As the New Year begins, it seems like everyone suddenly is an avid exerciser.
Unfortunately, the initial enthusiasm of making fitness resolutions typically fades away as most people revert back to old habits. Sad, but true.
In my opinion, one big reason that fitness resolutions go unfulfilled is because the “right” resolutions were not created. Resolutions like “Losing 15lbs”, or “get in great shape” is not nearly enough to help really inspire people to make a positive change.
I have below an 8 step checklist you can follow using SMART guidelines (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-bound) to help you create compelling goals that inspire enthusiasm and urgency, so you can confidently realize your fitness resolutions this year.
Step #1: Be Specific
I know a lot of people set the goal of “losing weight and getting in shape”, but that’s not nearly specific enough. The more specific you can make your resolutions, the better. Maybe you want to lose 10lb of fat, be able to complete 10 pull-ups, or run a mile in under 6 minutes. Being specific makes the resolutions more real. You can set both outcome goals, or goals with an end point, and process goals, which are specific actions you will take each week in order to reach your “outcome” goals.
Step #2: Make It Measurable
If you are setting specific goals, they will most likely be measurable. “Get in better shape” needs to have some type of metric to measure your progress to make sure you are realizing your goals. Maybe the metric is your weight, your body fat percentage, or your ability to complete a certain number of reps of a given exercise.
Step #3: Make It Attainable
Set your goals within a range that makes them attainable. The ideal goal is something you can reasonably accomplish if you make a commitment and are consistent. A goal that is too difficult to reach will be demoralizing and overwhelming, not inspiring.
Step #4: Be Realistic
If you set some goal of cutting out alcohol completely, but you love going out all the time, that may not be a realistic goal. Maybe 2-3 drinks per week, not on the same night may be more realistic.
Step #5: Make It Time Bound
Put a specific date that the resolution must be attained to create a sense of urgency, such by making the goal within less than a year, maybe it’s 2-3 months. Without a deadline, you won’t have any time pressure to help propel you into action.
Step #6: Identify Your Reason Why
Unless there is an emotional reason underpinning your desire to reach your goal, it’s very tough to find the motivation to change your habits. Changing our bodies for the better is difficult, so developing a reason why that elicits a powerful emotional response is critical to your success.
Step #7: Write It Down
I strongly encourage you to write down your goals and keep them handy. Maybe you put them on a wall, or next to your computer at work, or at home. I personally put my goals on my To Do List, which I manage in Excel, so I see my goals at least a couple times per day. Writing down your goals forces your subconscious mind to focus on your goals, which encourages action. Finally, you may consider writing down the goals in the present tense, such as “I am accomplishing my goal of completing 50 pushups by April 1st”. This is a mental trick that will help push you towards your goal.
Step #8: Take Action!
The last step of course is to take action; get a gym membership, get a personal trainer, or maybe a fitness program like BuiltLean Program you can complete on your own, throw all the junk food out of your kitchen etc. Once you have spent time on following the previous 7 steps and writing down your goals, don’t question them. Just move forward.
Tying It All Together: Sample Fitness Resolution
I am losing 15lb of fat to reach my goal weight of 175lb by April 1st
• I am exercising 3x per week with weights for 30 minutes followed by interval training cardio for 15 minutes.
• I weigh myself every Monday morning because I must lose approximately 1.25lb of fat each week to reach my goal.
• I am going to eat 3 small meals and 2 snacks each day to help control my appetite and keep my body well nourished. I will plan out my meals and snacks each day for the next day. I am allowed two “cheat” meals per week.
• I’m limiting alcohol to 2 drinks per week, and will not drink them at a meal.
• I’m not allowing junk food in my apartment/house to avoid temptation.
• Once I reach my goal weight, I continue to exercise 3x per week and weigh myself every Monday morning. I do not allow my weight to exceed 180lb. If it does, I follow the same process I used to reach my goal weight.
Heart Disease runs in my family and I have a strong desire to get in the shape I was in during college when I was at my best
So what are your fitness resolutions?