Setting goals and resolutions

Every year millions of people set a New Years resolution. It’s well documented that the success rate is quite low for these resolutions however many people change their lives forever as the result. The same will happen this year, if you have a resolution or are looking to make one and you are reading this then I want to help you be in the latter category.

I want you to complete your New Year’s resolution and perhaps change your life forever.

A resolution is a behavioural change that you feel you need to make in order to hit a goal. I would recommend that you make sure sticking to your New Years resolution really will get you towards that goal. To help with that I suggest taking a few more steps between setting your goal and making that all important resolution. Before setting a resolution, set an overall goal, a S.M.A.R.T goal, smaller goals (or break up your timeline into smaller chunks) and use that detail to set a resolution or resolutions. This way you can be pretty sure that the resolution will achieve the goal.

If you want to lose 4 stone then your resolution should be to eat healthier and/or exercise more.

Setting a resolution flow chart:

Overall goal
S.M.A.R.T goal
Smaller goals
Fluid resolution/s

It’s important to determine what your goal is, then we can start to think about the resolution or resolutions that will allow you to hit that goal. From my experience most people work best with a really clear goal, that doesn’t mean that we don’t change or tweak their goal but it’s really good to have a Smart goal in place.

S.M.A.R.T goals, let’s have a look at how to set one

Specific – Get into the detail
Think about exactly what it is you want to change, be as specific as possible. Weight loss may be the overall goal but it’s not specific, lose 10lbs, 2 dress sizes, 3 inches, fit in a certain outfit are all specific goals.

Measurable – How do you know when you’ve achieved your goal
Next we take your specific goal and make sure we can measure it. For a weight loss goal we are going to need a tape measure, or scales, or possibly an outfit. For an exercise participation goal we’ll need a calendar to mark attendance and for a physical performance goal we may need a record of weight lifted, calories burned, or distance covered in a certain time or time to do a certain distance.

Attainable/Realistic – Can you do it?
Set a goal you would be happy to achieve but isn’t impossible. Aiming to run a marathon in the next 4 week’s when you haven’t done any exercise in years is more like to cause Injury and set you back in the long run.

Timely – when do you want it by
Some goals may have a natural time frame, weight loss for a wedding, for a holiday etc. Other times the date may be chosen a bit more arbitrarily. In either case it’s good to have a solid end point to work towards.

Setting a S.M.A.R.T goal should feel really good, you should feel a drive to hit your goal and also confidence that you can do it. If it doesn’t then start your goal setting again. Once you are motivated to get going then it’s time to go onto the next step.

The fluid and the rigid
Your goals and resolutions are going to be a mixture of fluid and rigid. Too many people fail because they only have rigid goals and resolutions in place. It’s all pass/fail and a small failure can, in their eyes, mean the whole exercise is a failure. If your goal was to lose 10lbs and you lost 5lbs then that shouldn’t feel like failure, remember that your goal was to lose weight and you did that, don’t give up on yourself and don’t regress to the behaviour that you wanted to change.

Your overall goal shouldn’t be too rigid. Your S.M.A.R.T goal is intentionally rigid to give you a really clear focus, however your resolution should be fluid and the details may change quite a lot as you go. The detail of the resolution is the least important thing and it’s important to remember that. The flow chart is written in the order that you plan your resolution but it’s also in order of importance with you initial goal the most important.
This is how it might work for someone looking to lose weight purely by exercising:

Goal – lose weight
S.M.A.R.T goal – Go from size 16 to a size 10 in 6 months
Smaller goals – Fit in to size 14 dress that you own and want to wear to a party in 2 months time
Resolution – exercise more (run 5 times a week)

Now if this person get a couple of days into their running regime and they find that either they hate running or it’s painful then there is absolutely no reason why they can’t change the specifics of their resolution. If they switched from running to attending HIIT classes or long walks then they can still achieve every other section of their plan, and ultimately still lose weight. They shouldn’t see giving up running as failure. Keep focused on your initial goal and make some changes to the plan.

Try building your own resolution flow chart and please feel free to contact me if you would like further help or advice.