by Colin Butler
Vertex Education Ambassador, Fitness
New Year’s resolutions have the potential to lead to beneficial shifts in desired behaviors. However, too often, the momentum toward the goal slows and then drops entirely until the next year. If you made a resolution, here are six mistakes to avoid if success is the ultimate goal.
Mistake 1: Not Making SMART Goals/ Goals are Too Broad
Most people start off their new year with exciting but vague goals. Getting fit. Eating Healthier. Losing Weight. There are about a million ways to do those things and it’s easy to get overwhelmed and lose steam without some detailed direction. Try defining your goals with SMART – ensuring they are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. For instance, instead of a vague goal like wanting to move more, set the goal to walk for 30 minutes every day or set a step goal for the day instead.
Mistake 2: Not Having an Accountability Network
Without consequences tied to your goals, excuses and setbacks are a matter of when, not if. It starts with something like “I’ll just skip one day this week” to “Well, I skipped one day this week, another day won’t hurt” until you look back and you haven’t exercised in a month.
Find an accountabili-buddy! It can be a family member, or online fitness group to establish regular check-ins or it can be setting exercise dates with a partner to help keep you on track. (For anyone motivated by external support, share goals on social media with progress updates and next steps to reach your goal.)
Mistake 3: Making Too Many Resolutions
“The man that chases two rabbits catches neither.”
Attempting more than one goal at a time can lead to disappointment. Focus on one or two achievable goals and gradually build on them. Success with one goal can pave the way for incorporating additional, related goals over time. There shouldn’t be any rush in reaching your goals (easier said than done, I know), and focusing on smaller, more attainable goals can help you stay consistent.
Try using FOCUS (Follow One Course Until Successful)! If your goal has multiple parts to it, break them up into mini goals. Maybe choose one goal a month and put all your focus into it. When your mind is wandering around from goal to goal you actually get less done.
Mistake 4: Not Making a REALISTIC Plan
“A goal without a plan is a wish”
Setting a goal without an action plan is kind of like constructing a building without setting the foundation or bringing in the right tools for the job. Develop a daily action plan, including weekly and monthly milestones, to guide your progress and give you an idea of your success / where you are on your goals.
Breaking down your goal into smaller, short-term objectives helps maintain focus and a sense of accomplishment especially on the tough days when you feel discouraged.
Mistake 5: Not Making Your Resolution Fun for You
Effective goals should be both challenging and exciting. If a goal feels too difficult, consider making a change to your plan so that it interests you. Just because someone else has success with one way of exercising doesn’t mean you have to do the same thing if you don’t enjoy it.
For example, if regular gym sessions are unappealing, try something else. Go for a hike, start attending a dance class, or join an online workout program! There are all kinds of options out there if your workouts seem dull or unappealing, and the more you enjoy it, the more likely you are to keep it up.
Mistake 6: Not Celebrating Your Progress
It’s tough to stay motivated if you don’t have anything to look forward to. Have you ever set a goal to, say, hit a personal record on a lift and gotten really close? Maybe you’ll hit that PR today, and knowing your goal is THIS CLOSE makes you more excited to go back to the gym and try again.
Celebrate the small victories! If you forget to do it can lead to feeling like you’ve hit a plateau and may make the workouts feel stale or uninspiring. Take time to recognize and reward your hard work, although, maybe avoid eating that slice of cake for every victory or something a little more fun). Instead, consider treating yourself to new workout gear, a massage, pedicure, haircut, or spa day instead.
If your resolution needs some adjustment – just make the adjustment and keep going! Revisit your goals frequently and adjust as necessary to make it last all year!