New Year, New You? The number one New Year's Resolution for Americans is to “get in shape”
This is probably the case because most of us are ready to stop the indulging we began in November...maybe October if your derailment began after eating most of your kid's Halloween candy. I want to tell you that if your resolution is to “GET IN SHAPE” then YOU’RE GOING TO FAIL. Let me explain why and let me help you succeed.
Don’t worry, I’m not one of those people that hates New Year’s Fitness Resolutions. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. I’m a planner/list-maker/organizer so I actually get excited about planning for a New Year. I’m also a big believer in focusing on your health, including your weight, physical activity level and new fitness challenges. So why did I make that statement? Saying you're going to "get in shape" is too general. The truth is many of us make the resolution to “exercise more”, “eat healthier”, “be more active”, but what does that even mean? We fail not because we're not good enough or capable of doing it, but because we don't have the proper plan or support in place. If you’re serious about your resolution, it needs to be a goal, you nee to have a plan and you'll have a better chance at success with proper support.
I’m guessing you’re not a stranger to goal setting so I’m not writing this to teach you something new. I’m writing this to look you in the face (not really) and tell you that if you said you want to “get in shape”, let’s take the time together, right now to make sure that happens. I haven’t yet sat down to write any of my 2017 fitness resolutions so I’m going to do it with you RIGHT NOW using the SMART goals method. Let's get started together using these 5 steps.
1. State your SPECIFIC goal. Mine is to finally run the Broad Street Run. I've actually gotten in before, but haven't actually had the chance to run it, so this is my year! What is your well-defined, specific resolution/goal?
2. Make sure it’s MEASURABLE. You should clearly know when you have achieved your goal. Saying you're going to "get in shape" is much to subjective. My goal is easily measurable. I either do it or I don’t, but I’m going to make it more specific and measureable by adding a time. My goal now is to run Broad Street in under 1 hour and 25 minutes (ah! Now it’s real!). If you have a race goal, use this calculator to set a goal finish time or pace.
3. Now let’s check to see if our resolution/goal is AGREED UPON/ACHIEVABLE. Well, my goal only involves me (if I didn’t already have set workout days that my husband knows I’ll be at the gym, then I’d probably need to check with him to ensure I’d have adequate training time). How about you? Who else is affected by your goal? Is everyone on the same page?
4. Next we check to make sure it’s REALISTIC. For me, I’ve done races before, I’m suuuuper experienced in creating training plans (did I mention, I’m a planner and exercise physiologist?) and as of now I believe I’m physically able and ready to train. So yes, if I train, my goal is realistic (unless I can't get in or buy a bib...thinking positive thoughts). Is yours? If it’s a fitness goal and you need some help determining if your fitness goal is realistic for your level and ability, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
5. Lastly, is your goal TIME-BASED and TRACKABLE? This is important. Set a time-line. How will you track your progress? Do you have enough time? When will you achieve your goal? For me, I plan to follow a 12-week training plan so my time-line begins on February 12th and race day is May 7, 2017. I will create and follow weekly training plans, which makes it very trackable.
And there you have it. We've both set a very specific, measureable and realistic 2017 New Year’s Resolution. The next two keys to success are making sure you have a specific training plan to achieve your goal and support. In the upcoming weeks I'll make sure to share some of my thoughts on creating a plan and enlisting support. Please share your goal in the comments. If you can't wait for my future posts to help you with planning and support, check out the programs I offer or contact me and we'll see how I can help.