It’s that time of year again at the gym: the parking lot is full, most of the treadmills are taken, and the sales desk is mobbed with people enthusiastically saying “this is the year I take charge of my health.” Unfortunately, by March, we’re back to the same handful of “regulars.” Health and fitness are so important to being who we want to be, I want to see these “Resolutionists” succeed.
How do you handle the goals or resolutions this time of year?
Are you someone who starts out strong, but fades over time?
Do you shun goal setting, and just keep marching through life?
Or do you set the right kinds of goals and intentions, and follow through?
What makes the difference between someone who follows through, and someone who doesn’t?
Obviously this is a big topic, but here are a few tips to help you be successful in your health goals, or other important goals:
- Know what you REALLY want, and why you want it – set goals with a reason for doing them. We follow through on the goals we’re emotionally connected to. If you’re saying “I should work out more and lose weight,” I can almost guarantee you won’t last until March 1st. If you’re saying “I must be fit enough to walk 5 miles in anticipation of my family vacation to the mountains in June,” I can almost guarantee you’ll follow through – at least beyond March 1st.
- Be clear about what you must do, and what you’ll have to give up, in order to follow through. Identifying that you’ll go to the gym Monday, Wednesday and Friday after work, and that you’ll pick up dinner instead of cooking, will help you follow through.
- Be reasonable with yourself, and watch out for the absolutes. If your resolution involves an hour of heavy sweating on the treadmill or nothing at all, give yourself the option of 30 minutes to power-walk around the neighborhood rather than skipping the workout entirely.
- Establish an environment of support and accountability. We’re all more likely to follow through when we have a workout buddy, or someone who will encourage us and ask how we’re doing. It’s important to get the right kind of support – not a nag or sniper trying to undermine your efforts. What kind of support will help you keep the focus on your important goal from #1 above, and support you in the specific actions you determined in #2? Sometimes we need others to believe in us until we can believe in ourselves, so we can get past that March 1st mark and become the new “regulars” at the gym.
- Adapt your goals. Perhaps by March 1, you’re feeling cooped up and want to spend time outside. At this point, you could still be committed to fitness, but change it up to ‘hiking twice a week,’ or ‘visiting a new park for a two mile run once a week.”
The great thing about change is that the more you practice it, the better you get. So keep moving the direction that’s important for you, even if it’s in fits and starts. Every attempt increases your chances of following through IF you allow yourself to learn something along the way.
Wishing you grand success with all of your goals and dreams in 2018.