As someone who has worked in the fitness industry for almost 8 years, I have seen and heard countless New Year’s resolutions. When I worked in a more conventional gym setting, every January we would have a huge influx of new members. By the end of March easily three out of every five were gone and by the time summer hit another one in five were gone. As harsh and awful as it sounds, we could actually pick out the people that were destined for failure after a simple conversation with them.
Many of these people had great intentions of getting to the gym every day, dropping ten pounds, quitting smoking, eating healthier; you know the list. The reason most of these people failed, is they didn’t know HOW to set goals and they refused to come up with a plan to meet those goals.
There are three different time domains for goal setting; long-term, medium-term and short-term. The beauty of those time frames is that they can be defined however you want. If your overall objective is something that is achievable in a month, your time frames would be a month, two weeks and a week. You can then set targets in order to help accomplish whatever you’re aiming for during that period. That is one of the keys to goal setting: Establish your long-term goal and THEN establish medium and short-term goals to help you accomplish your it. As you break your short-term goals down into shorter and shorter time frames, you suddenly come up with a plan to accomplish your goal.
Always keep in mind the 5 P’s:
Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.
The best and easiest framework for setting goals I have come across is the SMART framework. SMART is an acronym that stands for: Sustainable, Measurable, Action-Oriented or Achievable, Relevant or Realistic and Time-based.
Sustainable: It has to be something that you can keep going; if you’re someone who eats out for every meal every day setting a goal of transitioning to perfectly clean eating 24/7 is soon going to become overwhelming and you won’t be successful.
Measurable: As simple as it sounds, there needs to be some way of determining success or failure, whether it be inches lost or, returning to the previous example, number of meals eaten out.
Action-Oriented or Achievable: There needs be a requirement for you to take action, rather than depending on some sort of miracle, to accomplish your goals. Further, achievable goals are those that are within the realm of possibility. For 99.9% of the population losing twenty pounds in a month is not something that is possible from a safety and medical standpoint, or a Sustainablility standpoint.
Relevant or Realistic: Relevancy comes into play when you are setting goals within multiple time domains to accomplish longer-term goals. You want to make sure that your short and medium-term goals are helping you to accomplish your long-term goals. Realistic goals fall right in with Achievable. Its got to be something that can be done. This is where a little self-check may come into play.
Time-Based: You must apply some sort of definitive time frame to your goals. Saying I want to lose ten pounds and not applying a time to it allows for the dreaded, “I’ll start next week”, syndrome.
The best strategy for New Year’s Resolutions is to not make them. Decide that you want to make a lifestyle change, don’t classify it as anything other than that and then do it. Lifestyle changes can be instituted at any time during the year, you can always decide to make a change and take action on it. Constantly reevaluate your goals, don’t become complacent with them. Never be satisfied, challenge yourself, and strive to be the best version of yourself you can be.