You did it. You made it through another wonderful / magical / crazy / stressful / fun / memorable holiday season! And the new year is here. It’s the most cliche time of the year to set goals…get organized…workout more…eat healthier… But it’s cliche for a reason. It’s a great time of year to do just that. Let’s talk about ways to make sure that you are successful in achieving what you want to in 2020!
Most people struggle with setting appropriate goals for themselves – and they don’t even realize it! Here’s the best way to set S.M.A.R.T. goals:
- S – SPECIFIC
Ask yourself the who / what / why / when / where / how questions.
WRONG: “lose weight”
RIGHT: “lose 15 lbs”
- M – MEASURABLE
This means you will see, feel, know when you reach your goal.
WRONG: “feel better about my body” / “have more energy”
RIGHT: “lose a pants size” / “only need 2 cups of coffee a day”
- A – ATTAINABLE
Ask yourself if this goal is the right one for you. Weigh costs and benefits required to reach it.
WRONG: “lose 40 lbs by spring break and never eat sugar again”
RIGHT: “lose 4 lbs in January and reduce sugar intake by only eating ______ once a week”
- R – RELEVANT
Make sure your goal is something that you actually want to achieve. Just because it sounds good or looks good on paper doesn’t mean that it’s what you really really want.
WRONG: “run a marathon” (if you are a non-runner)
RIGHT: “try a couch to 5k program”
- T – TIME-BOUND
Your goal should have a specific date attached to it. Make deadlines, adjust if needed, but always make sure that you have a timeline.
WRONG: “lose 3% body fat”
RIGHT: “lose 3% body fat by July 1st, 2020”
Write Down Your Goals – and Keep Them in Front of You
There are all kinds of studies out there that address the statistics of writing down your goals and how it relates to your success. Bottom line? Just do it. Write them down. Do it often. And keep them in front of you. On the mirror, or the fridge. Take 5 minutes before bed to write them down – again – in a journal. Heck, you may have one journal that looks like it’s some form of punishment from elementary school. Fine. Do it.
Find someone that you can trust to help keep you accountable to your goals and getting back to business when it comes to your fitness. (That rhymed.) This can be a gym buddy, spouse, trainer, etc. Make sure that they know what your goals are – whether that’s making it to the gym 3 times a week, or starting to meal plan better. Ask them to check in with you once a week (or whatever is appropriate). Our smart devices are also really good at helping us make sure that we are moving, tracking our food, etc. BUT, sometimes it’s easy just to turn that Alexa alarm off or not log in to MyFitnessPal. It’s not so easy to avoid a text from your friend. If you know that you need a more intense accountability service, consider a personal trainer!
Schedule Workouts and Plan Meals
This can be two-fold, with exercise and nutrition. Many gyms have apps available where you can reserve your spot in a class, or check-in to your workout. Use them! And definitely put them in your personal calendar as appointments. Consider it like making an appointment with the CEO (of your life). You wouldn’t cancel on the CEO, would you?
As far as nutrition goes, make a meal plan and stick to it as best as you can. Sure, there will be times when it simply doesn’t work out, but you’re far better off by making plans versus not. We all know that at the end of a long day, a conversation with your spouse (or yourself) can sound like:
“What do you want for dinner?” “I don’t know, what do you want?” “What do we have?” “Nothing, really.” “Okay…Mazzio’s or Pizza Hut then?”
Research suggests that it takes 21 days to make (or break) a habit. Dedicate 21 days to getting back into (or starting) your fitness routine. Looking at the year as a whole can be overwhelming and paralyzing. Heck, even taking on a 60-day challenge can seem daunting. But 21 days? You can do 21 days. Whatever your goals are in the new year, you owe yourself 21 days to commit fully to them.
Set Goals, Don’t Make Resolutions
The vast (VAST) majority of people don’t keep their New Year’s resolutions. They draw hard lines for themselves and set non S.M.A.R.T. goals. You’re not perfect. You probably won’t make it to the gym 3 times a week EVERY week. What if you travel? Get sick? Have to care for a loved one? Life happens. And if that was your resolution, it’s now broken for totally legitimate reasons. But if your GOAL is to try to get to the gym 3 times a week and you succeed in that 90% of the time, I think you’re doing alright. At the end of the day, it’s all about making the most good decisions we can; the kind that don’t lead us away from our goals but closer to them.