After indulging on food and drink over the holidays, come January 1, many of us make resolutions to lose weight, get healthy, get in shape, or begin some other self-improvement activity. Our intentions are great, but how long do these resolutions usually last? A few weeks? Maybe a couple months if you’re lucky? Is your resolution even attainable? This year, make your New Year’s resolution work for you!
Why don’t New Year’s resolutions work?
Can you tell I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions? Here’s why. The idea of a resolution is certainly a great start—it’s great to be motivated! Resolutions are not bad by any means. The problem is that New Year’s resolutions are usually very generic or non-specific even if the intent behind them is good. A goal can usually serve you better because goals are typically much more specific and have an end target. So at the end of the day, you’re more likely to stick with a goal.
First of all, new years resolutions are not usually specific. “I’m gonna get in shape,” or “I’m gonna go to the gym more often,” may sound reasonable, and you legitimately get started on January 1. Where do you go from there? What is getting in shape? Is going to the gym once every two weeks more often? So when it’s February 8, and you are waffling between going to work out and sitting on the couch with a mug of hot chocolate, how do you decide what to do?
Ask yourself why
My point is, that having something specific to work towards can make all the difference in your success. Not just new years resolutions, but in anything. So rather that simply stating that you will go to the gym more, first off, ask yourself a few things? Why? Why do you want to go to the gym more often? Do like the way you feel after a yoga session? Do you want to eventually deadlift twice your body weight? Shave 30 seconds off of your run? Figuring out your why will give you a real reason to go to the gym, not just an general thought (resolution) that you can keep putting off.
Use when, how, why, who to break it down further
Depending on your goal, add a few more questions to your thought process like: when, how, or who. For example, if you want to reduce your 5K time by 30 seconds for a 5K that you’re running in 3 months (sign up for it now, by the way)! Use how to break it down even farther by implementing a new training technique. Maybe set mini goals of 10 seconds faster by Feb 1, and 20 seconds faster by March 15.
Nutrition goals can also be specific. For example, “I will eat leafy greens 5 times a week” is much easier to keep track of than the old “I will eat more veggies this year”. You can then plan your meals to specifically include leafy green five times a week! Done!
My Personal Fitness Goals for the New Year
I’m going for fitness goals this year. I feel that my health and nutrition is pretty good, but my fitness level has gone down a bit over the last two years due to some laziness and lack of motivation at the gym. This year instead of just saying I’m going to work out more, I have made specific fitness goals. For me, this year my goals are:
- Run a mile in less than 7 minutes. I’ve gotten close I the past (7:05), but that was about 2 years ago, and I have really been slacking when it comes to running. My plan is to work on speed once a week by doing some interval sprints on the treadmill. I will measure progress by timing myself for a mile once per month.
- Run a 5K in under 25 minutes. I have gotten close to this as well, but again, it’s been a couple of years. I don’t run much, but I like to compete against both myself and others, so this goal will serve a purpose for me. Working on my 7-minute mile will help with this one, but I plan to do some 2–3 mile jog/runs when the weather gets nicer to help with my endurance.
- I want to do a pull up. I really want to be physically stronger, but that is pretty arbitrary, so because a pull up requires a lot of upper body strength, making a goal to do a pull up will specifically addresses this. I haven’t done one since 8th grade, so this is going be tough! I plan to use a pull up assist machine or use an elastic band with a pull up bar until I progress enough to do the actual thing.
My goals are pretty specific, and being specific with your goals can help you be successful in achieving them. So the next time you say to yourself “I’m going to lose weight this year”, don’t forget to ask yourself why you want to lose weight. Make sure that your why is what you truly want for yourself. If you’ve come up with a really good why, then move on to the what, how, where, and who! Then break it down into measurable mini goals that all lead to your main goal!
A couple extra tips to help you stay on track
Write it/them down. Goals are much become much more real when we write them down. This also is also important for breaking you goals down into mini goals. Write down details and dates.
Tell someone about your goal(s). It’s easy to just keep goals to your self, but if you tell someone, it adds an extra layer of accountability.
Have a Healthy and Happy New Year!
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