Today, Jules shares five resolution pitfalls and how to avoid them:
You know the concept: a commitment to a personal project or goal. You know the time: the New Year. You know the problem: it rarely happens! And that's typically because people tend to set the bar high too high and too vague. This year, make a resolution to keep your resolution and actually get there by setting goals that are realistic and tangible. Here are 5 resolution pitfalls and how -- as a trainer and social worker -- I suggest avoiding them.
Resolution #1: "I will hit the gym way more."
Reality: No you won't. Not for long anyway. This isn't a clear enough goal and thus sets you up for failure because you aren't even sure what you're trying to accomplish. Plus, you could end up overdoing it; for example, going to the gym seven days a week could result in overuse injury and fatigue.
Solution: Modify your goal to something concrete such as, "I will be active five days a week" or "I will go to the gym four days a week." Be real about what other commitments you have -- and if one of your gym workouts has to be replaced with a hike with your family, give yourself credit! Schedule a week's worth of workouts at a time so that they become non-negotiable meetings.
Resolution #2: "I'm not sharing my resolution."
Reality: Not sharing will make it easier to give up on your resolution.
Solution: Sharing your goals and progress is a great way to keep yourself motivated and stay accountable. Whether you do it online (e.g., via Facebook, Twitter, or Daily Mile) or by engaging a friend as a workout buddy, be clear about the changes you want to make and why you want to make them.
Resolution #3: "I'm going to lose thirty pounds."
Reality: This is a really big goal. First consider, do you need to lose 30 pounds, or will 30 pounds really only contribute to making you miserable and cranky?
Solution: Set a measurable and clear goal. Thirty pounds by when? And better yet, rather than the number, focus on the "how." How will you get there? How will you change your diet? My general suggestion is to EAT FROM THE EARTH. More protein, more veggies, fewer carbs, less sugar. Keep a food journal. Do not go for an extreme diet. In fact, do not diet at all. Look for healthy food and food changes that you can incorporate into your lifestyle. Make it work for you. And remember that it isn't always going to be fun. It takes a lot of hard work to get effective results.
Resolution #4: "I'm going to lose weight, quit drinking, get in shape, run a marathon, compete in a body building competition, and win back my ex-boyfriend."
Reality: There are too many goals going on here, and some of them are, well, rather extreme.
Solution: Start slow and tackle one thing at a time. If you are a novice runner and you decide you are going to run a marathon, that is a huge goal. So, that should really be the one goal you focus on. Getting there might include some bits and pieces of other goals (e.g., quit drinking), but keep your focus on the central goal.
Resolution #5: "I've never been into yoga, but I'm going to take up Bikram yoga because my sister does it and loves it."
Reality: You aren't necessarily staying true to yourself.
Solution: Remember that the reason to make a resolution should be because it is important to you, not someone else. Pursue something that holds meaning for you instead of following a current trend that you have no interest in. A resolution is a means to get to an improved version of you.
Sweating is a great way to begin the year, and when the going gets tough, don't quit. No matter what change you are trying to make: daily stretching, saving money, de-stressing techniques -- allow yourself wiggle room. You don't need to be on track all the time, every time, 'til the end of time! It is more about how you amend the mistake and proceed. In order to drop 30 pounds, you first have to drop one. In order to save $3000, you first have to save $1. Monitor and recognize the smaller successes along the way. Every possible "good" eating experience of your day starts with one bite. Begin with a healthy and smart bite.
Making resolutions is an ancient and worldy practice; breaking them is an even more widespread practice that we can taper by reflecting on who we want to be and doing it with the best intentions of health and happiness.
Image credit: akeeris via FreeDigitalPhotos.net