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New you resolution

Imagine attempting to drive to Chicago with $20 dollars of gas in your tank and no road map. You probably wouldn’t get very far.

In fact, no one in their right mind would attempt such and endeavor. Yet many people will begin their annual fitness pilgrimage next month in much the same way – with no real game plan for success.

When I work with clients at South Yuba Club and Monster Gym who want to achieve significant results, especially with regard to weight loss and fitness, I always start the same way. We decide what she or he wants to achieve and specifically how we are going to achieve it. I’d like to share that approach with you.



I always begin with a “Goal Plan.” Write down three to five specific goals that you want to achieve over the next 12 weeks. Keep it to 12 weeks, otherwise the goals get too grandiose.

Once you achieve your 12-week goals, then you can set new goals.




Remember to set specific goals. To lose fat or build muscle are great goals, but not specific enough. To lose 15 pounds of fat or gain three pounds of muscle are specific.

Your goals don’t always have to relate to physical changes that you can see in the mirror.

For example, we have many members who choose to reduce or eliminate medications, to improve balance, to move pain free, or even just to follow through with a structured exercise program for 12 weeks.

By defining and stating your goals and setting a time line, you are creating a road map by bringing clarity and structure to your plan.

Once you’ve identified your goals, the next step is to determine why those goals are important to you. This is where the rubber meets the road. If you don’t have compelling reasons to achieve your stated goals then chances are you’ll lose motivation in the weeks ahead.

I ask my clients to come up with three reasons why their goals are important to them. Their first answer generally isn’t the “real reason” why they have chosen a certain goal.

To dig deeper, I ask “Why is your goal important?” When she or he answers the first “why” question, then ask “why” again.

I repeat this process until we have found the real reason behind the goal, which on average takes three “why” questions.

The final step in this process is to get a handle on any obstacles that might prevent you from achieving your goals.

Obstacles could be behaviors such as boredom and loss of motivation or issues such as lack of knowledge, time constraints or an unsupportive spouse.

Write down your three biggest obstacles. For each obstacle, come up with a possible solution.

For example: “I lose motivation a couple weeks into my program.” Possible solution: “I will complete a goal plan with a friend so we each have a clear road map of what we want to achieve. For accountability and support, we plan to workout together for 12 weeks.”

At this point, you don’t know if your current solution is the right solution. Don’t worry, it’s a good start. If after few weeks it’s not working, toss out that solution and pick a new one. Your plan should never be static but adapt weekly based on what is and isn’t working.

I recommend that my clients leave their “Goal Plan” on the bathroom vanity and read it each night and each morning. It should take no more than 60 second to skim. This will help to reinforce your plan and provides an easy opportunity to check in with yourself and to make any adjusts to keep your moving forward.

Mike Carville is a N.A.S.M. certified Personal Trainer and owner of South Yuba Club in Nevada City and Monster Gym in Grass Valley. He specializes in programming for new exercisers and weight loss. Mike is available for questions and speaking engagements. Reach him at mikec@southyubaclub.com.


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