You read that right folks; I do not. I do not make New Year’s resolutions. While that may seem crazy, there’s a very good reason for it. Let’s get into it.
I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Nope, nope, nope. I also don’t run headfirst into a year without any sort of plan of action or direction. I think the small space of relaxing/down time between Christmas and New Year’s allows us to take a moment and reflect on our life. Pair that with the act of starting up a whole ‘nother year, yeah. Resolutions make sense.
There’s just something a touch wrong with the idea of New Year’s resolutions and it’s that we’re setting ourselves up for failure in several ways.
The first is that we don’t know what we’re doing. The second is we set our expectations too high. And the third is that we don’t understand how to work towards our resolutions.
Luckily for you all, you have me. Someone who sat through one too many “goal setting” classes (Honestly, why?).
First things first, scrap the term “resolution”. We’re setting goals. And we’re going to set several of them with one big one in mind. To set the stage for you, I have failed to meet a lot of goals but I’ve succeeded in many, many big ones and small ones. I know my personal patterns and I do know what works, at least a little bit.
I’m not just a 20-something talking from nothing.
First we take inventory. This is my most favorite thing to do with any goal. Fitness or otherwise, it’s important to sit down and take a look at yourself. Let’s say you want to run a half marathon or set a PR. Or you want to do the splits. Or you want to eat healthy at a certain amount of calories. Or you want to stop being depressed or angry.
You have to look at where you are currently and write it down. What’s your mile time? How long can you run without stopping? How far can you run? How far can you stretch? Where are your weak spots and strong spots?What do you currently eat? What are you habits? What negativity in your life is there, where can you get help? How can you help yourself?
So we have a starting point to work from. And something to measure ourselves to.
Second is we ask, How can I be consistent? If we’re being real, consistency is the key to success. Just getting out there and working towards your goal is the most important part.
Now we get into actual SMART goal setting.
I’ve included a link for you guys to check out because it’ll go a little more in-depth than I will but this format is just a way to help you out when you’re setting a goal. The problem with New Year’s resolutions is that we go “I wanna lose weight!” or “I want a six pack” or “I want to run a marathon” and we aren’t doing any of the legwork required to help ourselves get there.
Our solution? Uh…I’ll go to the gym and eat salads, I guess.
The “S” is specific. Make your goal specific and think about the specifics. As the article states, this is pretty much your mission statement. It’s setting up your entire goal. The two that I think are most important in this umbrella is “what” and “why”.
What are you trying to accomplish? Really, it seems like it’s obvious. “I’m trying to get a six pack” turns into “I want to feel confident in my body by working hard, losing fat, losing weight, and getting a sick pack”. It’s an important difference.
The “why” is almost more important because it’s your driving factor. I like to break down why’s into two sections: for me and for others. Why am I doing this for me? Why am I doing this for others? You know, a six pack looks good to other people too.
Then we have the “M” for measurable. This is where looking at where you were is so important. If we don’t have that written down, it’s easy to forget. You have to have something to compare your results with at the end.
“A” achievable…or can you do this? This is just fancy talk for, “Are you going too crazy?” We have our limits. If we’re six hundred pounds and never run a day in our life, expecting to do a marathon might be a little too much. We don’t want to set ourselves up for failure, we really don’t. If you are really set on something, think about the other goals you’ll need to make to reach your big one. (More on that in a minute)
The “R” is for relevant and I skip this one. I don’t feel like life goals need to be relevant. You can just want to achieve them.
“T” time-bound. What is your deadline? Bounce back to the “A”. Can you do it in that time frame? What will be your middle points, half-way mark? Don’t be afraid to shift the timeline.
So that’s the basic format, looks like this.
Based on my measurements and pictures, by August 10th of 2019, I will have a visible six pack so that I can feel confident in my body and so that I will have lost fat, weight, and develop a habit of hard work and exercise. I’ll do this by following the attached exercise and diet plan.
Or something like that.
Now, let’s talk about baby goals. When we set up New Year’s resolutions we’re generally setting up long-term goals. And even if we use the right format, it’s going to be extremely hard to stick to it if we don’t have smaller goals along the way we are working towards. The big goals are just too big.
So set up mini goals. When I was working towards a half marathon, I had a bunch. Consistency related goals (running 5 times a week), time related goals (an hour non stop), distance related goals (20 miles a week), all that jazz. Keeping small goals as the one I was working towards with a date in mind, helped.
By the time I saw my 13.1 day come, I was ready. Mentally and emotionally. And I didn’t burnout. I took a few days off and was right back on it. No issue. That’s healthy. And that’s what we’re going for.
So no, I don’t set New Year’s resolutions. But I do set goals. And they don’t depend on a new year but it is a convenient time to get cracking on them.
My final suggestion is to get yourself a good planner. Get yourself in the habit of making small weekly/monthly goals like doing the dishes every day, staying on top of laundry/house cleaning, making sure you take 15 minutes to relax every day. Little goals you can fail at and succeed at because getting good at accomplishing goals means practicing them.
Good luck to everyone setting goals for 2019. If you fail, you can start again before December 31st, 2019. You can even adjust your schedule. When I initially wanted to run those 13.1 miles versus when I actually did was a difference of 5 months because of injury and plain not knowing what I was getting myself into.
It’s okay to realize, “Whoops, this is more work than I thought”. Sit down, take a few minutes and plan it out again, set a new time frame. Recognize too that it will not be easy. You will need the strength of mind to be determined and push yourself through days where you don’t want to do anything at all.
As you head into the new year remember this: