No matter if we think making resolutions is a silly tradition, if we think that goal-setting should be done the second we want to accomplish something (which it should), if we fail to meet our New Year’s goals each time we set them – there is something alluring, something tempting about saying “This is the year that I will make a change.”
It comes at a good time: exactly after the holiday season where we overeat, exercise too little, stress a lot and our lives generally feel just a bit more hectic. By the time January comes around, we’re ready to turn it around.
So how can we make sure that this really is the year that we make that change and reach our goals? We can begin by setting good goals to start with! You may have heard one of the trainers here at Empower say that you should set SMART goals. Let’s go over exactly what that means:
Specific – Make your resolution something more detailed than “Get in shape” or “Lose weight.” If you make your goal more specific, you’ll have a better idea of when you’ve reached it! What does “in shape” mean to you? Does it mean you want to be able to run 5 miles? Bench your own bodyweight? Complete a short-course triathalon? Play sports on the weekend without getting winded? As well, instead of a general “lose weight,” get specific about what you want! For example, you want to go down 3 pant sizes, or lose 10% body fat. As well, you need to know HOW you’re going to accomplish it! Say, you want to go down 3 pant sizes by strength training 3 times a week for an hour.
Measurable – This goes along with being specific, know exactly what you want to accomplish and how you need to get there. For example, if you want to “be a better runner,” make a distance you want to run so that you can continue to measure how close you’re getting!
Attainable – You goal has to be something that you can actually do! Saying that you want to lose 100lbs in 2 months simply isn’t something a person can do. Make sure your goals are actually attainable!
Realistic – Be realistic with what you can do. If you tell yourself you’re going to lose 3 pant sizes by March 15th by going to the gym 5 days a week and playing sports on the weekend while getting 8 hours of sleep every night and eating clean 100% of the time, great! But be real with yourself. Are you going to go from never going to the gym to going 5 days a week? From fast food once a day to clean eating every meal? 5 hours of sleep to 5? Set smaller goals and build up to the bigger resolutions. As well, be realistic in the sense that accomplishing any of your physique or performance-related goals is going to take a change in your present lifestyle – and that means work!
Time-Specific – What’s the time frame you want to accomplish your goal in? Saying you want to run a triathalon is a great start, but you need to know by what date! Knowing that you’re going to run a triathalon in April, and even signing up for a race will keep you on top of your training and increase your motivation.
Use these guidelines to make new goals or to make the goals you already have better! We at Empower wish you a very happy, very successful 2012 and we look forward to continuing to work with you to achieve your goals in the New Year!