Happy New Year! If you’re like most people you have set yourself a New Years Resolution, and chances are that your resolution involves eating better, exercising more, losing weight and/or being healthier. These goals make up the overwhelming majority of resolutions.
While simply MAKING a resolution increases your chance of success compared to someone who does NOT set a resolution, sadly by the end of January about one-third of people will have already given up on their resolutions, and by July that jumps to half. We fail because we lack the motivation and willpower to do it alone, and when temptations and challenges arise, without a proper plan in place, it can all seem too hard and we quit.
What can we do? There are some simple strategies that will greatly increase the chance of success.
Set a SMART goal
You are setting yourself up for failure if you set an unrealistic or vague goal, goals need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant/Realistic and Time-bound. If you’re not sure how to do this follow these steps to set a SMART-goal.
You can pre-commit to your goal by writing it down, sharing it with a friend/family member, or your whole online community. By making your goal tangible and having other people aware of it, you give yourself more accountability to stick with it.
Make a Plan
A Goal without a plan is just a dream! Just like if you plan a long road trip you need to map out exactly what you’re going to do each day to get you towards your end destination. Setting lots of short term goals and steps you need to take along the way to your ultimate goal is very important to ensure success!
Be accountable to someone
Whether it’s a workout buddy, an online group, working with a dietitian or hiring a Personal Trainer, having someone or something that you’re accountable to on a regular basis will make easier to stay on track. If there is a financial penalty for failing you’re even MORE likely to succeed (financial penalty could be you agree to pay a certain amount to a charity if you fail, or if you hire a Personal Trainer you would lose your session fee if you cancel last minute). According to an online goal-setting website, the success rate for people who ONLY set a goal is about 29 percent, but it rises to 59 percent when there’s a person who they are accountable to and to 71.5 percent when there’s money at stake. When a contract includes a person for accountability AND financial stakes, the success rate is nearly 80 percent.
Have a benchmark and Track your progress
It’s important that you know where you are starting, in order to measure your progress. If your goal is weight loss, you need to know what your starting weight is. If you have a performance goal like a certain number of pushups, you need to know how many you can do now! And if you want to change the way you look, it’s a good idea to take pictures and/or measurements so you can see changes as they happen. It’s a good idea to re-evaluate every 6-8 weeks.
Make it part of your lifestyle
Health and fitness need to be a way of life. If you can’t fit your diet and exercise routine into your daily work and family life, then it’s not going to work in the long term. Start small, focus on just one or two small changes at a time, and once they have become a part of your weekly routine, then you can look at changing something else. It has to be sustainable for the long term. Short term programs give you short-term results, and then you’ll go right t back to where you started.
Don’t be discouraged
Remember that changes don’t happen overnight, and habits develop with lots of repetition, so you need to be patient. You will have hard days, and hard weeks, you might even feel like quitting. Stay focused on the end goal, and don’t give up! If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.
Make a start right now
Whatever your goal is, today is the day, the time is now! Don’t put it off until the kids are back at school or the holidays are over or whatever the next thing is that you’re waiting for. Take the first step. Write down your goal. Recruit a workout buddy. Or if you want the help of a Personal Trainer, click the button below and we’ll chat to you about what you need!