Monday, December 28, 2015 4:35 AM

How to Keep Resolutions on Track

I must admit I am not much for making a New Years Resolution and according to a couple of polls I looked up, 38% of the population is with me on that.  In my opinion if it was on my heart to make a change in my life I wouldn’t wait until the first of the year or the first of the month, or next Monday, or tomorrow.  If I really wanted to make a change I would do it right here and now.  Only 64% of those that make a resolution will make it through the first month of the year with their resolution intact.  Not to mention those who make a fitness/health or wellness New Years resolution have given up on that same or similar resolution four times in the past.  Not a great track record. 

If this sounds like you, all is not lost!  So how can you break this cycle if you are one of those that fit this description, you may ask.  S.M.A.R.T. goals!  It is not hard to find studies that show a correlation between goal setting and success rate.  Make sure your goal is important to you and is motivating as well.  You need to think of your goal as a target.  To hit a target what do you need?  Pinpoint focus and accuracy not a vague, random intention.  What is so special about a S.M.A.R.T. goal you may be asking yourself right about now.  Well…the S.M.A.R.T. acronym means goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. 

The first step is to write your S.M.A.R.T. goal down starting with making itspecific.  Think about the who, what, when, where and how of your goal.  Take your time and list action steps to take to achieve your goal.  It may seem silly to some but a written plan really does help your cause.

Your goal needs to be measureable.  How often have you stated that your New Years Resolution is to lose weight?  Ahhh…OK…and???  How much weight?  What is seen as success and what is not?  That classic resolution is way too vague.  Try putting a measureable parameter to it, state how many pounds you want to lose by the end of the year, for instance, or what percent of body fat you want to lose.  Seems simple, but all too often people just state that they want to lose weight and that’s it. 

Your goal needs to be attainable, but you need to ask yourself, ‘what resources do I need to hit my goal.’  What do I need?  How will I find the time?  Who can I talk to for support?  What do I need to learn more about to achieve my goal?

There is no way you will be motivated to carry through with your goal if the goal you set isn’t relevant to you.  Write out and list reasons you want to achieve your goal.  Put that list on a sticky note and post it in places where you will see it often (on your car dash, on the fridge door or on your bathroom mirror for a constant reminder).

Put a deadline on your goal and set some benchmark goals to keep you on track and keep your goal timely to motivate you along the way.  Let’s use the classic “I want to lose weight” New Years Resolution for instance.  Let’s be a bit more specific and say instead I want to lose 60lbs by the end of the coming year.  So if I divide 60lbs by 12months I get 5lbs per month.  That gives me 12 benchmarks to shoot for during the year and celebrate to keep me motivated along the way.  If that was still too infrequent you can always divide 5lbs by 4weeks in a month and track 1.25lbs a week if you needed.  Think about it this way 60lbs can seem like a pretty intimidating number but if you break it down to 1.25lbs a week it doesn’t sound that bad and in fact sounds quite doable.

I know it probably sounds like I am poo-pooing New Years Resolutions.  However, before I come under fire for that let me explain my plan or theory.  I am a bucket list guy.  Meaning I sit down toward the end of the year and I make a list of events I want to compete or participate in during the coming year.  All of my workouts or training goals revolve around training for those events.  For instance on my calendar for the first half of the year you will find a 5k run, a Mud Run, the bike leg of two relay triathlons, a biathlon and 3 century bike rides.  The dates are on the calendar, the goals are specific, and all my workouts are focused around those events to keep me accountable.  That’s just what works for me personally.  I will admit I have tried the New Years Resolution thing and every time I was lucky to last a month.  Meh, I am human, what can I say?  Hopefully one of these strategies will work for you!  Feel free to visit the Employee Fitness Center to hit one of us up to help you set a S.M.A.R.T. goal for 2016!  We would be happy to help your cause.