Did you make any New Year Resolutions? Have you kept them so far? Coming to the end of week two of the new year its a sad fact that many of us have already veered off the course we set ourselves. Why is this? Why do we set them every year and find ourselves running out of steam by February if not the middle of January? Well do not despair. I am going to tell you why your New Year resolutions have proved a bit flaky in the past and give you some guidance on tweaking them so that you have the best chance of achieving what you really want in 2007.
What was your new year resolution then? Keep fit? Lose weight? Drink less? Eat more healthily? Chances are it was one of these - as statistics show that actually we are all trying to hit the same goals. Whether it was one of these top 4 or something completely different, if 2 or 3 words were the sum total of your New Year Resolution then I'm afraid to say you were pretty well doomed to fail.
Why? Well lets take 'get fit' as an example? If you set this as your New Year Resolution or goal for 2007, as your coach I would start by asking you the following questions:
- What does 'get fit' mean to you exactly?
- How fit do you want to be? How fit are you now?
- How will you know when you are fit?
- What activities will you do to this?
- How often will you do these activities?
- How long will you do these activities for? and so on
Get the picture? What you really need to do is set yourself a SMART goal. And before you groan at the thought of transferring the SMART goal model from your business life to your private life, let me tell you it really does work. I know, I have testing masses of goal setting models (and acronyms) and SMART just about encapsulates the all core elements you need.
For the uninitiated, let me recap what SMART stands for:
- S specific
- M easurable
- A chievable
- R ealistic
- T imeframed
Achievable and Realistic are pretty obvious, so I won't dwell on these. But lets look at the other 3.
Specific. You can see where all the those questions were leading now. How fit do you want to be, exactly? How are you going to achieve this, exactly? Only you can decide and it will be helpful if you can determine how fit you are now. Which brings us on the hard measures
Measures. How will you know whether you have achieved your goal? What are you looking for? So you join a gym; How many times do you intend to go? What are you going to do there? How will you measure if this is working towards your fitness goal? Well first you need to determine were you are now and this might mean a fitness assessment at the gym or an online questionnaire on the activity or sedentary level of your current life style. Armed with this information you can then go on to decide what is an achievable goal to aim for. Your measures can be related to your baseline info from your assessment/questionnaire, as well as against the volume of your activity.
Timeframed. This one is vital. Yes you need a big goal target date. 'I want to be fit by December 2007'. But don't forget all the journey goals along the way. You should set yourself monthly or even weekly goals, which then become realistic steps towards achieving that big destination goal.
Let me give you an example of my own fitness goal for 2007. My baseline data is weight, cholesterol level, muscle to fat ratio and I am already quite fit - level 3. My goal by December 2007 is to achieve level 4 fitness, lose 6lbs in weight, drop my bad cholesterol by 0.5 points and improve my muscle to fat ration by 4%. I am going to do this by; increasing my weight training (Body Pump) from 2 to 3 sessions per week from January 2007, introduce a new fitness class (Body Combat) once a week from March 2007, do at least 10,000 steps per day, every day from January 2007. To monitor the last one, I will be wearing a pedometer for a few days every month to get a feel for 10,000 steps (but I actually already know that it equates to about 4 miles a day, depending level of other activity). My journey goals include the ones I've just outlined plus checking weight and cholesterol levels are on target at the end of every quarter.
So this all adds up to a bit more than 'get fit in 2007'. It didn't take me long to set this goal. I would encourage you to do the same right now. Take you top New Year Resolution and turn it into a SMART goal NOW! Email me at email@example.com if you need any help.
More inspiration can be found at the BBC website. Radio 4's 'All in the Mind' programme ran a feature on the 'Psychology of New Year Resolutions' earlier this week. You can read more and listen to it at
And you can take part in Professor Richard Wiseman's online experiment on the psychology of New Year resolutions at https://www.psy.herts.ac.uk/wiseman/resolutions/opening.html
And finally, it you want to check out your fitness levels, my cardiologist recommends the fire service fitness assessment at https://www.fireservice.co.uk/fitness/assess.php