It's that time again. Everyone makes them. Then 93% of us fail (yes, those are real statistics). Here's how to make your NYE resolutions actually work.
We in the personal training biz have corny acronym for just about everything (or a CAFJAE). In the realm of goal setting, we use the acronym SMART. Want to know how to make your new year's resolutions SMART? Want to know if this acronym makes any more sense than CAFJAE?
SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. See? Told you I wasn't making it up. Here's how to use these to make your resolutions a success and double your productivity in 2014.
This is the most fun part of the process. The #1 resolution that's made the most often is to lose weight. How much weight? Do you want to lose pounds or inches? Do you want to lose it for an event or keep it off? By making your goals specific it takes things out of the abstract and starts you thinking about how exactly you're going to do it.
How will you be able to tell if you actually do your resolution? Say you want to quit smoking. Does it still count if you smoke once (but only once) in all of 2014? What if you want to lose weight? If you only lose one pound you still technically lost weight. Make your resolution something you can measure. (Hint: This is best done if you use some of those scary things called numbers.)
This one should be much more of a no-brainer than it actually is. If you have been exclusively eating donuts, french fries, pizza, and cheeseburgers for the last 20 years and your resolution is to go completely natural and never eat another unhealthy bite of anything fried, sugary, or processed...you're in for a hard road, buddy. I'm not saying it's not possible, but for most people it's not probable. A more surefire way to achieve your resolution would be (for example) to have one healthy meal each day and eliminate all unhealthy between-meal snacks. Pick an attainable resolution and then, come March, if it's still a piece of cake (bad wording...sorry) you can amp it up a bit.
This is also kind of a "duh" moment, but take a tiny moment to make sure your resolution is relevant to what you actually want out of life. If you are a workaholic that spends 12 hours a day chained to your desk, is making the goal of spending 4 hours a day in the gym really a smart move? If you have any semblance of a social life or any feelings of affection towards your family, this goal is going to make you pretty miserable. A more relevant goal towards this hypothetical workaholic's life would be to make his/her hour-long workouts twice as intense or to try new types of workout, without committing extra hours.
This is an interesting aspect of resolutions because they all have a very defined start date, but no one ever mentions a time by which they want to have accomplished their resolutions. This creates a fair amount of apathy and helplessness in the way we go about our resolutions. Instead, try putting a date on things. The resolutions "I want to have lost 10 pounds by March 1st, then another 15 by the time school lets out", "I want to go on one job interview a week until I find a new job", or "I want to have completed four consecutive weeks without smoking by Valentine's day" are all time-bound. They have something specific, either a date or an event, that signifies when the resolution is "due". As was the case with the first example, some resolutions can (and should) be divided into several different phases so they're "bite sized" (i.e. attainable). Overall, make sure you have a timeline for your resolutions so you can check your progress and know when to start patting yourself on the back.
Homework: There is power in writing things down with a pen and paper. Take a few minutes and work through your goals. Make sure you include each letter of the SMART acronym. Then put that paper somewhere you'll see it every day. I promise doing these two things will double your chances of following through on your resolutions.