Halloween candies, Thanksgiving feasts, and Christmas sweets have given us plenty to eat for the past couple months and have, unfortunately, been wreaking havoc on our bodies. Now with New Year’s Eve and Day quickly approaching, it’s time for one last hurrah before the proclamation of change, as old as the turning of the years itself, hits center stage: the New Year’s resolution.
A quick google search gave me a Forbes article which states only about 8% of people fulfilled their New Year’s resolution from year’s beginning to end. Almost all who make a resolution, as well intentioned as they may be, will ultimately fail. Never fear, though, readers. Below is a fool proof plan to make sure you nail that resolution from “Oh, oh, oh, another year already?” to “Ho, ho, ho!” all over again.
The first issue people run into is making their resolution specific. People, perhaps even yourself, may resolve something like, “I want to get involved in a gym in 2014.” You mean well, and you may even have a plan, but what does “get involved” really mean? Find something specific. “I want to increase my bench press” is a lot better. More steps need to be taken to achieve this goal, but we’re going in the right direction.
The second issue is the attainability. What if your goal is to go to the gym five times a week, but you work 80 hours a week, have a family, and live an hour away from the nearest gym? And even if you are within driving distance of a gym and your social and professional life can withstand an hour of exercise a night, the “get into a gym” resolution is too vague. You may want to bench press 300 pounds or do 20 pullups, but if you can’t do one pullup or can’t bench press the bar, these resolutions are doomed to fail. So, make it attainable. Put your resolution, and yourself, in a position where it can be done. “I want to add (X number) or more pounds this year to my bench press” is good. It’s difficult enough you’ll need to remain dedicated all year, but not so far that you can’t reach it unless you’re Mr. Olympia, Phil Heath.
Finally, the main reason we fail is accountability. Going to the gym to work on your bench press is awesome. but what happens in Mid-May, when the sun begins to shine and all you want to do is be outside. It’s easy to remain dedicated to a goal that involves staying inside when it’s (-30), but what about when other factors step into play? Get a buddy. Someone who will go to the gym with you, remind you why you’re there and not let you quit until the resolution has been met. Keeping an accountability partner allows someone else to get inside your head — know your reasoning for your resolution — share in your successes and be there to get you back on your feet during the set backs. I’m not saying you can’t fail with a resolution buddy, but it is a lot harder to give up when someone else at your side pushing you along.
Back in December of 2010, I told myself, “No pop for 2011.” I liked it because it was specific enough that I didn’t really have room for excuses, but broad enough for myself to still enjoy other flavored drinks, like juice and iced tea. I’m not myself a beer drinker so I really had no worry with that beverage. I was able to keep it with help from others who took up the challenge to keep me honest and I noticed significant improvements. I no longer had headaches from caffeine withdrawl, my muscles recovered faster when I spent time in the gym, and I didn’t feel as slugglish. On New Year’s Day 2011, after a full year of not drinking pop, I opened up a Mountain Dew and chugged it. IT BURNED. All the way down my throat it hurt. Now, I will drink a pop but I don’t need it in my life. I knew the pros outweighed the cons, the resolution was doable, and I had a great support system helping me all year round.
This year, I’ve decided to go with another health based resolution. Although a little nervous, I have resolved to run 2014 miles within the 2014 calendar year – that’s 5.5 miles a day for those doing the math.
While I don’t at all expect everyone, or anyone for that matter, to follow in my resolution, I hope you make one. Keep it attainable and make it specific. Find a buddy or two, or 10, to help keep you on track and always remind yourself why you committed to the resolution in the first place. Have a great 2014 everyone, and good luck on your resolutions!
Photos via: Google