Wow where has this year gone! I can’t believe it’s already March. I don’t know about you, but I feel like January and February were free trial months and now it’s really time to start 2018. I have not been on top of my goals for the year and I think it’s about time to get back into it. Let’s do it together! This is about the time everyone is giving up on their resolutions. So let’s talk about your resolutions and why they aren’t working for you.
I was in Lululemon a while back and saw this quote painted on their wall: “Goals are the New Resolutions.” It really got me thinking about all of the resolutions we all make at the the beginning of each year and why they fail time and time again. For me, I stopped making resolutions and started making real attainable goals for myself. Not just at the beginning of the year, but ones I could stick to throughout and hold myself to.
Everyone wants to use the new year as a jumping off point to start achieving goals they’ve been putting off since last new years day. Things like getting healthy, getting organized, living life to the fullest, spending less/saving more money and spending more time with family and friends are among the most common, cliché new years’ resolutions that no one seems to follow, according to Google.
The gyms are flooded with people for a couple months, then they start to dwindle down to the few who are actually committed to getting fit year after year. The “resolutioners” don’t stick around. The new year gives everyone a renewed sense of purpose, as if everything should be new in the new year. It just seems like the “perfect” time to start.
So how do we stick to these resolutions year-round? Here’s the secret: you don’t. Don’t make resolutions, make GOALS.
Maybe the reason no one keeps their resolutions is because they aren’t specific enough. What does “living life to the fullest” even mean? If you want to set goals for yourself, go back to the old method of setting goals we all learned in high school: S.M.A.R.T. goals (well at my high school at least..PLP anyone?).
When setting goals, you should make them
(George T. Doran)
Instead of saying, “I’m going to live life to the fullest this year,” ask yourself how exactly you can do that. This statement can mean a lot of different things to different people. This is exactly why most don’t follow through on the promises they made to themselves – they’re too vague.
As an example, I will break down one of the commonly used resolutions. Let’s use “going to the gym more often/at all.” This may be one of the more popular and most noticeable ones, especially to those who have already been gym goers.
Goal: Go to the gym (more)
- SpecificFirst, make your goal specific. To start going to the gym more, I will write myself a plan of what I’m going to do there and on what days.When I started my fitness journey again, I found the one thing that was really helpful was to watch fitness YouTubers. They have so many videos of workouts you can do, so you don’t feel so lost. Just load one up on your phone and refer to it throughout the workout.When you first start your journey to getting into fitness, you may just want to go a couple times per week, but then plan to go more within the coming weeks. Make a list of what you want to work on. There are so many styles of workouts (weight training, yoga, pilates, group fitness, distance cardio, HIIT, etc.), find one that makes you excited about going to the gym.
- MeasureTo measure this goal, keep a record of your visits to the gym. A fitness tracker (like an Apple Watch or FitBit) is a good way to measure how many calories you burned and it will keep a record of how many times you went to the gym.If that’s not an option, another good way to keep track is with a notebook or planner. Each day when I go to the gym I have certain weight training exercises I do. To track my progress I note the weight and how many reps and sets I’ve done. Then, next time, I won’t have to guess what weight I need because it’s all written down.For me, the scale isn’t a good measure of progress. Muscle weighs more than fat, so don’t pay attention to the number. Pay attention to results. Take pictures of yourself before you begin and then again when you’re further along your fitness journey. This is so important and a great way to SEE your results.At the end of the first month, if you didn’t go to the gym as much as you hoped, try adding just one more day each week. It’s hard at first, but you will notice it gets easier and more fun to go to the gym. You won’t regret it if you do, but you will if you don’t.If you don’t measure your progress, you won’t know if you are working toward your goal or against it.
- AttainableMake your goal attainable. For example, saying “I want to lose X amount of pounds,” or “I want to go to the gym every day,” are not attainable. Like I said before, the scale doesn’t measure results. Also, taking a rest day each week will be beneficial and necessary for health and recovery; over-working yourself will only hurt you.Take it slow at first. You are just starting and that in itself is the hardest part. Go 1-2 times the first week. Next week, bump it up to 2-3 times and so on. We are trying to turn this into a lifestyle and if you get burnt out the first month…well that’s where we lose the “resolutioners.” If you do too much, it can be miserable to break through the initial starting period. Remember that’s the worst part. If you can get through it, you can stick to it.
- RealisticMake the goal realistic for yourself and your means. Maybe it’s not realistic to join a gym. Sidewalks are free. Go for a walk or jog. Fit your workout into your work and life schedule. Shape your goal to suit you.
- Time-basedFinally, set a date you want to achieve this goal by. Or maybe a date to check your progress. Again, fitness is a lifestyle, so we’re hoping that by working towards this goal it becomes a part of your life.I once did a workout program at Farrell’s Extreme Bodyshaping and they set it up on a 10-week cycle. You can achieve a lot in 10 weeks if you stick to your goal. Check yourself at this point. Take new pictures, compare them and then reevaluate your goal. If you are unhappy with the result, alter your goal to achieve more. Maybe your legs look better, but your abs could use some work. Throw in some more ab sessions.Give yourself a reason to hit the gym more often, such as going on vacation, running a 10K or competing (if you’re into that). Having a reason to be fit may motivate you even more.
All of these steps can be applied to whichever goal you have. Setting vague goals for yourself almost always insures failure. No one wants to be a “resolutioner” and give up before you’ve even started. Keep going to the gym, say “yes” to things, keep your room/office clean and save more money all year long. New years’ resolutions don’t have to be new years’ resolutions, they can be real, long term goals.
Thank you so much for reading! Let me know what your 2018 goals are in the comments.
photos by Caitlin Manley
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