November and December – the months devoted to eating, drinking, and merriment making – often to excess. Followed by January, the month of New Year’s resolutions, and the reality of too–tight clothes as those decadent holiday meals and treats make their presence known. While nearly half of Americans who usually make New Year’s resolutions (with the number one resolution to lose weight), close to half of those give up on their resolutions after six months with only 8% of them reporting success in achieving their resolutions. Why is it so hard to stick to a plan?
Willpower aside, having S.M.A.R.T. fitness goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic & Rewarding, and Time-Driven – will help you get your physique and fitness on track and move your resolution to results. Grab a friend and double your chances of achieving your goals. Read on for a SMART fitness strategy to see success with your 2017 New Year’s resolutions.
1. Be Specific
Beyond the vague statement of “losing weight,” what else do you want to achieve in the coming year? Shave seconds off your running time? Add mileage to your daily ride? Practice more yoga? Whatever your resolution, getting clear and specific about what it is you wish to accomplish is the place to begin. For instance, your goal might be to take 1 fitness class a week, do 30 crunches a day, add an extra five miles to your bike ride, hit 15 more tennis balls at practice, or bench an additional 20 pounds. Refer to your list often, keep a logbook of progress, hit that goal – and feel successful! Reinforcing that feeling of accomplishment will keep you coming back for more.
2. Make it Measurable
Losing weight is a pretty common goal this time of year. Get closer to success by making the goal measurable. For example, you want to lose that all of that extra holiday cheer in six weeks, but have you given any thought as to how? Your list of New Year’s resolutions should also include strategies to help you achieve them. For instance:
Lose 10 Pounds by February 15
- Kick the daily pumpkin spiced latte, replace with a green smoothie
- Bring healthy, homemade lunches to work 4 days a week
- Get to the Village for yoga three times a week
Ok, right now you want to lose 50 pounds, have 6-pack abs, or buns of steel. These are all wonderful by-products of a healthy fitness lifestyle – but Rome wasn’t built in a day. Even the most devoted fitness fanatics know that in order to make a gym routine stick, you have to ease into it and with consistency it becomes a habit. Focus on taking small steps that ultimately help you reach your greater goal. Setting a goal to get to the gym two times a week might not feel like a goal that will net you your desired result, but it will seem less daunting and more achievable than trying to get to the gym eight times a week. Making goals that you can more easily achieve reinforces your positive feedback mechanism and keeps you coming back for more!
4. Realistic & Rewarding
If you’ve never trotted further than to catch the bus, don’t resolve to run a marathon by Valentine’s Day. Start slowly and allow your body to adjust to these wonderful new changes. Try running ¼ or ½ mile, or even 2-3 minutes at a time. When you can run that distance or time with ease, increase your distance, time or speed incrementally and keep track of your progress. Reward yourself with some cool fitness-tracking technology, new attire or a wearable device. It won’t be long before your endurance shows up – then it’s off to the races.
Expecting specific, and measurable, results within an ambiguous timeframe is a recipe for failure. Break your year into quarters then check in on your bottom line of achievements every three months. Keep yourself accountable to your goals with a timeframe and strategy for reaching them. This approach helps you see your progress, as well as what’s working and what’s not. If you miss a deadline that you’ve set for yourself, don’t fret! Setbacks happen – but what matters is getting back up and trying again.
Whatever your New Year’s resolutions are, a steady gym habit may lose its appeal after a while, so frame your fitness goals as a pathway to lifelong health and happiness. No goal is too small! Every step you take toward improving your health and fitness moves you along the pathway to a better you. You can get a jump start on your New Year’s resolutions at the Village – we’re here to help you meet and exceed your fitness goals! Stop by for a free VIP Trial Membership and meet with a personal trainer to see how you can take steps towards a healthier you.