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If you're like most people, you probably drafted up a long list of New Year's resolutions and goals a few weeks ago, and your motivation toward accomplishing them is currently at an all-time high. You assumed that when January 1 came along, you'd magically become iron-willed, more disciplined, and stuck to your goals like glue, right? Wrong.
Nothing special happens on the first of the year, except for the fact that you got to lay out a fresh, new calendar. If you don't make the necessary changes to your life to set you up for consistent success, you can basically count on failing.
If you want the best chance at success throughout this entire year, you need to perform a full audit on your current lifestyle, and decide whether all of your habits combined earn you the title of Spartan.
“To live the Spartan Way is not only to embrace the principles of a Spartan — grit, perseverance, commitment, integrity, honor — but also to engage in those principles,” Dr. Lara Pence, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist and Spartan's Chief Mind Doc, says. “It means that you are taking each obstacle as an opportunity, finding wisdom in your failures, and taking the next step every day — no matter how hard.”
It also means showing resilience in every aspect of your life, from how you eat to how you train to how you conduct your personal relationships. Audit your life in these six areas and, once you've done that heavy work of setting healthy habits, staying committed to your goals this year will seem easy.
Audit Your Life in These 6 Areas to Turn Any New Year's Resolution Into a Lifestyle
1. Eat With Purpose
“Our bodies are the vehicle through which our greatness is realized,” Pence says. “We have nothing if we don’t have our health. We cannot perform, execute, and overcome challenges if we are weak, malnourished, or foggy from poor food choices.
"You have to treat your body as the important, critical entity that it is. It is the boat on which we navigate the rough waters, so it better be strong.”
3 Key Nutritional Tips
1. Eat more plants. Fill your plate with things that come from the ground and trees, not from a box.
2. Don’t buy into the hype of “new products” like keto cereal or cauliflower pizza. Usually, this is just a marketing ploy to get you to think that you are eating healthy. Again, buy the produce and cook the meals.
3. Don’t stick to the three-meals-a-day thing all of the time. Intermittent fasting can have great benefits. Do it smart, be thoughtful, and listen to your body's needs — especially when training — but give it a try.
2. Train Like a Spartan
Training like a Spartan means living by the Spartan principles of grit, perseverance, and commitment, Pence explains.
“Spartans lace up their shoes in the rain when others head back to bed,” she says. “Spartans are the first in the gym, and they use the machines that no one else uses because they’re ‘too hard.’ When you train like a Spartan, you move away from what’s traditional and you do whatever it takes to get your physical needs met.
"You understand that you may not always be the best — the strongest, the fastest, and most agile — but you remain invested in growing. Your ego doesn’t take the hit because your desire to improve and challenge yourself is at the forefront.”
Not only are you consistent in your commitment, you’re also creative in your approach, she adds.
“You problem solve when you need to: Grab logs on the side of the street for weights, head to the playground to increase agility, pick the trail that isn’t so blazed from overuse," she says. "And you don’t make excuses for yourself. Period.”
3. Understand How to Efficiently Schedule Your Life
Most people complain that they are too busy to eat well, work out, and find time for self-care, but Spartans don’t let these obstacles stand in their way. Once again, it’s all about consistency and commitment, Pence says. If you can learn how to be consistent with your average, everyday maintenance, your other goals will fall in line.
“You go to bed early, you wake up early, and you put your phone on 'Do Not Disturb' so you can truly benefit from a good night’s sleep," Pence advises. "You create a routine around sleep because you understand that it is important to your mind and your body. You sacrifice ‘the party’ because you understand consequences and know that disrupting your routine at times is OK, but doing it regularly is not in your best interest.”
4. Learn How to Lead and Navigate Your Career
In your career, working like a Spartan means being willing to take risks.
“The comfortable path is the wrong one,” Pence explains. “If you're comfortable in your job, melting into the ease of the day to day and avoiding those tough conversations, you’re not where you should be.
"Money, comfort, and less stress cannot be the motivating factors. For growth to happen, you need to be challenged. You’ve got to put in the time, do the grunt work, and move up through perseverance. And most of all, you need to earn your success.”
5. Manage Your Mood
Creating a life that's conducive to sticking to your goals makes you more capable of managing your mood, because you’re more in tune with your emotions, Pence says. So, as you start to align your nutrition, training, sleep, and motivations, your mood will naturally stabilize.
“You must understand and recognize your mood in order to manage it,” she explains. “If you are a true Spartan, you aren’t afraid of the more painful emotions like disappointment, shame, and anger. You understand that they will pass, that all emotions change, and that they don’t control you.”
The better equipped you are to deal with the negative emotions also means you'll be less likely to be thrown off your rigid routine when they do arise.
Need help managing your mood? Try a five-minute meditation now.
6. Assess Your Personal Relationships
In your most sacred relationships, being a Spartan means being honest, supporting your partner, and having difficult conversations when you need to because it will make the relationship stronger.
“You care for your relationship and nourish your partner, doing what it takes to ensure that they are protected from the elements: distractions, work, and over-productivity," Pence says. "You are also aware of what values help keep the relationship at its healthiest.
"If adventure is a value, you go on adventures together. If laughter is a value, you do things that make you laugh. You focus on the partnership. Communication is also key, so you make sure that you are being honest with your words and about your emotions.”