Millions of individuals set New Year’s resolutions each year; however, the likelihood of actually sticking to these resolutions is actually quite low. In fact, up to 40% of Americans will set a New Year’s resolution, while approximately only 8% will follow through, according to a recent Forbe’s magazine poll. There are many reasons why we may fail, which include setting overly complicated goals, goals that are not realistic, and not being specific enough on our resolutions. Here are some simple tips for setting – and achieving – a New Year’s resolution:
- Keep it simple. I recommend setting just one, maybe two goals. Once you achieve those you can always set one (or two) more, but if we set too many goals at once, we are less likely to achieve them.
- Be specific. This helps to make our goals more tangible. Instead of saying, I will get stronger, set a goal that says I will hit a PR in my deadlift, or I will be able to back squat 200 lbs, or I will decrease my body fat percentage by 2 percentage points. These are all specific, tangible goals and thus gives us something concrete towards which we can work.
- Consider breaking your goal up into smaller parts. If your goal is a lofty one – say that you are clean and jerking 95 lbs and you want to get to 125 lbs, set benchmarks along the way with time frames – perhaps you aim to be at 105 lbs by May, 115 lbs by September, and 125 lbs by December. You get the picture.
- Set some accountability. Chris did this with on the FB site a month or so ago – he had everyone post their goal(s) on the group page. This creates accountability. If your goal is to eat more fruits and vegetables, tell your partner what your goal is so that they can support you in this. When we share what we want to do we know we are 4 times more likely to achieve our goals.
- On that same note, make it visible. Set the background picture on your phone as an image that represents your goal, write it on a whiteboard at home or at the office, have an image in the kitchen that visually demonstrates your goal (such as a picture of the plate method) – set yourself up so that you see your goals daily.
- Avoid goals that are all-or-nothing. (This also supports the recommendation to make it a realistic goal.) We have this inner-rebel that rebels against these absolutes. Instead of saying, ‘I will have no sweets this year,’ think of what your current pattern is and adjust it downward in a realistic way. Perhaps you have a sweet a couple of times a day. Instead of having no sweets at all, your goal can be only having one sweet a week.
Overall goals should be SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely – so when you are setting your goals be sure to set yourself up to be successful!