So, did you make any New Year’s Resolutions?? 74% of adult Americans did plan on making a resolution for 2021 back in December*. And 55.31% of all American adults (141.1 million) say they are confident they will be able to keep their resolution this year. The top six categories of resolutions people will make for 2021 relate to money, health, career, self-improvement, family, and love, in that order.
We’ve all heard the statistics – most people who make resolutions quit by February – 68%. But that means 32% keep going. There’s no reason you can’t be among those people. Right? [Be sure to check out the related article at the end of this article with great tips to make your fitness resolutions stick.]
Even if you don’t “believe in” New Year’s Resolutions, the beginning of the year is as good a time as any to set some new goals – or re-set some old ones that you never achieved.
So how can you improve your chances of keeping resolutions? Making the change you want? Well, first, try not calling it a resolution. There’s such a negative connotation to the word, it’s so linked to failure that it might just help to just call it a change. Or a promise; a promise you make to yourself.
Let’s see what some professionals say are the best tactics to make changes. First, set a SMART goal, that is Specific; Measurable; Achievable (This doesn’t mean that it’s easy, necessarily, but make sure it’s realistic.); Relevant; and Time-bound (meaning you’ve set some kind of deadline or timeframe.) and start with just one resolution/goal.
It’s not realistic to think that you’ll just wake up on Jan. 2 and change your life. You need a plan, of course, but you also need a plan for what to do when you hit a roadblock along the way. And make sure to plan for some type(s) of reward – not just at the end when you’ve achieved your goal. Reward yourself along the way. Set smaller milestones, each with a reward to keep you motivated. Now, don’t go overboard rewarding yourself along the way — save the big reward for the end; give smaller, but meaningful, rewards for your milestones achieved. But no penalties for missing one! Just start back up.
What should you do if you get off track? This is when your plan kicks in. At some point many people trying to make a change as part of their resolution will think to themselves, “It’s too much and I have so far to go.” A perceived lack of progress can be frustrating and will cause some to give up entirely. Dr. Pauline Wallin, a psychologist and author of “Taming Your Inner Brat,” suggests focusing on whatever the smaller number it is: your progress, or how much you have left to do.
This “small number” technique is based on a 2012 study published in The Journal of Consumer Research that found that focusing on the smaller number in reaching a goal kept people more motivated. So, for example, if you want to run five miles, which of the following thoughts is more likely to keep you going?
- “I’ve already run one mile and, in another mile,, I’ll double it.”
- “I’ve run just one mile and I still have four more to go.”
According to this theory, you’re likely better off with the first one. So, in the beginning, it’s more motivating to look at what you’ve already achieved. Toward the end, when that goal number shrinks, it’s fine to look at your progress, but zero in on what little remains until you hit your goal.
So, some of it is a mind game. But you’ve got to play it. So much of what holds us back is what we hear in our heads. You just have to silence that voice – or better yet, turn it around. Be your own biggest cheerleader. You’ll reach that New Year’s goal in no time!
Let us know how you’re working to move forward with your “resolution” or “promise to yourself.” And gives us any tips to share with others that are working to help you achieve your goals. Email us at [email protected]. Good luck on your journey.
Have a Plan – Best Advice from Our Fitness Experts
We asked our Heartline Fitness Experts to give their best advice to stick to fitness goals in the new year – or anytime. Here’s what they said:
“Make it a Habit; do not compromise. If you see yourself as a fit and healthy person that is who you are,” Dan Green, president, Heartline – Midwest.
“Get your workout clothes ready before going to bed so when you wake up in the morning you work out first-thing as part of your normal routine like brushing your teeth or taking a shower, so it becomes a habit,” Matt Silver, Northeast Territory Manager (NJ, PA, DE)
“Get the workout done in the morning – during the holiday season there is always too much to do, we let the workout slide saying, ‘I’ll do it later today.’ It probably won’t happen at all. Commit to a time in the morning to get it done,” Tricia Weston, Triathlete & New England Territory Manager
“Set a goal – and share it with others. For me, I need a goal, but it can be anything. Walk a total of 25 miles before the 25th of the month. Complete 2 cardio and 1 strength workout each week between Thanksgiving and Christmas, between New Year’s Day and Valentine’s Day and I’ll treat myself to a ______ (massage, pedicure, new shoes).” Kelly Spivey, Territory Manager – West Coast, Florida
Another from Kelly – “Get up early and just get it over with!”
“The Mountains are beautiful this time of year. Go for a hike!” Dan Huebner, Technical Sales Director
“Best gift you can give to yourself during the holidays (especially this year!) is EXERCISE! Set a goal and stick with your plan for your overall well-being 😊” also Tricia Weston (see above)
“Find someone or something to be accountable to and talk about your goals out loud,” Crystal Capone, Territory Manager, Carolinas and avid cross-fit athlete.
Keep reminding yourself that “The pain you feel today will be the strength you feel tomorrow!” Jason Malecki, Senior Sales Consultant for Maryland, Virginia and Key Accounts