“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
I want to lose 10lbs, 20lbs … 50lbs this year. I’m going to floss every day. I want to run a half marathon (or maybe a FULL marathon). I’d like to do a triathlon. I want to get “faster.”
At the beginning of every year lots of people set “resolutions” or goals. Often times these resolutions have something to do with health or fitness. Some are realistic and others, … not so much. Health clubs are always PACKED for January and February. By March, it’s no longer difficult to find a parking spot as many New Year’s resolutions are short lived. Below I will take you through 3 keys to stay on track and help accomplish your goals. Let’s make this year YOUR BEST EVER!
Set Goals… and Write Them Down
According to a study done by Virginia Tech, 80% of Americans do NOT have goals. Only 16% have goals. And less than 4% of American have goals AND write them down. Those who establish goals and WRITE THEM DOWN are SIGNIFICANTLY more likely to accomplish them.
Once you write your goals down it becomes like a written contract to yourself. It frees your mind of perpetually having to remember what you set out to accomplish and helps to clearly define what your goals are.
When you write your goals down, make sure you add as much detail as possible and describe exactly what you want to achieve and how you are going to accomplish it (i.e. I am going to run the NYC Marathon in November of 2014 and finish under 4 hours. I will have to run at a 9min/mi pace to do this).
Also, don’t forget to set a deadline (and be realistic with a date). For example, if you have never run further then 1 mile, maybe you should set your sight on finishing a 5k then a 10k… all the while working your way up to a marathon over a couple of years (or more). Stretch goals are ok and are even encouraged as long as you have the right mindset. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment.
After you right your goals down it is important to put them some place where you will see them every day. Putting them in multiple places is a bonus. This is another very important and effective way to keep yourself on track. Some of my favorite places to post my goals include on the bathroom mirror, my computer, at my desk, the dashboard in my car and on my alarm clock.
Accountability is huge. Many people feel they are at their best and accomplish the most when they have some kind of accountability in their life. Is someone holding you accountable for your goals?
We all need someone or something to keep us honest. Depending upon what you are trying to accomplish, accountability can come from many places. A few people to help hold you accountable may include your spouse, friend, co-worker, training partners, coach or personal trainer. Don’t be afraid to have more than one person in your corner. Different people will help you in different ways.
Once you know who this person is going to be, it is important to tell them what your goals are and how you intend to accomplish them. Additionally, you must regularly update this person (daily or weekly) on your progress (good and bad). This person will help motivate and encourage you through your ups and downs along the way. Also, don’t be afraid to brag a little when you’re excited and happy about the progress you make along the way, just don’t overdo it ;). This is great for morale and it will help you keep moving in the right direction.
Your source of accountability does not always have to come from a specific person either. For example, lots of people start a blog and write about what they want to do, how they’re going to do it, and everything else along the way. This is a great tool because not only do you write your goals down, but you continually update and remind yourself of what your intentions are. Furthermore, when you post your thoughts on the internet, EVERYONE will see and hold you accountable, even if they don’t make direct comments to you.
If you do what you’ve always did, you’ll get what get what you always got.
Once you have written your goals down and determined your source(s) of accountability, it’s time to come up with a game plan. This will be the how. How you intend to accomplish your goal.
If you have an exercise or a race goal, I’d suggest finding a motivated training partner. It is also important you find the right exercise facility for you and your goals. Are you interested in cardio, weights, group classes, crossfit ect.?
The next step is to set yourself a realistic training schedule. Make sure it is achievable for you and your lifestyle. It has to be something you will stick with. If you work 60 hours a week, then it is probably unrealistic to expect you are going to exercise 20 hours a week. When you are planning your schedule, don’t forget to include travel time to and from wherever you will exercise.
For the most effective and efficient exercise plan, (I may be bias) I would seriously consider consulting with a personal trainer or experienced coach. Not only will this professional maximize your exercise time, but they will help you set goals, schedule mini testing milestones and help prevent injury along the way; all of which are crucial to your success.
If you are looking to lose weight, how are you going to do it? Personally, I am NOT a fan of “diets.” However, if you want to improve your eating habits, I recommend instinctual eating. In my opinion, putting an event on your calendar to train for will help keep you motivated. Inevitably there will be days when you do not feel like exercising, but by having something like a 5k or 10k on your calendar you will be more likely to workout. After all, you don’t want to look bad and feel miserable come “race day.” By doing this, weight loss will become a welcomed by product of you consistent exercise routine.
Get to work!
Now that you know the 3 keys to help you stay on track and accomplish your goals, it’s time to get to work. Write down your goals, find someone or something to hold you accountable and set a game plan. Be smart and have fun. Make this YOUR BEST YEAR EVER!
Good vs. Bad Goals:
Bad: I want to lose weight
Good: I going to lose 20lbs by June. I will do this by reducing my caloric intake by 3500 calories a week. I will also go to the gym 3 days a week to help boost my metabolism and feel better. At 1lb a week, by June I will be looking and feeling great!
Bad: I want to exercise more
Good: I going to set a regular exercise routine. I plan to see a personal trainer once a week. The trainer will do an evaluation and set me up a structured training schedule. He/she will hold me accountable since I will see him each week. They will be able to answer fitness / exercises questions I will have along the way.
Bad: I want to complete a Triathlon.
Good: I am going to complete a Sprint Triathlon. A sprint is the shortest triathlon, so it’s a good place to start. Since I need to become a better swimming I will hire a qualified coach to give me a hand. I will also join a local triathlon club to meet other triathletes and learn from them. I will also be a great source to find training partners. I will complete this triathlon in August of this year.
• 80% of Americans say they don’t have goals.
• 16% do have goals but don’t write them down.
• Less than 4% write down their goals and fewer than 1% review them on an ongoing basis
• People who wrote down their goals, shared this information with a friend, and sent weekly updates to that friend were on average 33% more successful in accomplishing their stated goals than those who merely formulated goals.
• People who regularly write down their goals earn nine times as much over their lifetimes as people who don’t.
Fun Facts: source