Extraordinary results are born of extraordinary actions.

The Empower book basket in the change room contains no less than three books on military tactics and strategy: The Art of War, The Book of Five Rings and Lure the Tiger From the Mountains.  One day I’d like to add The Hagakure to our collection.

I wish everyone would study these.  I would argue that they are essential reading for anyone who has goals.  Whether your goals are personal, athletic or professional you will find that the tactics and stratagems contained in these pages transcend warfare and can be applied directly to the challenges you face every day.  Challenges may present as competitors, rivals or simply the obstacles life puts in the way of you accomplishing your goals.  The stratagems that survived to be written down and passed on to us are not merely theories; they have been employed for countless generations before anyone had invented writing.  They’ve been tested in the crucible of time with the rise and fall of individuals, families, tribes, nations and civilizations in the balance.  Entire civilizations collapsed so that these learnings could be passed on to you.

My favourite holiday season stratagem is known as Stealing a March.  This is when an army, rather than stopping to bivouac, eat and rest for the night as per ordinary practice, instead surprises their adversaries by marching hard through the night while their enemy is sleeping thus catching them unprepared and claiming the more desirable ground.  This tactic has been successfully employed time-after-time throughout history.

Ordinary people relax their efforts in December, the month of holidays.  They break from their fitness routine, get careless with their eating and go into full blown vacation mode promising themselves they’ll get back at it in January.  This is ordinary.  And ordinary people produce ordinary results.  No one will ever criticize you for being ordinary; they’ll excuse you with a shrug and say “It’s the holidays.”

But instead of letting the holidays become an obstacle to my fitness goal, I view them as a springboard.  While everyone else is slacking off and getting sloppy with the season, I am laying the foundation for a great leap forward in the New Year.  This doesn’t mean I’ll forego the holidays, I give myself license to indulge but instead of throwing my entire nutrition plan out the window, I strategically select my moments.  At the 12 Days of X-Mas, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, I’ll turn off my macro tracker and eat and drink to my heart’s content, free of guilt, knowing that the other days my nutrition will be as dialed in as ever.  A few indulgent days will not derail my progress.

No, I won’t be training extra during the holidays but I will keep on grinding through workouts at my normal rate, maintaining my current fitness and making small, incremental improvements as per usual.  I’ll be in the gym most every day besides scheduled rest days.  That means I’ll be there to workout Christmas Day and New Year’s Day too.  The gym will be open if you want to come join me (but you better register early because it is often full with holiday regulars such as Jet & Mufasa, Shine & Doc Disc, Super Mario & PomPom, Fierce and more).

While everyone else is relaxing through the holidays, I’ll be stealing a march.

If you’re a CanWest competitor, December is your opportunity to steal a march on other CrossFitters who are “taking a break” for the holidays.  Just be sure you don’t overdo it.  Your army cannot win if it arrives exhausted, burnt out or injured.  Instead think of December as a month of preparation to get you into a ready state to attack January training at full throttle.

If you’re not a competitor, think of December as a preparatory month to make you ready for your New Year’s goals.  Get yourself into a healthy, energized state so you can hit the ground running in January as you accelerate toward your fitness goals.

Ordinary people make resolutions.  I don’t trust resolutions.  You know as well as I do how ineffective they are at producing results.  Gyms are full the first few weeks of January but they don’t stay that way.  If you’re waiting for New Year’s to start that diet or begin your fitness training, you don’t really want it enough to stick with it.  You’re only fooling yourself.  If your goals mean anything to you, you won’t wait until next year, next week or even the next day, the only resolution that ever works is the one that you start NOW.

Ordinary people make plans to achieve their goals later.  Ordinary people get ordinary results.  Ordinary people accept the paradigm of creeping decrepitude giving up their health and fitness and body composition goals a little more each year.

Extraordinary people don’t wait for a date to start chasing their goals; they’re already chasing them now.  And every time they see an opportunity to steal a march and creep closer to their goals, while the rest of the world is slacking, they seize it!

December is here and holiday season is fast approaching, this is your chance to get after it.  You can make it your obstacle or you can use it as your springboard!  Use the holidays to steal a march and then charge forward with me into the new year!