Have you ever actually stuck to one of your New Year’s resolutions?
I’m actually curious, because near the beginning of the year I see a ton of posts with everyone’s goals, but when December rolls around I very rarely see follow-up ‘I’m so proud of myself’ posts.
If you set resolutions every year that you fail to hit like I do, don’t worry, it’s not your fault.
Most New Year’s resolutions are inherently flawed and set you up for failure.
Most of the time, we set ourselves up for failure by setting too many of the wrong goals, measuring the uncontrollable aspects of the goal, and giving ourselves too long to accomplish the goal.
Carrying around a few extra pounds at the beginning of the year, it’s easy to formulate a long list of fitness resolutions: lose weight, eat healthier, workout more, sleep better, etc. But if you’re like me and want to hit the ground running, after the first week of doing all of these, every day, you’re burnt out.
Your resoluteness to a healthier you fades.
By committing yourself to more than you should in the beginning, you are actually setting yourself up for long term failure.
Also, what do resolutions like ‘lose weight’ or ‘workout more’ even mean? If you lose 1 pound and workout a few more times than you did last year, does this mean you’ve hit your resolution?
Many New Year’s resolutions are doomed for failure because they aren’t the type of goals that help foster success because they cannot be measured.
Even the time period we give ourselves to accomplish our resolutions is too long.
Because of Parkinson’s Law, a task grows in complexity to fill the time we allocate to it.
Suddenly that resolution to lose 10 pounds becomes a 12-month game of juggling the healthy weeks of eating with the holiday and stressful binges when that goal can be accomplished in a much shorter period of time.
If you actually do commit, you will be a different, more capable person at the end of a year, so the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year will naturally fall short of your grown capability. You will actually be better than your goals.
The following is an adapted excerpt from the intro section of The FitJourn that addresses some of these issues and details a much better process for setting and hitting fitness goals.
SETTING PROCESS ORIENTED GOALS
The next section takes you through a goal setting process that’s probably a little different than the way you’ve set goals before. The process is broken into 3 steps designed to increase the probability of reaching your goals and make it easier to assess progress.
Set ONE Big Mathematical GOAL
90 days may sound like a long time, but, as we’ve all experienced, that time can fly. It’s easy to look up and wonder where the time has gone. This is why you only set 1 goal as a target for the duration of your FitJourn. What’s the one thing in your fitness life that, if you achieved 90 days from now, would have you completely satisfied? What’s the one goal you want to hit 90 days from now?
Here’s the catch. This single goal must be a measurable goal. It needs to lend itself to having math applied to it. Setting a goal of wanting to lose weight is not measurable. Having the goal to lose 20lbs is clearly measurable. This eliminates the subjective nature of most goals that keeps us from attaining what we truly desire.
Break the Goal into Controllable Action Steps
Once you’ve identified your 1 big measurable goal, you then identify controllable action steps that can be taken regularly to help reach this goal. Your 1 big goal is broken down into process-oriented steps that are completely within your control.
So, with the same goal to lose 20lbs, you wouldn’t break this down into losing 2 pounds a week, because this isn’t a controllable process. Some weeks you may lose 5 lbs and some you may even gain weight as a result of adding muscle or drinking excess water. Instead, a potential controllable action step could be to go to the gym 3 times a week or eat less than 2000 calories 5 days of the week. These are steps that are totally within your control and completion is easily identifiable.
You will only ever assess your progress against these controllable action steps you have set for yourself. The only time you ever look at the 1 big goal again is at the end of the 90-day period, but you will track completion of these action steps weekly. This accomplishes 2 things, a) it provides a clear and easy way to track if you are meeting your goals or not on a weekly basis and b) it encourages momentum and constant progress because there are no unforeseen setbacks. You are in complete control of hitting these milestones.
Identify and Eliminate the Blockers to Your Goal
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”
Focusing on 1 single goal and breaking it down into controllable action steps only goes so far if there are other, larger, things you do that keep you from reaching your fitness goals. Being successful is often just as much about cutting out the negative as it is about adding in the positive. You’ll drill down to identify the activities that have kept you from reaching your goals in the past and learn how to eliminate them using science backed methods.
Hopefully you can take this process and set New Year’s fitness goals that can actually be accomplished.