It starts with putting off the promise and the work. If it were easy having the perfect body, everyone would have it. But the truth is, while we can buy most things in life, a body to be proud of, forged in the gym and at the dinner table, cannot be bought. It must be earned. A tailor can make a suit to your exact specifications, for a price. And you can forge your body to look exactly as you want, for a price paid through consistent and imperfect action.
That’s right, I said “imperfect;” consistency yields better results than perfect performance. And so, the first step toward Resolving Resolutions is to look at things differently. Instead of training perfect, eating perfect, breathing perfect, living perfect, let’s take it meal by meal, rep by rep and day by day. Let’s do our personal best every day, laying down a solid brick. Just a brick a day.
Those bricks add up; one day there will be a house, your house—the body you built by taking imperfect action.
The next step is reinforcement, as in positive reinforcement. Whichever your dominant body type, Ectomorph, Endomorph or Mesomorph, find a picture of one whose body you wish to emulate, and keep it on your phone, on the fridge or anywhere that you might see it and remember that, hey, this is what I am working toward! It could even be a picture of you, at a time when you like how you looked. When I get myself ready for a book shoot, I look back at my previous photos with the goal of bettering myself.
Which leads to my next point. Focus on the image in the mirror. You have no control over the person on the station next to you with the bigger bench press. Or the guy lifting his shirt in front of the mirror with the six-pack abs. Or the girl with the full and perfectly round derrière. But you can build your own bigger bench. And showcase your own rippling midsection. And build a butt you can bounce a quarter off.
Being prepared by having a plan puts your intentions out into the universe and gives you something concrete to focus on. Without fail, every year I type up a list of my projected annual goals, print it out and hang it up with a magnet on my refrigerator door so that each and every day I am reminded of what I am going after. When I competed in bodybuilding, I wrote down my routines and target sets, or sets that were personal bests on my way to making gains and improving myself for the stage and, ultimately, for victory. Weights, reps and even food was recorded. I would update the entries on contest day itself to show what worked and what didn’t. Write it down. It’s worth the extra few minutes of investment that it takes to yield a progressive and constructive plan over time.
Have an arsenal of methods of advancement. What does that mean? It means what with so many tools easily accessible to chart your progress each day, it’s a disservice not to enlist them. When it comes to achieving your goals and resolutions, and keeping them, winging it simply does not work. The scale, how your clothes fit, the mirror, photos and videos, all show real world progress that isn’t confusing the way real news and fake news can often be. It’s actually news, reports of how you’re improving over time. I used to set up the video camera in the same spot every week as I practiced my bodybuilding poses and it was really cool to fast forward as fat seemingly melted from my body and muscles bulged from everywhere. If only it were that easy!
A sound plan, in terms of architectural renderings, is one of your greatest assets in achieving your physique goals. Bought that new TV? Leased that new car? Picked up the latest smart phone? Surely you looked through the instructions to get the most from your experience. That’s where my books, Complete Physique and Outdoor Physique, have got you covered. No matter your sex, experience or current state of physical being, when you walk into the gym with Complete Physique, you’re accompanied by a friend, a friend that supports you, and a friend that’s been there and back. And if you don’t want to go to the gym, then Outdoor Physique is for you–do exercises anywhere, without the need for machines!
Planning ahead will lead to results. We all have the same 24-hour clock. The art of learning how to eat out in restaurants and the real world while supporting your goals (included in both my books) is certainly part of it. But it really doesn’t take much time to prepare healthy and fulfilling meals at home. You can microwave some yams or potatoes while grilling chicken breasts, tossing in frozen vegetables with the other two in Tupperware, and prepare in mere minutes, meals for the whole day. Protein powder can be scooped into shakers; raw nuts placed in baggies—the key is simple and effective.
By following these guidelines, you will not only achieve your physique goals, you will resolve your resolutions and overcome the often yo-yo, up and down win/lose scenario of achievement.
HOLLIS LANCE LIEBMAN has been a fitness magazine editor, national bodybuilding champion, and author. He is a published physique photographer and has served as a bodybuilding and fitness competition judge. Hollis has worked with some of Hollywood’s elite, earning rave reviews. His previous books include Peak Physique, Complete Physique and more. Visit hollisliebman.com for more information.