1) You must have proper goal setting.
Most resolutions fail because people are only setting a large, long-term goal. While the goal of losing 50 lbs. by summer is attainable, it’s too far out to keep yourself on-track. You need to also set a short-term goal that is achievable in a shorter time period, and then adjust that short-term goal along the way to keep your momentum headed in the right direction. Perhaps the most important step, anticipate the top three obstacles to reaching that short-term goal and create solutions to those obstacles. These pre-determined solutions will help you stay on-track.
Related tip: Instead of saying you want to lose 50 lbs., have a goal of fitting into a size six instead of a ten, or another, similar clothing size goal. Muscle weighs more than fat and depending on your fitness level, you may actually gain weight while getting in shape.
Examples: The #1 obstacle I hear is actually common to many women and law enforcement officers too: “I don’t have enough time to make healthy eating choices because I’m always on the run.” The short-term goal and obstacle solution may be to pre-make your food and have it packed for the week. If your obstacle is that you don’t have time to exercise, your plan may include overcoming that obstacle by walking during your lunchtime at work, or waking up earlier so you can make time for a work-out.
Focus on the short-term goals and obstacle solutions as stepping stones to your long-term goal. When people feel too far away from their long-term goal, it’s too easy to say “Well, I’ll just start again next week” or “I’ll try again next month.” If you fall off, just pick yourself back up and adjust that short-term goal, or add a new solution to the obstacle you just discovered and get back on-track to your long-term goal.
2) Reward yourself along the way.
The reward for reaching that long-term goal needs to be substantial. Don’t just go out with the girls/guys one night — save for a vacation. Plan to travel somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit, or plan to do an activity you’ve always wanted to do, but perhaps couldn’t do due to your fitness level. Short-term rewards could be to buy a new pair of pants or a new golf club.
Related tip: Make sure your reward is not detrimental to either type of goal. A goal to lose weight by working out and eating healthier should not be rewarded with a trip to the all-you-can-eat buffet. Unfortunately, a lot of people celebrate their hard work by negating it through improper rewards.
Examples: A group of women in a fitness program work out and then go across the street and have ice cream together. Then they wonder why they’re not losing weight and get frustrated with the lack of results. Nutrition and exercise go together. You can’t out-exercise a poor diet Let’s face it; no one wants to do things that they don’t enjoy. Rewarding yourself helps keep the fitness program a positive experience. On those days where you are feeling particularly tired, sore, or unmotivated – if the promise of a pair of new shoes gets you into the gym, then you have a win!
3) Build a Network of Accountability.
Make sure you have a system in place to hold you accountable for your fitness plan. This may include having a workout buddy, participating in a classroom setting, or posting to social media. A workout buddy or group setting can make your fitness program more enjoyable with the camaraderie that can develop in a group atmosphere. If you don’t have the opportunity to participate in group instruction or to have a resolution workout buddy, you can always share your daily workout with your online friends.
Related tip: When choosing a resolution workout buddy, keep in mind that this person should be at a similar fitness level as you, with similar fitness goals. When you have a mismatch, one person can hold the other back in their progress, which can cause frustration…then the buddy network fails and you lose the accountability you were trying to create.
Examples: Using social media to post your resolution along with long-term and short-term goals, obstacles, and solutions can create a following of supporters who will check in with you on your progress and help hold you accountable. Post your workouts each day and if you happen to miss a day, post about how you plan to get back on track.