Did you know that studies have been done of the success rate of people and their New Year’s Resolutions? Would you be surprised if I told you that 88% of them ended in failure? Of that, 71% were busted in the first two weeks. By the time you are reading this, there is a good chance that if you made some sort of a fitness/health goal to change your life you have either given up, gone back to your old ways, never got started, or all of the above. Most of the time people fail at accomplishing a goal of this sort because they set themselves up for failure from the start. This article is going to go over some easy tips and strategies to set and keep yourself on track with goal setting and allow for you to be successful.
First and foremost you need to set achievable realistic goals and benchmarks to keep yourself on progress. When I was a personal trainer I would try to do goal setting with each new client and sometimes it would be more work than others. The best were the ones who come in and say ” I want to get in great shape”. Really? That could not be more vague. How are you measuring this goal? Body fat reduction? Weight loss? Mile time? etc. If you want to be successful you need to have concrete goals. Saying you want to lose x amount of pounds by a certain date gives you something tangible to keep track of. For me the best way to keep track of a goal like this is to write it down somewhere where you can see it frequently and be able to revisit and adjust when needed.
Now that you have this concrete goal written down my next suggestion is to create benchmarks or smaller goals to keep yourself on track. These are great for tracking progress and you can create as many or as few as you need. While I was a thrower in college, I would have certain distances I wanted to throw by certain meets in order to keep me on track with my goals. These were key in tracking progress and fixing problems that I may have had during the season. Benchmarks also help a great deal with weight loss goals. Just saying you want to be at a certain weight by a certain time can be hard to track. So saying in order to get there saying I want to lose a pound a week or by this date I need to be here to stay on track will hold you more accountable towards that goal.
Now just like with everything that goes on with life there will be setbacks. The key is to not freak out and give up right away. Plateaus happen, injuries pop up, life gets in the way, but the key is to find ways to work around that. I will guarantee you that whatever you have down on paper as a plan will need to be adjusted at one time or another. The thing is you need to be flexible and work around whatever trouble comes your way and keep moving on. There are only a certain number of things you actually have control so focus on those and don’t bring unnecessary stress on yourself.
To go along with busting plateaus I want to point out the importance of resources. With the way technology is today, there is no shortage of resources for you to get your hands on. The internet has tons of articles, social media can connect you to people and places that are doing similar things or have accomplished what you are trying to accomplish, and there is probably at least one book or magazine that has info or tips to help you get what you need to get done. I refuse to accept the excuse “I don’t know where to start” anymore. Google whatever it is you want to do and there’s your start. If anything, there is probably a surplus of resources for you today.
In order to accomplish a goal I think another key component is having support. This can be anything from a group of people/partner to train with or someone who you can talk to and is your reality check when things get rough. Some people work better alone but having someone to bounce ideas off of every now and then again can be just as big of a help. Get some sort of support around you, but don’t fall into the trap of solely relying on them for motivation. You need to be able to get yourself going a majority of times, your support is there for those times when you feel like stopping or that you can’t go on.
My last big piece of advice is KISS (keep it simple stupid). Things do not need to be complicated, so why make them? If you are trying to squat 500 pounds, nothing is going to help you get there but to squat. Sure there are different training methods and accessories to add to your program to help increase your squat, but when you tear it down to the core you need to simply squat and squat often. The same goes for any weight loss goal. There is no magical diet that will take the weight off and keep it off. Doing some form of exercise every day, watching what you eat, and being consistent with it will get you where you need to be. Don’t make things harder than they need to be so keep it simple and do what you can.
Setting a goal and accomplishing it does not need to be as hard as you might make it. Use these tips and make sure you fall in the 12% that do succeed with their resolutions.