By Brandon Sundwall, Certified Trainer
The new year is a time for self reflection and planning for the year ahead, but many people fail to follow through on their promises to themselves. Actually, nearly 80% of people fail to achieve their New Year's resolutions, so what can you do to buck the trends and see your way to the finish line?
Try these strategies to keep on track with your goals and see the progress you were shooting for.
Make S.M.A.R.T. goals that are:
- Specific – make your goal something specific. Think, "go to the gym 4 days per week" instead of "get in shape."
- Measurable – You must have someway to measure progress, so make sure that you have metrics to show progress. Pounds lost, workouts completed, or other personal records are a great way to demonstrate you're on track
- Attainable – Think big but be fair to yourself. Gaining 50 pounds of muscle in the next 3 months is most likely out of reach, so when coming up with a goal do your research and pick something that is a reach, but can be done in the time frame you have set.
- Relevant – If your goal doesn't mean anything to you then it's unlikely you'll stick with it. Pick something that is for YOU, not what you think someone else wants.
- Time Based – Pressure can be a good thing when it comes to success. Put you feet to the fire and give yourself a deadline. Goals with an end date out perform open ended wants, so mark your calendar and hit the ground running, or lifting, or both.
Focus on behavior not outcome – The end result is out of your control, but you alone are responsible for your behavior, so focus on habits like making it to the gym 5 days a week rather than losing 20 lbs. The outcome will be there if you focus on behavior.
Build an accountability system – As social animals, we humans feel responsible for others so it's not surprising that we will let ourselves down before we fail those we care about. Put this behavioral strategy to work by finding someone to help hold you accountable. It could be a coach or trainer, or even a friend or family member. Better yet, embark on your goals with someone and hold one another accountable. Whomever you choose, make sure it's someone who's opinion you respect and who will follow through on keeping you on track.
Visualize the result – You won't get anywhere without a clear image of the destination, so creating a picture of your accomplishments in your mind is an important step on the road to success. Take some time to write out your goals and then build an image of what success will look like to you. Sit quietly, practice deep nasal breathing and picture yourself achieving your goal. Really set the scene and focus on how you will feel when you have reached the finish line. Emotions are powerful, and if you can imprint success it will give you the subconscious power to succeed when the going gets tough. Better still, make this a part of a daily mindfulness habit to really make it stick.
Habit stacking – Attaching a new habit to an existing one can be more effective than trying to conjure something completely new. Think about an action you already take daily like brushing your teeth (I hope you do this everyday) and attach a new habit like 5 minutes of meditation to it. Make the thing you already do every day conditional on the new habit you are trying to adopt. In this example, you would not brush your teeth until after you have completed your meditation practice.
A certified personal trainer, Brandon is a former NCAA athlete who lives and trains clients in Los Angeles, CA and also serves a large online clientele. Along with his background in sports performance and post rehab training, Brandon specializes in getting people off the couch and in the gym with a "movement is medicine" philosophy." Keep up with Brandon at https://brandonsundwallfitness.com and follow him @brandonsundwallfitness
Experience: NASM CPT FRC Ms CrossFit L1
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