Another year is coming to an end, and a new one is beginning. With that we all are looking for fresh starts. We start looking at our past twelve months, or maybe just the past six weeks, and summarize ourselves. Are we happy with what we have accomplished this year? Are we proud of our improvements these past twelve months? Others look at January as a time for a fresh start and begin to start making those <insert dramatic music here> RESOLUTIONS!!!!!
I personally despise this word!
Whenever I speak with my students or any clients that I train, I ask them to refrain from using the word “resolution” or even worse making New Year’s resolutions. Instead I encourage them to make goals. I have a saying, “Resolutions are made to be broken, goals are set to be met.”
Resolutions are typically spat out like a child’s Christmas wish list. I hear them in my profession and it is almost like a bucket list and less like a realistic, achievable list a person can attain in a year’s time. By the next week, if I were to ask the same client their list, items would be missing from that list. Were they less important? Did that client forget them? Or was the list not well thought out?
In the fitness industry you see a trend every January. Clubs, classes and studios are full in January because all of the “New Year’s resoluntioners” are in the gym attempting to lose weight. This lasts approximately six weeks. Is it because people are lazy? Absolutely not!! Let me say it again. ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!!
The individuals packing into the gym on January 2nd, but missing March 1st, are not lazy. Most of them have made resolutions to get healthy and lose weight with the best intentions; however, they have not set goals. Setting goals creates success. What’s the difference between goals and resolutions? Being S.M.A.R.T.
Successful goals are S.M.A.R.T. To say, “I want to get healthy” is too vague and does not set yourself up for success. Let’s turn this goal into a S.M.A.R.T. goal.
First, it must be SPECIFIC. We will turn that goal into “I want to lose weight (or inches), increase my muscle tone and lower my body fat percentage.” We have now added specifications to what “healthy” means to us.
Secondly, we now must be able to MEASURE our goals. How do you know where you are going, if you do not know where you have been? You can count the pounds lost. You can measure the size of your biceps, calves, quads, etc. Also, you calculate your body fat percentage. These are all measurable points. A plus of this goal setting step is that it allows you to see your progress during your fitness journey. You can set up mini-rewards for yourself (non-food related, of course) as you reach milestones towards your end goal.
Thirdly, your goal must be ATTAINABLE. Setting a goal of losing 25 pounds in 4 weeks, in neither realistic nor healthy. Working out 14 times a week for a month, also would not be a successful goal if you are just beginning your fitness journey. You want to set yourself up for success. Also, remember that your goals can be modified. If you find that you have incorporated three workouts a week and can add more, modify your goal. If you have met your weight loss goal and want to lose more weight, modify your goal. The point is, SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS NOT FAILURE!
Set a goal that is RELEVANT to YOU and nobody else but you! What does that mean? If you do not feel you need to lose weight, then that should not be your goal. Although this might be the time of year that it seems as though everyone is jumping on the weight loss bandwagon, that does not mean that everyone has the need to lose weight. You can work out and be healthy without losing weight. Maybe you can be an accountability partner for your friends that need some extra support. Your goal could be to clean up your eating. Decide where you are in your life and what is important to you RIGHT NOW and that should determine what your goals should be.
Lastly, your goal should be TIME-BOUND. This also means, time specific. Set a deadline on when you want to achieve your goal. Do you just set one deadline? I don’t. I set mini-deadlines. When I lost over 80 pounds, I had a monthly check-in. I also set mini-rewards every ten pounds (after the first five pounds). I set an alarm on my phone, like a meeting, to do my weigh in, measurements and body fat calculations. There are so many priorities in our lives; at work, at home, with our children, our partners. So many times we allow ourselves to be neglected. Our goals should be treated with the same priority. We are just as important as the important project at work. If you are working diligently on yourself daily, every few days, weekly; you will reach your deadline! Success will be yours! You will obtain the goals that you set for yourself.
I leave you with this question, what will you set this year: Resolutions or Goals.
Be safe out there this New Year’s Eve. Let’s have a fantastic 2016!!!