It’s that time again. Another new year is upon us, and everyone is busy thinking about what they want the coming year to look like for them. New year’s resolutions are sometimes looked down upon. They’ve gotten a bad rap over the years due to the typical ‘work-hard-at-it-for-a-month-and-then-quit’ crowd. New year’s resolutions can’t be held to blame for millions of people losing motivation for their goals. Most people simply go about accomplishing their goals all wrong. The new year is a perfect time to set you sights on what exactly you want to accomplish this coming year, and set out to do it right.
First off, let’s talk about effective goal setting. A proper goal should be all 5 of the following:
1) Specific – Don’t make a goal to ‘get fitter’, make your goals specific so that you can hold yourself accountable. Set a fat loss goal, or better yet, set a performance goal (body weight back squat, 10 strict pullups, run a marathon). This way there is no ambiguity about whether or not you should be done working on your goal. Did you accomplish it or not?
2) Measurable – Again, this goes to making sure there’s no question about whether or not you accomplished your goals. Have a specific number in mind that you want to hit, and measure it. Before you can make any progress, you have to know where you’re starting from. Make sure to measure at the beginning of your progress, and often as you continue to work towards your goal.
3) Achievable – Don’t set your sights on winning the olympics this year, you’re probably not going to be able to check that one off of your list for a number of reasons (other than the fact that there are no olympics this year). Make sure your goals are achievable for you. Talking to a good coach will help with this part. They can help you determine what may be reasonable, and steer you in the right direction.
4) Results focused – You want to measure the outcome of your efforts, not the activity. This is also part of setting specific goals, don’t resolve to work out every day, resolve to drop 10% body fat, or perform a muscle up. At the end of the year, you want to be able to say definitively that you achieved the result you wanted.
3) On a timeline – Since we’re talking about new year’s resolutions, the timeline for your goals should probably be 1 year. That doesn’t mean that you should forget about more short term goals though. A goal with a timeline of an entire year gives you plenty of time to slack off with the excuse of ‘I’ll start tomorrow and still have plenty of time’. You know you’ve done this before. Avoid the whole excuse situation by breaking your goal into smaller ones with shorter timelines. These smaller goals should build on one another and finally lead you to accomplishing your 1 year goal.
Next time, I’ll talk a little more about fitness goals specifically, and how a good program can help you reach your goals safely and effectively.