Our resolutions may be big or small, vague or deeply personal, but they all share one common fault: Without commitment and accountability they are just empty wishes, vanishing into the air. How are some people so successful in achieving their goals, while others never make it beyond posting their resolutions to Facebook?
So while there is absolutely nothing wrong with making a New Year's Resolution, I want to help you re-think how you approach your goals. Because it's not enough to just say "I want to _____ in 2015," you need a plan with concrete steps to follow and complete at pre-determined intervals. It is the same approach I encourage clients to take when beginning or making a change to their workout routines, and can be implemented any time of year.
- Start with the End Game. I will use the common resolution of losing weight. Let's say that it is 20 pounds, and has been approved by your physician. At the bottom of your page, write that goal, but don't put a number in front of it. For some people, achieving that resolution may just be a 5-step process, while others will require 10 or 15 steps. It is the process that will deliver you to your product - your personal end result.
- Brainstorm. On a separate page, create a list of things that need to happen in order for you to reach your end goal. Don't worry about the order, you'll figure that out closer to the end. For now, just focus on the steps that need to take place in order for you to safely accomplish your resolution. Going back to the example of "Lose 20 Pounds", some reasonable and necessary steps would be:
Quit drinking soda
- Determine your sub-steps. Each step toward your is a goal in an of itself and will require you to think about the small adjustments you need to make. So next to each step, write down the ways you are going to check each one off your list:
Eat Better - focus on protein, fresh produce, and whole grains. Cut out processed junk.
Exercise More - add 60 minutes a week to my current routine. Add weights, try to get faster,
Quite Drinking Soda - keep water with me all day. Limit soda to 4-6oz/day, ONLY drink from a glass, not the can or bottle!
Sleep More - turn off the TV/computer by __PM, no screens in the bedroom, pack kids lunches in the evening to buy more time in the morning.
- Pick Which Sub-Step you want to tackle first. Here's where you start to put things in order on your main goal sheet. Maybe you've already started to make the necessary changes to your diet to begin to lose weight, so start there. Depending on how many sub-steps you have outlined, dedicate a specific frame of time to each, say one to three months to solidify each step as a new healthy habit. This doesn't mean you only work on one step during any given block of time, just that it will be your primary focus. Each step should carry over into the next, so start with the ones that you want to establish as a permanent part of your everyday routine first.
- Have a back-up plan. Let's say you accomplish all of your steps by, say, May, yet you have not reached your end goal. Well guess what- it's still 2015! Here, you have created room for yourself to revisit each step and see what other adjustments you need to make. Maybe you eat well most of the time, but your workouts have stagnated. You could look at increasing the intensity or duration of your exercise - your body has adapted and it needs a new challenge!
- The End is not The End. Once you DO accomplish your goal - which, following these guidelines, will be extremely likely - it doesn't end there! Keep your list handy as a reminder to adhere to your new routine, and think about what you can do next to capitalize on your achievements! Maybe it's that big race you never thought you'd have the energy or endurance to train for, or now that you can do 20 push ups, you want to work on your bench press. Whatever it is, you are now free to push onward to do even more!
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tell me what topics you want me to tackle in my next newsletter,
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Best wishes to all of you for your 2015 and thank you for being a part of my fitness family!