New Years Resolutions vs Goal Setting

It’s the same thing every new year. You start off with great plans for the year ahead of how you’re going to join the gym, lose that 5lbs you gained over Christmas, have a detox or save for that thing you’ve wanted forever. You start off well, making some extreme changes for the first month (two months if you’re really disciplined), then you fail, feel bad about it, and don’t bother trying again.

The truth is – new years resolutions often fail because the goals are aren’t realistic – they’re too broad and you don’t have a solid plan to see them through. Instead of thinking about new years resolutions, why not sit down and write up some SMART goals for the year? SMART being an acronym for “specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound”. Smart goals make you really think about what you’re trying to achieve and break the goal down into achievable actions.

For example, “I want to lose 10lbs” is an ambiguous statement with no plan or thought behind it. Try turning this into a SMART goal like this:

I will lose 10 lbs before the summer by:

  • Committing to 3 training sessions per week (be specific here – what days will you train? what type of training will you do?)
  • I will stick to a diet of x calories, 6 days per week, with y calories allowed 1 day per week (sometimes you need to allow for 1 treat meal per week, otherwise it becomes unrealistic)
  • I will not eat after 8pm.
  • My goal is to lose ½ lb per week. I will weigh in each Friday, and take my measurements and a photo once per month.
  • I will achieve this goal by 1 July, before we go on holiday.

To really boost your chances of success, you should have incentives, and be accountable. Have a little incentive plan – a spa treatment at 5lbs, a new pair of jeans at 8lbs etc. Do you have a friend who can go on this journey with you? You have a 90% chance of completing a goal if you include these.

Lastly, have an emotional attachment to your goal. Why are you doing it? How will it make you feel? How do you feel now? Write down your reasons for the goal – you can even put little positive affirmations around the house that make you relate to your goal, and when you feel like your commitment is slipping, its great to go back and remember how you were feeling at the beginning of your journey, for some inspiration.

“It always seems impossible until it’s done” – Nelson Mandella

I wish you all the best in achieving your goals x

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