartment complex, pay money to join a gym near work with fitness classes, because you hate working out alone and if you know people are counting on you to show up.
  • Pre-pay for 20 trainer sessions – if you’ve already paid for it and scheduled the workouts, you’ll actually GO.
  • On vacation and afraid you’ll backslide on all habits? Pay $20-30 to just go to a gym for one hour on vacation. Expensive? Not when you compare it to the weeks spent after the vacation trying to get back on track.
  • Decide what to sacrifice. It might mean you have to skip movies out or cancel your cable to prioritize a healthy meal service or buy more cookbooks so you never get bored with cooking new healthy meals.

Start thinking about this from a different perspective:

You’re not buying a fitness course or a trainer or an overpriced salad (that you would never make for yourself anyways).

You’re not just hiring a coach that prescribes you a workout that you could have found for free on the internet.

You’re investing in your future and purchasing accountability and expertise and momentum.

And NEVER underestimate momentum.

8. Go All In On Momentum.

Remember that Isaac Newton guy?

“An object at rest tends to stay at rest, and an object in motion tends to stay in motion, unless acted on by another force.”

This is called “inertia,” and nothing could be more applicable when it comes to your health.

Unhealthy people have a LOT of inertia to overcome when they are trying to build healthy habits and get in shape:

Their body is used to sitting on a couch and eating junk food, which means the habit of exercise is agonizing. They have to convince themselves to get off the couch and go out into the wilderness. Eating vegetables and healthy food sucks compared to their normal comfort food.

But they use max effort to do these things a few times, and momentum starts to shift away from unhealthy and towards healthy.

And that’s when things fall apart.

Their kid gets sick or they work late and they miss a workout. Not the end of the world, right? But then it snows the next day, and one missed workout day becomes two, which becomes a month in the blink of an eye.

And shit, they’re back to square one.

We are going to focus instead on cultivating and protecting  your momentum. Invest their time and money in momentum-building or momentum-protecting products or services.

Shit happens. Travel. Vacation. Kids. Work. Life.

So they focus on doing whatever they can to build momentum quickly and maintain it.

Perpetual health doesn’t happen in days, or with a few decisions. It takes months (or more likely, years) of consistent effort.

It’s more than just “missing a workout.” It’s killing your momentum, and momentum is crucial to long term healthiness.

Momentum is crucial to being perpetually healthy, so protect it with your life.

So, focus on momentum until their default behavior is healthy and they can go on autopilot:

  • Exercise 4 days per week without fail. Yes, even on vacation. Yup, even if it’s only push-ups for 5 minutes.
  • Go for a morning walk every single day, even when it’s snowing.
  • Schedule workouts for early Saturday morning with a trainer so they know they can’t drink like a fish on Friday night.
  • Put your workouts in your calendar. Have your friend give $50 of your money to a cause you hate every time you miss a workout.

Because momentum.

Which means you should be following my favorite rule: never miss two in a row.

Two missed workouts quickly becomes 30 in the blink of an eye. Two bad meals quickly becomes a week of pizza and Chinese food.

Live by the “never two in a row,” and build momentum with daily goals.

9. know Your Kryptonite.

I want to share an important quote from the late, great physicist Richard Feynman:

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool.”

Unhealthy people might be aware of their Kryptonite, but they just hope and pray they have enough willpower to overcome it every day.

They eat a single Oreo, and then spend an hour thinking about cookies until they go eat a whole sleeve of Oreo cookies and then berate themselves for not having more willpower to avoid the temptation.

The truth is that we are all flawed superheroes.

Unhealthy people try to fix their flaws through sheer willpower and then feel deep shame when they can’t stop their behavior.

Permanently healthy people recognize their Kryptonite, and have a plan to avoid or protect against it:

If they know grains make them unhappy and bloated, they follow a Paleo diet and remove those foods completely so there’s no attempt to only eat half a serving of something.

If they know they struggle with portion control, then maybe they try skipping a meal with Intermittent Fasting.

They also ask the questions that get to the heart of their Kryptonite with regards to weight gain:

  • Maybe they eat when they’re bored.
  • Maybe they eat when they’re upset.
  • Maybe they eat when they’re nervous.
  • Maybe they eat when they’re watching TV.

They KNOW these things about themselves, and they know unhealthy food has been designed to be addictive.

So they plan for it!

Know thyself, my dear friend, and know what your triggers are.

We’re all flawed; plan for your flaws instead of trying to fight them. These triggers can be environmental or situational or emotional. Know it will happen, and build a Kryptonite-proof plan so you don’t have to worry about avoiding it.

Stop relying on motivation and willpower to tackle your Kryptonite.

Add accountability, punishments, and rewards into your life to stay on track and avoid your Kryptonite:

  • Check in with someone everyday to make sure they ate their vegetables.
  • Instruct your friend to donate your $50 to a politician you hate if you miss a workout check-in.
  • Reward yourself with new running shoes (a reward that rewards you back with more momentum) if you complete 20 runs in a single month.
  • Don’t go to certain bars or make sure you eat before going to a party, because you KNOW you’ll make a bad decision once you get there.
  • Build your batcave (your environment) so it’s tougher to make unhealthy decisions and easier to make healthy ones.
  • Don’t go out to dinner at unhealthy restaurants, and schedule early workouts on Saturdays so you won’t drink yourself silly on Friday.

You don’t need to be flawless. You don’t need a perfect plan. What you do need is to have an honest conversation with yourself about things you need to avoid while you’re trying to make healthier choices.

That might be certain restaurants, certain aisles of the supermarket, or even certain people….

10. Your are surrounded by supporters, not anchors

You are the average of the 5 people you associate most with.

Are they banana peels?

Or are they Lakitus?

Banana peels need no introduction: drive over one in Mario Kart and they’ll ruin a perfectly good race by crushing all of your momentum.

Compare that to Lakitu. If you’re not familiar, he’s the little guy on the cloud in mario Kart that picks you up when you fall off the track and puts you back on course.

Unhealthy people get spun out all the time by the banana peels in their lives:

  • “What do you mean you don’t want to eat my lasagna anymore? You love my cooking.”
  • “Everybody is coming over to play D&D and eat pizza, you can’t miss this.”
  • “You don’t need to lose weight. You look fine. Live a little. Come on.”

Questions and comments like these subtly influence our behavior every day. Which is how you end up looking like and acting like the 5 people you associate most with. 

Compare this to Lakitus: the people who want you to succeed, who hold you accountable and make you want to be better.

I recently asked our private men’s community from the Nerd Fitness Academy what the group meant to them.

This response jumped out at me:

You need to be surrounded by people that pick you up, not slow you down.

Healthy people know this, and they make the hard decisions about who is worthy of their time and attention.

They often fire their unhealthy friends and family – even if only temporarily – because they can’t be around negative influence as they’re trying to build momentum.

I’ve heard of tons of stories where unhealthy relationships have ended because a newly healthy individual was dating an unhealthy person who didn’t want them to be healthy and was actively sabotaging them.

Why does this happen? Because it’s often easier to drag other people down than it is to look honestly in the mirror and address one’s shortcomings or unhealthy. 

If you are trying to get healthy, minimize your time around banana peels and MAXIMIZE your time with Lakitus.

You are influenced dramatically by the people around you whether you realize it or not. How are these people influencing you?

Take exercise:

  • Banana Peel: You want to exercise, but your friends are mad at you for skipping a Destiny 2 or World of Warcraft raid… you’re going to skip the workout.
  • Lakitu: You want to exercise, and your friends are at the gym counting on you for a team workout… you’re gonna get your ass to the gym!

Food:

  • Banana Peel: You are out to dinner with friends and they order lasagna, chicken fingers and fries, a large pizza, and enchiladas. You’ll likely order junk food to fit in, rather than order a salad and endure their scorn.
  • Lakitu: You are at a healthy restaurant and all 4 people order salads before you order – I’d bet $1000 you’re going to order something healthy too.

Mental health:

  • Banana Peel: You have 5 friends who never talk about anything serious: how are you supposed to tell them about your depression medication or that you’re thinking about going to see a therapist?
  • Lakitu: You have 5 friends who are not only accepting of your flaws, but share theirs too and have advice for you.

Decide who is worthy of your attention, and work on putting yourself in situations with people who make you want to be better.

This might mean a serious conversation with your significant other that “likes you more full-figured” if your goal is to be healthier and happier.

Or diving deep into deflection strategies if you have to constantly deal with unhealthy family members you can’t fire.

If they are worth your time, they will change their tune to be more supportive and helpful and less of an anchor.

And then start spending time around people who are stronger, healthier, happier, and more successful than you. And do what they do.

  • Use 20 seconds of courage to strike up a conversation with someone at the gym on how to do a certain exercise, and make plans to train together the next day.
  • Join a running club at work, or start a running club if one doesn’t exist yet.
  • If you don’t have people in real life cheering them on, find an online group that pushes them to be better.

How is 2018 Going to Be Different?

Phew! Okay, let’s see how many of these you can actually check off:

  • I have a Growth Mindset
  • I know my Big Why
  • I don’t go on diets. I adjust my nutrition.
  • I know what my food is made of.
  • I have blueprints and blocks.
  • I don’t have to exercise; I GET to.
  • I invest in my health like a 401(k).
  • I go all in on momentum.
  • I know my Kryptonite.
  • I seek out Lakitus, not banana peels.

Give yourself a score, and let me know which ones are the toughest for you to follow through on.

If you checked 6 or fewer boxes, pick ONE of the habits and work on it for the next month. Internalize it. Make it part of your new identity. And then move onto the next one.

You’re overcoming inertia and building momentum!

And NEVER underestimate momentum.

Agree with the list? Disagree?

Did I leave one off?

Leave that in the comments too!

Also, congratulations, you just finished the longest article in the history of Nerd Fitness – give yourself a high five.

-Steve

PS: If you are somebody that is interested in investing in their health right now, these are the three paths available to this community:

  • Join the Nerd Fitness Academy – a one time fee for lifetime access. Follow the workout plans, adjust your mental attitude, follow our 10 level diet system and have a private community to support you.
  • Hire a Nerd Fitness Coach expert accountability, Yoda-like guidance, and handcrafted workout and nutrition plans based on your specific life situation.
  • Check out Rising Heroes our monthly team-based story driven adventure. Get new real-world missions each week that make you healthier and help us take down a sinister shadow organization.

If you are looking to invest in yourself, I hope to see you in one of these programs!

photo credit: Reiterlied Rex across the fields, Meeting Star Lord and Baby Groot, benjaminreay Big question mark, Mark Bonica Paleo Diet – Day 14, clement127 Chicken factory, post-apocalyptic research institute 3mm model, sualk61 Hamster wheel, evoo73 balance, hjl Kryptonite on Blue, Reiterlied Biking on the Lake

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  • Tyson Brown

    and the most important, focus on the basics, there’s nothing new in 2018 that didn’t work 20 years ago. Great post Steve!

  • I love this post and the advice is great for those just getting started or those who have a lot of weight to lose. My problem is that I’m already 80% there: I eat well most of the time, almost always cook at home, don’t drink sodas ever, have been trying to limit my alcohol drinking too (damn that yummy beer!), work out 2-3 days a week, including 2 days of kung fu training every week, have tried IF and try to do 1-2 12-hour fasts per week, and am working on developing a solid meditation habit.

    So while I know what I need to do and have been decent about getting it done, I haven’t seen my weight change at all in the past year, and while I’m definitely healthy, now I’m trying to lose that extra 10-15 pounds I’ve gained since my 20s and look more toned and better, with no avail. I would love to see a post for those of us who are generally in a good place but have plateaued – what’s the next step? Where do you find the motivation to keep going and getting better over 5-10 years, rather than just the next few months? How do you maintain the gains you’ve made and keep working on improving when the gains are almost invisible after a certain point?

  • Awkward Penguin

    I have checked 4 things off of the list 4/10 is honestly better than I thought I would be currently.
    (Knowing my big Why, I don’t go on diets. I adjust my nutrition, I know what my food is made of, & I know my Kryptonite)
    I just set my blocks (goals with an action plan) I gone from 270 last year to 244 January 6th… but I was down as low as 227.
    Consistency is my biggest downfall currently.

  • Personally, I have found that having goals that are “stretch goals” with smaller milestones along the way really helps. As Steven Covey wrote in “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”: Begin with the end in mind. If you know what you are trying to accomplish, it makes it easier to determine what steps are needed to get there.

    In my example, as you may be able to tell from my profile picture, my biggest fitness related hobby is obstacle course racing (OCR) e.g. Spartan Race, Tough Mudder, and the like. I ran my first event in 2015 (the Spartan Sprint, which is about 5 km and 20-24 obstacles), and my little goal was just to finish. From there, my goals have increased:
    2016 I had the goal of completing a Spartan Trifecta: complete at least one of each of their lengths (Sprint, Super (6-10 miles, 25-29 obstacles), and Beast (13+ Miles, 30+ obstacles))
    2017: Double Trifecta (at least 2 of each length), and qualifying for the OCR World Championships in my age group (missed it by two spots at one of my events, but happy I came as close as I did)
    2018 Goals: Still looking to qualify for OCR Worlds, and completing an Ultra Beast (2 laps of a Beast course) or the like.

  • The last one is my biggest challenge. I feel like there are a lot of people in my life that act more like banana peels and less like Lakitus.

  • John Smith

    Found this site by happen stance and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to 2018 and investing more in myself and losing the extra weight. I’m 220 5’7 and need to be about 185. With focus, determination and goals I’ll get there. Much appreciated the information very good to have.

  • Thanks for sharing such a wonderful blog post. Most of the people always create long term goals to loose weight and they always fail to do that. Creating short term goals always best.

  • Suzanne Eldar

    Excellent article, very thought provoking

  • This was really helpful.