A new year means new beginnings. A fresh start. A chance to do away with bad habits and make new resolutions. We make these resolutions every year, but what are they really? And how can we make sure that we stick with them?
In it’s simplest form, a resolution is a decision. And with our New Year resolutions, they are decisions to make our minds, bodies, and spirits better for the year to come. But while that decision you make may be very concrete and defined, it is still just a determination that you have made to better yourself or the world around you. To truly help yourself follow through on your resolutions, try accompanying them with goals.
Goals can give you a purpose, and a way of marking your progress. With each resolution there is an underlying question… why?
So lets break it down. Why do you want to eat healthier? Why do you want to save more money? Why do you want to give up soda?
For some resolutions the answers are easy. Others may take more time, and more soul searching. But once you identify why you have made these decisions, then we can start to create goals.
Lets create three different types of goals. First, make a BIG goal. If your resolution is to go to the gym every day, having a goal like running a local 10k, making it through a big hike, taking up a new sport, losing a certain amount of weight, etc., can give you just the focus you need to make it through those days that you really don’t want to go to the gym. Your goal should make you smile every time you think about it.
Once you have set your big goal, the next step is to create several medium goals. How many you choose depends on the timeline of your BIG goal, but a good rule of thumb is to choose one for every month. Running is a great example. Your resolution might be to run five days a week this year. And lets say you decide to choose a BIG goal of running a marathon. One of the best ways to keep yourself motivated to make it to your marathon is to enter several shorter races leading up to the marathon. If you’re new to running, think about signing up for a local 5k in the next month or two. A little while after that, enter a 10k, then a half marathon, and finally your marathon. Having a race every month or two keeps you engaged in your training and gives you stepping stones to help get you to that end goal.
Finally lets set some short term goals. These should be weekly or daily depending on your resolution. They should be doable and progressive. A rule that we use in Fryer Performance Coaching is to have a goal to guide every training session. It can be as simple as keeping a positive attitude through the entire workout, or it can be a target weight goal in your lifting. Ticking off goals regularly keeps us engaged in our plans and helps keep us focused on the task at hand.
One great idea to keep these goals at the front of your mind is to create a goal journal. It can be digital or good ‘ol pen and paper. It just has to be something that you’ll look at on a daily basis. Write your BIG goals on the front page, so that you see it every time you open the journal. Decorate it, add photos, make it exciting! Put your medium goals next. Finally record all of your daily goals and check them off as you accomplish them. Writing goals down makes them more concrete. And having a place where you can look back at all that you have accomplished and how far you have come will be great inspiration to lift you up on those days where you feel like you have lost sight of the why.
So what are your resolutions this year? Lets break them down and make them happen in 2014!