With the New Year approaching, it is time for people to start thinking of their possible New Year’s resolutions. The practice of setting New Year’s resolutions might be cliche, but it is helpful given that there is an arbitrary day already chosen for you and the idea of a new year, new you creates great symmetry. But the fact of the matter is that come the second week of February, 80-85% of people have given up on their resolutions. Why do so many give up? Let’s take a look at some issues and how to craft the perfect New Year’s resolutions.
Common Errors of New Year’s Resolutions and How to Fix Them
1) No plan
“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” – Yogi Berra
This common problem is actually hidden by ambiguity. People will say “I want to lose weight,” “I want to feel better,” or “I want to make it to the gym more.” These are all admirable goals but because there is no real definitive goal to achieve, anything and nothing will work. Plus, it will make it harder to plan your course of action.
Fix – Assign numbers and dates to the goal. For example: Lose X amount of weight by X date or I want to make it the gym X number of days a week for X minutes.
2) Unrealistic goals
“The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we hit it.” – Michelangelo
Issue #2 is a bit of a tricky one. You should set your goals high enough to make them a challenge. That way you will have to work a bit harder but it will make meeting the goals more satisfying. Think of it this way: if you set your weight loss goal at 12 lb for a month and stay committed to your plan, losing 9-10 lb is better than if you set a lower goal at 5 lb and stop working beyond that. Picking goals that are a bit further out will also help you focus on the steps to getting there more intently. Small goals allow for too much room for sliding back.
Fix – Do not set the goals based on completely unrealistic ideas (ie. Biggest Loser, fitness magazines). Instead, take a sensible number and then add just a little bit more to the goal. Using weight loss again, it is accepted that 2 lb of weight loss a week is sustainable. Push that goal out to maybe 2.5-3 lb a week. So instead of 8 lb in a month, we are shooting for 10-12 lb. If you come a bit short, you are either at the original goal or even still past it. Sometimes life gets in the way, so it can be a bit deflating if you set your goal too low and you even come up short of that.
3) Using only end results for the goal-setting process
“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.” – Vincent Van Gogh
The third stumbling block requires that you take an extra minute or two to break down your end game into smaller goals. This is beneficial for two reasons: 1) It creates a more reasonable number to focus on for a shorter time period (such as a day or a week vs. a month, 6 weeks, or two months out) and 2) Setting up smaller process goals that lead to the end result get you more wins along the path. So as you begin to check off the smaller successes on the path to the end goal, you begin to get that coveted momentum people need/want in the New Year’s resolutions process.
Fix – As you begin to lay out the goals for your New Year’s resolutions, start to think of smaller goals that contribute to the overarching, big picture goal. For weight loss, this will be small things like 2.5-3 lb of weight loss a week, getting X number of workouts in a week, focusing on a couple of small but beneficial nutritional goals (you do not need to change your entire diet tomorrow!), social support, etc.
We’re Here to Help
If you need help with crafting your New Year’s resolutions, feel free to meet with anyone on the fitness or nutrition staff at Elite Sports Clubs. They can help you lay out a plan to make the beginning of 2018 the year you accomplish your health and fitness goals. Join Elite’s TWLC which runs from January 5 – February 16 and we can help guide you through the process during that 6-week time frame!
Written by Jason Liegl, Certified Personal Trainer & AMP Program Director at Elite Sports Club – Mequon.
Jason re-joined Elite Sports Club-Mequon in 2008. He holds a BS in Fitness Management from UW-Parkside. Jason is a certified personal trainer through ACE. He is also certified by Titleist Performance Institute as a level 1 Golf Fitness Instructor, Functional Movement Specialist level 1, Functional Movement Systems level 1, Kettlebell Athletics level 1, and Precision Nutrition level 1 nutrition coach. Jason has experience in training athletes from almost every sport. His belief is that with a solid foundation and hard work, any athlete can get better!
This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. All material in this article is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.