New Years, the time for those dreaded New Years resolutions. Now the answer to that eternal question: how do we stick to our New Years resolution?
A common resolution we all hear is ‘I want to do more exercise’ or ‘I want to be more active.’ Now, although these are good intentions, what does ‘I want to do more exercise’ actually mean? Run a marathon? Go to the gym 4 times a week? Take the stairs instead of the lift?
And this leads us to what I believe is the biggest barrier to sticking to those New Years resolutions…setting a specific goal. Even better, a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timeframe) goal. Setting these kind of goals gives us something concrete we can aim for, measure our success against, and re-evaluate if we need to.
Specific – I want to achieve 30 minutes of physical activity per day. This sounds a lot more purposeful than ‘I want to do more exercise’, right? Now you have a specific goal, it’s a lot easier to achieve…take the stairs instead of the lift, walk the dog around an extra field, go for a walk on your lunch break…you get the idea!
Measurable – Lets take ‘I want to more exercise’ again. What is ‘more’ exercise? Do you class ‘exercise’ as a gym session, or a 5 minute walk to work? Both are exercise, and both answer are correct, it just depends on your specific goal.
Achievable – Pretty straight forward, setting yourself a goal of running a marathon after one week…probably not achievable! Set weekly goals that are easily achieved, for example taking the stairs instead of the lift in the first week. This way you constantly achieve a target, giving you added incentive to carry on and reach your slightly more challenging target the week after.
Realistic – See above
Time frame – Short, medium and long term targets. Short term targets help you achieve medium term targets, which in turn help you achieve long term targets. Taking the stairs instead of the lift, helps you do 5 minutes more exercise a week. This extra 5 minutes contributes to your 30 minutes of exercise per day, which could be your medium term target.
So, there you have it. Set yourself some specific goals, whatever they may be. From going to the gym, training for a marathon or simply getting moving more, make sure you set yourself a target and find ways to stick to it!
Physically writing down your goals is a great way to keep yourself accountable and track your progress. Get yourself a pedometer and track those extra steps. Get the rest of the family and other friends involved to give you that extra boost and motivation to carry on.
Achieving those short term, achievable goals will give you that motivation to keep going and turn that New Years resolution into a positive, long-term life change.
One final thought…why wait until the 1st January? What’s wrong with today?
Don’t do tomorrow, what you can do today.
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