How to Crush Your New Year Goal

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FITNESS

by Nick Gallardo, BS, ACE-CPT

If I had a nickel for every time I saw the phrase, “New Year, New You!” around this time of year…

I get it, the start of the year is thought of as a blank slate. Instead of going into the new year armed with inspiration from a few motivational quotes from Pinterest, how about going in with a plan. Here are a few tips to help you create a goal, create a process for achieving that goal, and then crushing that goal:

Pick a goal, any goal (6-12 months)

This should ultimately by your finish-line goal. Where do you want to be in 6-12 months? “I want to lose 25l pounds” A lot of people probably want to lose 25 pounds, but what steps are you going to take to achieve this?

An awesome goal is, “ I am going to lose 25 lbs by October 1st by lifting weights three times a week and doing two cardio sessions a week. I am also going to reduce my alcohol intake on the weekends and eat a portion of protein and veggies at every meal.” Getting specific lets you know exactly how you are going to achieve your goal.

Now pick a long term goal (1-2 months)

It’s time to break down your ultimate goal into smaller pieces. A long-term goal is a culmination of the success of a few smaller, short-term goals. A good long-term goal in this scenario is, “In two months, I want to be down five pounds and consistently workout 4x/week. I also want to limit my alcohol consumption on the weekends to no more than three drinks.”

And then pick a short-term goal (1-2 weeks)

Long-term goals should be broken down (see a trend here?) into smaller short-term goals. “Over the next two weeks, I’m not going to miss a workout” Your short-term goal should be fairly easy to attain and sets you up for success in the future. Once one short-term goal is accomplished, pick a new one that is a similar or slightly more difficult for you to succeed.

It Takes Time

Let’s add up the time it takes to accomplish two long-term goals:

2 months + 2 months = 4 months.

Shocking, I know. In a world that goes a mile-a-minute, progress takes time.

Prepare to Fail

Because you definitely will. A workout will be missed. You’ll drink one (or two) too many glasses of wine over the weekend. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s a long journey of trial and error. Which leads me to the next tip:

Let Yourself “Be Bad”

A 2015 study found that people trying to lose weight who had planned “deviations” from their diet were more likely to adhere to their long-term goals than those who stuck to their diet with no deviations.¹ You have vacation time from work don’t you? Sticking to your goal isn’t always easy, and taking a break every once and awhile will provide you with a recharge. Birthdays and other celebrations are a perfect time to take a planned break from your goals.

 

Coelho do Vale, R., et al., The benefits of behaving badly on occasion: Successful regulation by planned hedonic deviations, Journal of  Consumer Psychology (2015), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcps.2015.05.001

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