The truth behind the saying:
“new year, new me”
It’s that time of year again, and I am sure you have all heard your share of the saying “new year, new me”. Let’s face it though, how often do you actually hear of someone sticking to their New Year’s resolution and accomplishing it? I’d say it’s as rare as seeing the mythical Sasquatch. Okay, maybe not that unlikely but you get my drift.
As a fitness professional, I am far too familiar with the notion of people wanting to lose those extra pounds after Christmas or get in better shape in the New Year. The problem with people’s New Year’s resolution is that they often approach it the wrong way and are too aggressive with their goals, therefore not making them realistic or attainable. Inevitably this leads to failure, which is usually accompanied with negative thinking and behaviours. Often those behaviours lead to the adverse effects of their New Year’s resolution and set them back further from where they actually began.
In order to help them achieve their goal I get them to follow a few easy steps to stay on track. Whether your goal is to lose weight, save money or quit smoking, these steps can help you set an attainable and realistic goal that you can and will succeed in.
Write down your outcome goal
Most people only think of their goals but don’t actually write them down. By writing it down, you are writing a personal contract to yourself and making a plan of action. An outcome goal is the main objective one hopes to accomplish. You should also place your written goal somewhere you will see it often such as posting it in your bedroom or having it in your wallet. By doing this, you will continually be reminded of your goal and it will keep you focused on your vision.
Goals should be specific, measurable and realistic.
Be as specific as you can when writing your goals down; don’t be vague. Make sure your goals are measurable, so that you can track your progress. Furthermore, make sure your goals are realistic and not over the top to encourage success. Adding a timeline to your goal will help you know exactly when you should complete your goal, consequently forcing you to act on it.
For example, toning up or losing fat are not specific enough. Dropping your body fat percentage by 4% in six months or losing 5 lbs in one month are specific, measurable and realistic goals.
Your goal should have significance
It’s nice to have a goal but if it has no significance to you or your life then it probably won’t be completed. Having a goal that has a personal significance helps motivate the individual in some ways one can’t describe. For instance, someone who wants to lose weight because they have been teased all their life about how they look will most likely be more motivational and have more drive to complete their goal then someone who wants to look good only for those summer photos.
Write down behaviour goals to accompany your outcome goal
In addition to an outcome goal, write down some smaller goals that will help you achieve your outcome goal. These “smaller goals” are referred to as behavior goals which are the stepping stones towards your outcome goal. These behavior changes or habits should be something you are 100% confident you can complete. If you’re not sure you can complete them with ease, tone it down and start smaller.
For example, if someone’s outcome goal is to lose 5 lbs of fat in the next 6 months, then a behaviour goal could be to commit to doing a minimum of 3 hours of physical activity per week for the next 6 months. However, if the individual is not confident that they can do 3 hours a week, they should maybe start at 1 or 2 hours.
One habit at a time
Rather than trying to attempt a complete lifestyle overhaul, start slow and take it one step at a time. Focus on tackling one small habit at a time and once it becomes second nature, add another that is slightly more difficult or time consuming.
Let’s use the example of someone who is not meeting their recommended intake of fruits and vegetables as well as their recommended intake of protein in their diet. Rather than trying to take own both habits of eating more vegetables and more protein at once, they could simplify it to eating one vegetable at every meal. Once this habit becomes easy, take the next step to help increase their protein intake.
Tell family and friends about your goal
Telling others about your goals will keep you accountable and will also give you social support. Let’s face it, nobody wants their family and friends to see them fail, therefore this adds a bit of urgency and motivation to get it done. Since your family and friends will know what you are trying to achieve, they will also be able to help you by not put you in situations that will compromise your goals.
So there you have it, by following these quick and easy steps you will be well on your way to accomplishing your New Year’s resolution. If you need additional help don’t be afraid to contact us to book an initial assessment!
Paul Bissonnette B. Kin, CEP, CSCS, FMSC, Pn1
Berardi, J., & Andrews, R. (2015). The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition Certification Manual (Second ed.). Precision Nutrition Inc.