Is Your New Year’s Resolution Destined to Fail?

New Year’s Resolutions. You either love them or you hate them. I think most of us can agree we have failed to complete one at some point. Personally, I love planning and setting goals for myself–I do it at the start of every week and month, not just the new year, but it can be hard to stick to those goals without a system in place to make it happen. I want to take a moment to talk about a surefire way to set yourself up for success with your fitness goals in this new year.

Every goal in life should be SMART:

S–Specific

M–Measurable

A–Achievable

R–Relevant

T–Timely

Specific goals are things like “lose 10 pounds” or “be able to do a split”. While setting out to say “I want to lose weight” or “I want to be healthier” is awesome, it doesn’t give a person much direction and can leave them feeling overwhelmed with the steps it would take to reach that. I mean, one pound is losing weight so is that succeeding at that goal? It’s hard to tell without getting more specific.

Measurable goals can be tracked. Again, wanting to be healthier can mean any number of things so a distinction needs to be made. Let’s say your goal is to go to the gym more. Well, you need to decide how you want to measure that progress–is twice a week your benchmark? Or maybe you want to measure the time spent at the gym? There are no wrong answers here as long as the goal-setter decides on how they want to measure their progress and is consistent with that measurement.

Achievable goals are just that. Achievable. I am probably not going to be able to pull an 18-wheeler with my teeth by the end of 2019 so setting that as a goal means I am going to feel like a failure no matter what other great things I do this year for my health. Take some time to think about what you can realistically do. It should still be a challenge, but taking the time to really assess your personal situation, know yourself, and plan for the year ahead will make those resolutions seem a lot more realistic and manageable than ones that we set because they sound like a good idea.

Relevant goals pertain to your own life. This might seem like a no-brainer, but speaking from my own experience attempting to make myself like long distance running: if you don’t care about something, don’t do it. Sure, we all need to work on strength and cardio to be healthy, but do you really want to run a marathon? Do you care if you can deadlift 400 pounds? If not, don’t set those as goals for yourself–they’ll bore you and make you feel like fitness can’t be fun.

Timely goals have an end in sight. Back to the idea of just wanting to be healthier–how will you know that you’ve finished getting healthier? That is really a never ending process and the thought of having to do something forever just because it makes you healthier is overwhelming at best and soul-crushing at worst. BUT, let’s say you want to lose 10 pounds in 2 months. That end in sight allows you to work backwards. You can form a plan on how often you need to workout and how much you should be eating in those 2 months to reach your goal.

Whatever your goals are for the new year, checking them against these SMART criteria can help to see if they are do-able or need to be adjusted to set you up for success. The fact that you are setting these resolutions in the first place shows a desire to grow, improve, and thrive and that is something to be proud of. So, keep working, keep pushing, and if you need help or accountability with your goal-setting this year my inbox is always open!

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