According to the University of Scranton, only 8% of people who make a New Year’s resolution achieve their goals…
I will be honest, I am probably the worst person for writing this article. I haven’t made a New Year’s resolution since I had a goal of dunking a basketball in 9th grade. Keep in mind that I was 5’4 then, and only 5’8 now. Before making my first resolution in the last 16 years, I wanted to outline how to make such a goal.
How to set the ultimate New Year’s Resolution:
#1. The goal must be measurable:
“I want to be skinny.” – Not measurable
“I want to have a six pack in 12 months.” -Measurable
“I want to stop drinking coke.”- Measurable
“I want to be rich.” – Not measurable
“I want to bench press 300 pounds.” -Measurable
Your goal must be measurable. In fitness, most of these goals are quantitative in nature, meaning they are measurable. I want to lose 10 pounds, I want to lose 3 inches off my waist, and I want to bench 250 pounds are all quantitative. Qualitative goals tend to be harder to measure. I want to be skinny, is not a measurable goal. Skinny is an adjective that means different things to different people. Turn your qualitative goal into a quantitative goal by having specific goals. If you want to be skinny, and you think you will be skinny if you lose 20 pounds, then make your goal to lose 20 pounds. If you hit your goal and you find it isn’t where you want to be, then readjust.
#2. The goal must be realistic:
“I weigh 300 pounds, and by the end of 2015 I want to weigh 100 pounds.”- Not realistic
“I bench press 150 pounds and by the end of 2015 I want to bench 250 pounds.”- Realistic
“I want to gain 100 pounds of muscle by eating healthy in 2015.”- Not realistic
“I want to lose 50 pounds in 2015.”- Realistic
If your goal isn’t realistic, then you risk the chance to succeed. If you make the goal too unobtainable, then you will more than likely give up early. If you don’t know if your goal is realistic, ask a doctor, personal trainer, or friend for advice.
3. The goal must be hard… but obtainable:
“I want to lose 5 pounds this year.”- Not hard
“I want to gain 15 pounds of muscle in 2015.” – Hard but obtainable
“I want to lose 100 pounds of fat.”- Hard, but maybe too hard
If you set a goal that is too hard then you will be disappointed when it is impossible to succeed. If you make a goal that is too easy, you will be complacent and not try hard enough. I feel the best goals are ones in which I feel there is only a 50/50 chance of succeeding. This will encourage me to try harder, but realize that although it is going to be tough, I can do it!
4. Include how you are specifically going to achieve this goal in your New Year’s Resolution:
“I am going to lose 15 pounds by changing my diet by adding more fiber and fruits, while lowering total caloric intake.”- Great
“I am going to lose 15 pounds by eating healthier.” – Not specific enough
By including how you are going to achieve your goal means that you have taken some time and thought about the process of your goal. This normally involves research or working with someone. Having the knowledge necessary to achieve your goal is vital prior to starting your goal.
5. Set mini-goals by date to help achieve your resolution:
“I am going to lose 15 pounds in 12 months. By April I will be down 5 pounds. By August I will be down 10 pounds.”- Great
“I am going to gain 20 pounds of muscle this year. It doesn’t matter how it happens.” -No mini-goals to help achieve the resolution
Having mini-goals set periodically help you gauge how well you are doing. If you do not hit your mini-goal, it allows for extra motivation over the next time period. This is probably the most overlooked aspect of achieving your New Year’s resolution.
By setting a measurable, realistic, challenging yet obtainable goals with the specifics of how you will achieve the goal, and mini-goals to help gauge process, anyone can be one of the 8% of people who actually achieve their New Year’s Resolution.
My New Year’s Resolution?
I will begin to diet the first week of January to prepare for the Spartan Race in May. My goal is to complete all the obstacles and run without skipping any event. By March I hope to be down 12 pounds of fat, and by May be down 20 pounds. I also want to be able to run a 5k in 22 minutes before running the Spartan Race. By December 31st, 2015 I would like to be able to bench press 315, deadlift 450, and squat 400 at a weight under 180 pounds.