By Josh Manuel
Another year has gone by and that means another year of making New Year’s resolutions. “I’m going to exercise more, lose some weight, eat healthier and do what I couldn’t do the year before! Things will be different this year!” Sound all too familiar? Like most, I’ve fallen victim to the ‘Make a New Year’s Resolution and stick to it’ routine.
Some years are better than others and I make it for a couple of months and then fall back into my original routine of not exercising, eating unhealthily etc. I’m sure you’ve heard lots of ways to help you stick to your plan and below is my list of how one can stick to their resolutions or at least a way to create positive habits in ones life.
No matter what, trying to achieve ones fitness goal isn’t an easy road and you have to work hard to get your results; however, in the end it’s always worth it.
Now that we’ve reached February, it’s a good time to revisit your resolutions and see if you have accomplished any of them. If not, below is the S.M.A.R.T method of creating goals for yourself. If you need to start again, then try to follow these guidelines and hopefully it will help you out.
First things first…
Setting the Goal(s)
I’m sure you’ve heard of S.M.A.R.T goal setting but just in case you haven’t, S.M.A.R.T stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
Specific: Specific – For a Specific goal, don’t just go for something like “I want to lose weight.” This is such a broad term – try to aim for something like, “I want to lose two inches off of my waist” or “I want to lose 3% Body fat etc.” I want to put on muscle myself but my specific goal is to increase the weight I can bench by a certain number. I know that if I increase my bench to my goal, I’m putting on muscle.
Measurable – Establish goals that are attainable and give yourself a way to measure the progress. For example; if you want to lose some body fat, invest in a body fat scale and measure your change every couple of weeks.
When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and reaching a small goal will encourage you to push yourself even more.
Write things down, use post-it notes, print off pieces of paper with what you are trying to achieve and hang them on your fridge. Writing things down not only makes you more likely to succeed but it also increases your overall happiness when you achieve it. Do whatever you feel necessary to get you to the point of success. By looking at it every day you will find yourself more inclined to stick to it.
Telling people of your goals is a great way to hold yourself accountable; friends, family, co-workers, neighbours and such. You will be more inclined to stick to a goal if you have someone encouraging you on your way to your goal.
Attainable – When you identify your goals that are important to you, try to figure out ways to get to the end goal. Think of barriers that may slow you down or impede your progress. Once you visualize an attainable goal, you start to develop the attitude, abilities and skills to reach them.
When I set a goal to lose a certain amount of weight or if I want to push a certain amount of weight, I visualize myself at the end goal and work backwards to my starting point. This helps me establish a time-frame and allows me to create steps to attain that goal of mine.
One thing to point out when you’re trying to achieve a goal; try not to start out too big! If you want to take up exercise, for example, don’t start by going five days a week. Try for one day a week, then work your way up to as many days a s you see fit and would help you get closer to achieving ones goals. By achieving even the smallest of goals, you obtain more motivation and continue to push yourself bit by bit.
Realistic– To be a realistic goal, it must be something that you are willing to do and able to do. “Your goal is more realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished. Additional ways to know if your goal is realistic is to determine if you have accomplished anything similar in the past or ask yourself what conditions would have to exist to accomplish this goal.”
Try not to create a goal where you can’t achieve it in such a short-time frame. If you’re 50lbs overweight and your goal is to lose 50lbs in a month, this just isn’t a realistic goal. Well, to lose weight healthily anyways.
Timely – You should do your best to set a goal with a time frame. With no time there is real no sense of urgency. Going back to the example of wanting to lose body fat, do some research and see how long it generally takes to lose X amount and set a date based on that.
Lastly, I know this isn’t really a tip but more of a reassurance. It takes a good three weeks to create a new habit, at least that’s what researchers tell us. So, especially in the early weeks of a goal, you will hit some highs and lows. Just hang in there. You will build some good ‘habit strength’! By beating yourself up or misinterpreting your slip ups, you will naturally invent reasons to give up. Don’t let yourself do this!
Go back and revisit your goals, use your friends/family/co-workers for help, work harder, learn from your mistake and ask yourself how to not do it again.