The new year is on the horizon and with it, a multitude of resolutions will be set and started with all the enthusiasm of a children's tv presenter.
But... How long will it last?
When things don't quite turn out as you'd planned; maybe you miss a few gym sessions, or a night out derails the next week, who do you point the finger at?
Usually blame is attached to everything but ourselves.
How often do you find yourself saying...
"I've had a busy, stressful day today so I'll leave gym tonight and go later in the week"
Of course, we've all been there and we all know that it's a pattern that quickly escalates
"One takeaway won't hurt"
Four times a week
So... what can we do about it?
Keep it simple
Each of us is guilty of over-complicating life.
I guarantee that if there's a harder, more complicated and less efficient way of doing something, I will find it and I will do it until I learn otherwise.
Information overload is very real and in today's Instagram age, very dangerous.
It's easy to find the latest 'special' fad and follow it down a vast rabbit hole in search of fast progress.
Find a reputable source of information.
If your goal is to lose weight, find a local personal trainer with a reputation for helping his clients achieve their goals.
You should expect them to explain and teach you the most efficient way to reach your goal.
Stick to a plan
Like anything, a goal can be broken down into a new set of skills that you need to learn and practice consistently.
It's not enough to set a goal and not have a process to follow to get there. Ultimately, it's the process and new skills that make the difference.
In terms of fat loss, your goal may be to reach a certain dress size. Your plan may include creating a daily calorie deficit, doing a minimum of 10,000 steps a day and following a strength training programme.
Each of these activities will require you to learn a new skill and incorporate it into your plan.
For example, creating a calorie deficit will first require you to understand energy balance.
Accountability is key when working towards a goal.
Motivation is a fleeting feeling which we all know passes, very quickly in some cases.
Once motivation has gone and it's only you holding yourself accountable, it becomes all too easy to make excuses and not do what you know you should do.
The single best tactic for achieving our goals is to buddy up with someone who can hold you accountable when the going gets tough.
This might be a friend or family member, or someone who is further along the process than you.
It could involve updating people on social media. Or it could include hiring a personal trainer to coach you and hold you accountable throughout the process.
Never make excuses
Whatever your goal, at some point success will lie outside of your comfort zone.
And when the going gets tough, that little voice in your head will be coming up with every excuse you can imagine.
Do not give in to it.
Successful people do not make excuses for anything or anyone.
We all make mistakes. We all have wobbles.
Most people attempt to justify their behaviour through excuses.
The secret is to own it, learn from it, and not make the same mistake twice.
Spend some time thinking about all of the excuses you tell yourself and write them down.
And then in a separate column, write down an alternative way to own that scenario.
For example, "I don't have time to cook" could become "instead of watching episode of 403 of xyz drama, I'll spend 1-hour batch cooking this weeks evening meals so when I get in after a long day at work, I won't be tempted to reach for the fast-food menus".
Consistency wins, always
Identify your goal.
Set a plan.
Follow the process and repeat every day.
Consistency is the key to success.
Once you know what your essential daily tasks are, the more days that you tick off each one, the quicker you will reach your goal.
I find that creating a habit list that includes my daily priorities keeps me focussed.
For each day that I tick off, I create a streak that over time I don't want to break.
Whatever your goal is, break it down into smaller habits and do them every day.
A sustained, daily calorie deficit over 6 months will change your physique beyond recognition but it all starts with one day, one tick on the daily task list.
Ben Yates is a personal trainer based at Places Gym Hinckley and Hinckley Leisure Centre in Leicestershire.
To book your free personal training consultation click here