Articles, Mind

January Resolutions

I don’t know about you, but I love resolutions, planning, and goals. I’m truly a goal-oriented person. I love setting goals in all areas of my life as they give me direction, focus, and a sense of purpose. I also think resolutions give us hope that the future will be a little different, a bit better in some way than the present.

Sadly, however, we all know how New Years’ Resolutions tend to go: Jane sets New Years’ Resolutions, Jane tries really hard the first week or month of the year, then by March, Jane has either given up on or forgotten said resolutions, and nothing has changed. So, what can we do to set resolutions that stick? Here are 5 tips that may help.

  1. Turn your goals into systems.
    My dad introduced these concepts to me when he handed me this article by James Clear. What’s the difference between a goal and a system, you ask? To summarize, a goal is the result while the system is the process. If the goal is to write a book this year, the system could be to write 2 pages each day. I don’t know about you, but planning to write 2 pages each day sounds a lot less overwhelming than thinking about sitting down to write a whole book. I’m also a lot more likely to procrastinate a big endeavor like writing a book than the little task of writing a few pages. Lastly, in focusing on the system, every day has the potential to be deemed a success. In focusing on systems, we commit ourselves to a process, not an end result, which  reduces stress over the outcome, produces more chances for success, eliminates the need for immediate gratification,  and enhances our enjoyment of all the moments along the way.
  2. Plan small changes.
    With a new year comes the desire to make a fresh start with drastic lifestyle changes.
    pendulum-clipart-105700_06801_68
    I like the analogy of a pendulum to describe the effects of big changes. The more change you aim for, the higher the pendulum is raised and the greater the rebound force will be swinging toward the other side (the old habits). Instead of making big changes all at once, make 1-2 small changes every week, 2 weeks, or month. For example, if your goal is to lose weight (or more accurately, fat) through dieting this new year, instead making the drastic change to an immaculately “clean” diet of chicken and asparagus 5 times a day, just make 1-2 small changes in your diet per week that align with the overall goal like this:

    • Week 1: Track your food intake each day
    • Week 2: Track food intake each day + Eat 1 gram of protein per pound of your body weight each day
    • Week 3: Track food intake each day + Eat 1 gram of protein per pound of your body weight each day + Eat 3 servings of vegetables daily
  3. Start now and keep going!
    There is no need to wait until next Monday, the 1st of February, or next January 1st to start working toward a goal. Further, if you mess up, forgive yourself and keep moving toward your goal.
  4. Consistency is Key!
    It doesn’t matter how many times you hit the gym, how many healthy meals you eat, or how many pages of your book you write this week if it’s not sustainable. If you hit the gym 7 days this week and are so exhausted/sore/injured that you don’t go at all next week, what was the point? Set yourself up for success by setting goals/systems you can be consistent with, even if they seem small. Overtime, the progress you make will add up!
  5. Plan to Reassess!
    It is said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. I recommend reassessing your progress toward your goals at least once a month and no more than every 2 weeks. Is your diet working? Are you seeing the results you anticipated? Do you constantly find yourself wanting to write more than 2 pages each day? Is going to the gym 5 days each week and working out 2 hours each session too much for your body? When setting a goal, I put my reassessment date on my calendar and then put that idea out of my mind. Until that assessment date, I’m committed 100% to the plan I’ve set.

As an example of these strategies applied (and to keep myself accountable), here are my January Goals:

  • Career Goals
    • Blog: Get it running, gain followers
      • System: Write an article every 2 days. Plan articles for the month on calendar ahead of time. Link on Facebook and Instagram. Make card and hand out to gym friends and clients
      • Reassessment: 1 month, January 31st. Average views? Was it manageable to write a post every 2 days?
    • Training: Start training clients, give educated advice
      • System: Read training research and articles by other trainers I trust 30 minutes daily
      • Reassessment: 4 weeks Feb 1st. Is it manageable reading that much? Could I read more? Am I learning useful information this way? Are my clients satisfied with my coaching and obtaining desired results?
    • Doctorate of Physical Therapy Programs: Get accepted!
      • System: Maintain correspondence with the 20 schools I’ve applied to.
      • Reassessment: April 1st. I should hear back from all the schools I’ve applied to by then.
  • Fitness Goals
    • Diet: Goal is to lose fat
      • System: Track food intake and meet protein goals (wk 1). Hit macro goals daily (wk2-4). Plan and prep meals ahead of time. Measure/Track progress with weight, pics, circumference measurements weekly.
      • Reassessment: 1 month, Feb 1st. Am I losing fat? Am I able to stick with my macros consistently? What can I do better?
    • Workouts: Establish a good base of strength, mobility, and aerobic conditioning so next month I can start learning olympic lifts!
      • System: 4 day lift split (upper body, lower body, full body A, full body B), at least 1 cardio session with high intensity intervals per week, daily mobility/stretching work on areas with issues (more on this later)
      • Reassessment: 1 month, Jan 31st. Change workout to Olympic Lifting progression. Weekly Reassessment for mobility/stretch work: January 11th.

What kind of goals and/or systems are you working on this month?

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