I love the holiday season. It’s the time of year when people reflect upon the year behind them and begin to set goals for the year ahead. It doesn’t matter if you made great progress this year or you feel stuck exactly where you were a year ago—a new year provides the opportunity to restart and reinvent your life. You can begin again. While I encourage people to reinvent themselves toward a healthier life at ANY time of the year, a new year often provides the jolt or wake-up call people need to change their lives. Here’s how to refresh your fitness goals for the year ahead!
1. Before You Make Resolutions, Do A Year In Review
It always amazes me that people move right to the “beating themselves up phase” for what they didn’t do in the year past instead of acknowledging the smart choices they made as well. Did you become a runner? Did you move more and sit less throughout the year? Jot it down. Maybe you got really good at making time for fun this year or eating colorfully with fruits and veggies. Or was this the year where you changed your negative thoughts to positive? Before you look to the year ahead, take stock of your wins. This little activity is a good reminder to slow down and appreciate all of your wins and use that confidence to fuel what you still want to do. That’s much healthier than berating yourself, don’t you think?
2. Make Your Resolutions
Once you have your list of your triumphs of for the year, make a list of your goals or resolutions for the next year. I don’t think this is something you should wait on until December 31st. Start now and start with the end in mind. Advance your mind to the end of next year—what do you need to accomplish to make you thrilled with your own success? Thinking about how amazing you will feel after you achieve important goals, can help you get specific and define what you want those goals to be.
3. Avoid Any Comparisons To Other People’s Resolutions
You are making solutions for yourself, not for anyone else’s approval. Run your own race, wear your own clothes, and stay away from that life-sucking thief, comparisons. Then make certain you are setting your intentions with as much specificity as you can, and not just goals (goals are down the road and intentions are NOW). Make sure your intentions are in full agreement with yourself, not what someone else is telling you that you “must, ought, have to” do.
4. Break Your Big Goals Down Into Smaller, Actionable Tasks
It’s almost become cliché that New Year’s resolutions fall apart mid-January. To avoid throwing in the towel two weeks in, come up with a plan for your resolutions. Too often people give up on their goals because they are overwhelmed. Say, for example, you want to lose 50 pounds. That’s a great resolution, but what’s your plan for achieving it? It’s much more effective to break that big goal down into action steps. How does this sound instead? “I am going to lose 50 pounds by joining an online workout community, by cooking healthy meals at home, keeping a food journal and getting an accountability partner.” Listing your actions steps formulates a clear plan of action for your health. No longer will you wonder what you should do on a particular day—just follow your plan!
5. Renew Your “Why”
I don’t expect you to wake up every day with the motivation to run your first marathon. It’s just not realistic to expect you will leap out of bed daily eager to exercise. Life sometimes interferes with the best of intentions. On those days when you’d love to skip exercise, load up on unhealthy carbs, or eat sweets just before you go to bed, you will need your WHY—the reason behind each of your goals. Your WHY is specific to you and it’s what motivates you. One person might be motivated by wanting to wear a size four pair of jeans while someone else is motivated by seeing new muscles form. Capture what motivates you most so you can remind yourself of it regularly—especially on those days when you really need it.
6. Make Sure YOU Show Up On Your Schedule This Year.
Sometimes my schedule is so crazy with weekly travel, new projects, teaching fitness classes and my family that I don’t know if I am coming or going. I know you can relate. Yet no matter how busy we all are, there’s no excuse for not putting YOU on your schedule. Not putting yourself on your schedule is the equivalent of saying you don’t matter. Resolve to devote time in the year ahead to do the things you love the most. As the saying goes: If not now, when?
7. Let Setbacks Fuel Your Motivation.
Finally, everyone has a day now and then when the best plans don’t get executed. Don’t focus on setback, but rather on the comeback. There may be good value in a step back to move forward with more fuel, once again.
Someone once observed that “A New year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.” There are going to be thousands of tips that sprout in the coming days to help you make better New Year Resolutions. That’s the problem. If all of the recycled tips worked they wouldn’t go in one year and out the other.