Yes, 2015 is upon us and while it doesn’t exactly look like Robert Zemeckis envisioned it in the movie Back To The Future Part 2, (people are not dressing like Griff Tannen or riding flying DeLoreans around town) it is still a new year and that means a lot of people will start making New Year’s Resolutions.
The origins of New Year’s Resolutions go back as far as the Babylonians. Back then people would make promises to their gods to pay off their debts and to return things that they borrowed.
Over the years this practice has evolved and today people make resolutions about all sorts of topics that they find important. These can range from improving relationships or finances, all the way to being more positive or assertive.
Most people choose resolutions that will improve themselves in some way while some set more altruistic goals but the most common New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. Being “fit” and eating “healthy” are also very popular.
Are New Year’s resolutions necessary for getting in shape? Not at all, especially if you already have goals in place or are following a plan.
But, if being in a new year will help to motivate you to come up with goals or to get serious with the goals you already have, then making a New Year’s resolution may the kick in the butt you need to get started or to reinvigorate your determination.
So what can you do to set yourself up for success this year? Read on for some tips to help you make 2015 a great one.
Don’t Be Like the Rest
Most people who make New Year’s Resolutions start with good intentions, but fail. That doesn’t mean you need to be one of them.
There are numerous reasons why people don’t reach their goal or give up on it too easily on it. An Australian website, finder.com.au, did a study on New Year’s resolutions and examined why most people don’t succeed.
I’ll cover some of the more popular reasons people flop so that you don’t make the same mistakes.
Setting Unrealistic Goals
The most common reason that people say they do not accomplish their goals is because they set the bar too high. About 35% of those surveyed said their goals were unrealistic.
Setting goals that are realistic and attainable can help your confidence and aid in your motivation.
Having a resolution that is overly ambitious can cause people to give up to easily when their benchmarks are not met. While it may not look as good on paper, a conservative goal can help people work harder toward achieving it.
When setting goals, take into account the time you are able to dedicate to achieving them as well as the other circumstances in your life. Make sure the goals you set align with the other things that you have going on in your life.
Setting conservative goals can you can reach will create small wins that create a habit of winning, while setting lofty goals that are impossible to reach will only set up failure.
Not Tracking Progress
Knowing where you are at and how you are progressing is one of the most important steps in goal setting. Most people already know this but 33% of those surveyed said they failed because they did not track their progress.
Not knowing where you are at is like is like being on a ship on the ocean and not having a GPS or knowing how to use the stars to navigate. There is really no way to know if you are on course or if you have drifted miles away from where you should be.
Tracking your progress will let you know how you are doing. If you aren’t moving in the right direction you can change your plan so you don’t continue steer of course. If you are moving ahead successfully then this can reaffirm what you are doing which can provide a huge psychological boost.
If you are keeping track of a fitness goal, body weight is a common measurement to take. You can also monitor other things such as your body fat percentage, circumference measurements, the weight you are able to lift, how many reps you can perform and a bunch of other things.
Taking photos at regular intervals is a great way to track progress if looking a certain way is your goal.
For nutrition goals a few things you can track include the amount of calories you consume each day, your macros (protein, carbs and fats,) or whether you are eating or avoiding a certain type of food.
What you choose to track should be relevant to your goal and be a good indicator of your success.
Having No Plan to Achieve Their Goals
If you set a goal and have no plan on how you are going to achieve it, it’s not really a goal, it’s just a wish.
If I was going to drive to an unfamiliar place I would not go there without a map or GPS. That just seems silly, but that is how a lot of people are with their resolutions. 16% of those surveyed said they will attempt their resolutions without a plan.
If you want to increase your bench by X amount this year you can’t just work out once in a while and hope that it will go up. You need to have a program that will progressively add more weight until you get to where you want to be. Some programs will work better than others but the point is that having a program is better than having nothing.
The same thing goes for someone that wants to lose weight. You can’t just hope that it will happen. You need to take action. You can change what you eat. You can change the amount you eat. You can start to lift weights. You can do a spinning class every week. There are many changes that you can make and some of the changes will be more effective than others.
Even if your strategy is not the best plan in the history of the planet, it is still better than someone who has no plan. So know what you want and come up with a way to get there. If you need help coming up with a plan ask someone who has experience in that area.
Forgetting about their Resolution
Most people will start out all gung-ho with their New Year’s Resolution. They are committed. They are determined. Nothing is going to stop them.
Then life gets in the way. Other things start to become more important and the resolution is put on the back burner until it’s simply forgotten.
If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. Almost 25% of people surveyed said they forgot about their New Year’s resolution.
Creating a habit can help you to keep your focus on your goal. This can be always tracking your calories or always going to the gym at the same time. It usually takes a few weeks to make or break a habit. After that it should become routine.
Another tip to help you remember your resolution is to tell other people. When the people around you know what you are working toward they can remind you of what you should or should not be doing.
Making Too Many Resolutions
Around 10% of people who were surveyed said they did not accomplish their resolution because they made too many of them.
Having more than one goal is not necessarily a bad thing if you have the time and resources that you can devote to accomplishing them.
This goes back to setting goals that are realistic though. Set yourself up for success with goals that you can accomplish but will push you.
In most cases it will be more effective to have one goal so you can focus all your attention to one thing and not be fragmented. An example of this is when people want to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. While that is possible to some extent, it is much more effective to do one first and then the other.
There may be a lot of things you want to accomplish, but having one goal at a time will allow you to devote your energy to the most important thing. Once you finish it then you can work your way down the list.
Tips for Achieving Your Resolution
In addition to the tips above, here are some other things you can do to help you help you to reach you goals.
The best thing you can do is to take action and be consistent with it. Most people can eat “clean” for a few days. Most people can work out for a few weeks. Any worthwhile goal will take a lot longer than that to reach.
Any fitness goal will require consistency with your nutrition, workouts and rest. Don’t be complacent with these things. Make positive changes that become part of your lifestyle and aren’t just a chore for you.
If you have trouble with being consistent, try scheduling things that you are having trouble making room for. These can include your meals, workouts, stretching and even sleep.
Share Goals with friends and family
Letting those around you know what you want to do can improve your rate of success.
Announcing what your resolution is can help to improve accountability since other people will know if you succeed or fail. For some this fear of failing with others knowing can provide enough external motivation to help with sticking to a program.
Having a support system can also help to keep you motivated especially in those times that you want to fall off the wagon.
Using a social media platform to announce your New Year’s resolution is an even more public way to share your intentions. Facebook and Twitter are great for letting your friends and family in on what you are going to do.
You can also share your New Year’s resolution with other readers in the comment section below. Thanks for reading and have a great 2015.