Hi everyone, Happy New Year, and welcome to 2017! If you’re in the same boat as me, you’re still recovering from the Holidays, both mentally and physically. Some of you have started your resolutions or, if you’re like me you’re the anti-resolution(er), and literally either nothing has changed, or rather same things change incrementally each day, week, and month.
The first of any year is always a that should be used (in my opinion) for reflection, instead, in most cases it used to set vague goals. Don’t get me wrong, I love goals, but goals should be SMART (Specific, Measureable, Acheiveable, Realistic, Time Specific) when we say “I’m going start running”, “I’m going to get fit”, “I’m going to lose weight” – nothing about those goals is “SMART”.
I hate to be cliche, but if you fail to plan, you’re essentially planning to fail.
I hate to also be a negative Nancy, but if you have a gym membership, you tend to notice a significant uptake in membership/business in January, and you see that taper off by February-March. So why is that?
To be honest: life, and typically lack of planning/lack of setting SMART goals. Life gets in the way sometimes, I’ll admit it life gets in the way for me sometimes, and I am not only someone who helps people set goals, I constantly set goals myself.
I think what is key, here is the act o reflecting at the first of the year (and many times throughout the year), start with: what did you “resolve to do” last year, now: did you accomplish it? If not, why? If you are a chronic resolutioner that doesn’t produce results you need to look at why this is happening, and come up with a “SMARTer” approach.
I say I am an anti-resolutioner, but I actually kind of make resolutions all of the time, or rather- I set a lot of goals, both personally and professionally, but they key is: I set them all of the time. With running you get direct honest feedback on how you’re progressing towards you’re goals, sometimes you’re making gains, and other times, you’re heading back to the drawing board. Heading back to the drawing board, by the way, does not equate to failure. When you stop trying, that is when you have failed.
Goals are like engagements/proposals: it should not take a “grand gesture” to make you realize something I.e. “New year, new you”. If you want to run, start walking; if you want to buy something, start saving your money. Don’t just do those things, start evaluating and asking yourself “how am I doing?” When you set out to do this- set specific time periods of when you will “check” your progress.
With any goal or lifestyle change, if it works out perfectly on your first go, then good for you! Seriously. It happens, but it is rare, most people end up having to go back and re-tooling their game plan to get there, or what happens all too often is that people just give up.
- Obviously, set SMART goals, whether that means, writing them out, and thinking about “how” to get there, then do that.
- Put your money where your mouth is. I have a wonderful friend who says she refuses to feel guilty over spending money on health/working out. Obviously the moral is to not live beyond your means, but also if you have the money spend it on running shoes, a race, a fitness class you want to try. If your goal is to run a half marathon, but you’ve never ran before, I would suggest a) signing up for one that way you have it looming over you, and b) sign up for a shorter distance race a maybe 6-8 weeks beforehand to gauge how your training has gone.
- Be accountable, a good place to start is with your friends and family, but ultimately we want to learn to be accountable to ourselves, and sometimes that can be really tough. That is why above I yapped so much about reflection above; in order to be accountable to ourselves, it is paramount we reflect on how we have succeeded, and where/when our weanknesses tripped us up.
- Don’t quit. Readjusting isn’t quitting, but sometimes things in life happen: injuries, new jobs, etc The only constant is change, so instead of having an attitude of “I’ll get to it another time”, embrace an attitude of: “maybe I can do this instead of that tonight, and that instead of this tomorrow morning”. Personally, training for marathons have been some of the best lessons on how to manage my time, and go back to the drawing board to readjust my plan.
As you can probably gather, I am more into just adopting a few small changes over time to create a healthier lifestyle as a opposed to one big goal. This isn’t to say that big goals don’t work- I think there is a time for big goals, that being said, big goals require big plans.
So at the end of the day my last little nugget of advice would be, to go the anti-resolution route, and consistently work, day in and day out to get closer to what you want to achieve.