New Year Goals

The New Year is upon us, and with it will come millions of new year goals.

For the next month, the gyms will be packed, infomercial products will sell like hot cakes, and the exercise videos will be flying off the shelves.

And while most of us will start this process in some way, shape or form…why is it that so many of us carry-over the same goals from one year to the next??? 

Because our goals are mushy!!

Fitness Goals for the New Year

That’s right…mushy!

How can we possibly hold ourselves accountable for resolutions, such as: lose weight….exercise moreeat better.

Mushy goals like these can not be tracked or attained because there is no criteria to tell us if we have succeeded or failed.

Most of us want the same thing – we want to get into better shape…we want to have a healthier and happier lifestyle. Some may want smaller bellies or butts while others may want bigger biceps, but the foundation is still the same: better long-term habits. If the above examples of “mushy” New Year’s resolutions match your aspirations, here are some ways that you can refine your New Year goals and increase the chances that you’ll get to where you want to be:

  • Assess your current state of fitness & health:
    Many of us have a much different picture of our health than reality would dictate. An honest assessment will help you set-up a reasonable goal and timeline. Picking your high school weight and taking off like mad to reach it will likely end up in a pile of frustrations and a goal unmet. Use tools like the Body Mass Index (BMI) calculatorIdeal Weight Tables, and the Body Fat Tables to see where you are and where you’d like to be.
  • Write your goals down:
    This may sound simple, but it’s a very powerful motivator. I write my running time goals in big highlighted numbers and tape them to the inside of my locker. Looking at this everyday gives me a spark and pulls me back on track when I find myself losing motivation. Put a note near the bathroom scale or a sign on the cookie jar. These reminders will remind you of your commitment and keep you focused on your goals.
  • Sign up for a race, walk-a-thon, or fitness event:
    The times I struggle the most to maintain good habits are the times that I have no goal to focus on. I found that the most effective way to minimize these times is to sign up for a race. As soon as a race is on my calendar, it focuses my attention and effort on training to attain that goal. I’m less likely to pick up a doughnut or skip a workout if I’m in-training.  You can check out the Running in the USA website to find a race in your area.
  • Set up some interim milestones with rewards:
    Training for a New Year goal that is 3-4 months away can be a very tough task. You’ll have high and low days and it will be very tough to stay on track. Pick some points in the middle and celebrate your getting there. For example, if you’re a new runner and your goal is to run a 5k, go buy yourself a running watch or cool running gift when you run 2 miles without walking or when you run 10 miles a week. The 5k race is the pinnacle of your achievement, but the real accomplishment will be the many months of preparation and training. Reward yourself in the middle and you’ll reinvigorate your goals when you need it the most.

As you polish off the last of the holiday goodies and you stand in front of the mirror telling yourself that next year will be different...make solid resolutions not mushy ones. Hold yourself accountable and you’ll find that your goals and their pursuit will become a source of energy in your life not stress.

You can find New Year Goals and other motivational fitness information in the December 2006 article of The Bullhorn


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