Ditch your lofty New Years resolution

“Get back in the gym” is often the choice resolution for people going into the new year looking to be healthier. People set goals like “work out 5 times a week” or “lose 20 pounds by the end of the year”.

While these goals have the right idea, there is a reason they are seldom achieved. There are several reasons these resolutions rarely come to pass, but the largest is that they are designed to fail. 

We put an immense amount of pressure on ourselves when we ignite these large goals. After all, when we create them, it is almost always in a time of pure ambition and drive for the next year. 
The problem with those moments is that they are difficult to uphold through long periods of time. 

When our goals expect 100% of our effort all the time, then they allow for failure 0% of the time. 

It is simply human nature that if you create an expectation of yourself, and you do not meet that expectation, there will be a level of disappointment and thus discouragement. When we feel discouraged, we often are less likely to continue with the goals we had set. 

If you miss a Thursday workout, it is a lot easier to skip the Friday workout. And if you missed Thursday and Friday, you might as well skip Monday too. 

So how do we combat this discouragement via overloaded goals?

Two ideas come to mind.

First, the 75% rule. When you go to make your New Year’s Resolution, create the expectation that you will put in 75% effort into completing said resolution. 

This may seem counter intuitive, but it does wonders. It allows for errors and mess ups without compromising the entire resolution. If you cheat on your diet for one day, it doesn’t mean that you won’t follow it the next day. 
Another idea is utilizing “SMART” goals. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based. 

Starting with specific, make sure that your goal has a narrow breadth, so that you can effectively plan. For example, instead of saying “gain muscle”, try saying “increase my main lifts by 25%.” 

Measurable comes in your ability to prove whether or not you achieved your goal. If using the prior example, you would be able to accurately measure whether or not the goal was achieved. It also allows you to measure your progress as time progresses. 

Attainability might be one of the most important, as for a goal to be successful, it needs to have the potential to be attained. 

Relevance makes sense, as if your overall goal is to achieve better health, your goal should be in line with that, such as fitness or diet. 

Time-based is crucial, as you need to have a deadline to achieve your goals. Try breaking up your goal over periods of time, rather than having one massive deadline at the end of the year. For example, if you want to lose 30 pounds by the end of the year, break that down month by month instead. 

The bottom line is that New Year’s Resolutions can easily be a fast track to feeling down about yourself. If you are able to set reasonable goals, and work towards them in an attainable way, it does not have to be that way.

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