It feels unbelievable, but a brand new decade is about to start. New year, new you — right? This time, you’re going to smash those goals, get that promotion at work, become parent of the year, and transform into the best version of yourself.
I’m an online personal trainer — so I tend to meet a lot of people with New Year's resolution this time of year. Big, lofty goals are great, but they can be hard to tackle. I’ve seen a lot of people start off full blaze and then burn out. A month goes by, and they’re back to the behavior they wanted to change.
Sound familiar? Well, you’re not alone. Around 80% of us with resolutions give up only a month and a half later. I’ll admit it: I’ve done that too. So a few years ago, I sat down and re-thought my strategies. There’s nothing wrong with a New Year’s resolution. There was a whole lot wrong with the kind of goals I was setting.
Here’s some “New Year, New You” tips and tricks that worked for me — hopefully, you can use them to surpass those goals in 2020:
Lots of people doom themselves before they even begin by identifying too many goals. Pick one goal and go all in! Focusing all your attention on one thing keeps you energized and increases your chances of successfully reaching your goal.
“I want to lose weight” or "I want to eat healthier" are not goals. They are broad statements. When thinking about your goals, following the SMART principle: Your goal should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
With a SMART approach, your resolution becomes a roadmap. How much weight? By when? For example, here a goal “I want to lose 20 pounds in three months by going to the gym three times a week.” Is it ...
✔ Specific: There’s number attached to that goal.
✔ Measurable: You can weigh-in and check your progress once a week.
✔ Attainable: Losing 20 pounds in three months is definitely possible.
✔ Realistic: Use a weight loss calculator to check your target calorie consumption in order to reach your goal.
✔ Timely: You have set a clear timeframe.
Want to increase your chances of accomplishing your goal this year? Write it down. A study at Dominican University in California, found people who wrote down their goals, action commitments, and sent a weekly progress report to a friend accomplished their goals 76% of the time. People who didn’t write down their goals had only a 43% chance of accomplishing them. That’s a difference of 33%! Once you have your goal and roadmap written out, look at them every day.
You don’t train for a half-marathon by running 13 miles on your first try. You work up to it. Break your goal down into small, attainable steps. If you’re trying to lose weight, meet with an online personal trainer (like me!) or go to the gym twice a week. Add more workouts or more difficulty as you increase your strength.
Keeping on progress with your goals is hard work. Some days, you won’t want to do it. Here’s my two cents: “I don’t have time” or “I’m too busy this week to go to the gym'' are just excuses. You have to make time to do the things that are important. Schedule time to work on your goal into your calendar — and don’t let the other times on your to-do list creep into that time.
To keep myself motivated, I like to have a daily reminder of my “why” to keep my head in the game. In my office space, I have a vision board for my goals. By seeing pictures of my envisioned future self, I keep motivated to live my day intentionally. When I’m out at lunch with co-workers and want to indulge in a scrumptious dessert, my brain goes back to that vision board — and that helps me make choices that bring me closer to my goal.
It’s really easy to put off change by telling yourself you are going to start working on them “next week” or “next month” — when the time is right. You’re setting yourself up to procrastinate your way right out of your goal. Start now. Start today, whether you’re ready or not. Find someone or something to hold you accountable — like a fitness trainer that helps you track your progress or a calendar to check off as you hit milestones. Turn those goals into action.
Your roadmap should be full of small goals and each one of those that you hit must be celebrated! Every time you hit a milestones, reward yourself with a movie or a date night — whatever makes you happy
Focusing on a big goal can be daunting, so it’s important to stay positive. Remember, you have to enjoy the process. Don’t only look at how far you have to go, look at how far you have come — and be proud of it.
Achieving your goals is so rewarding, but you have to set yourself up for success. Pick a goal, go all in, make a plan and take action. It’s going to be hard, but remember to have fun along the way. If you make a mistake or fall off the wagon, promise yourself that you’ll get right back up! Like Rachel Hollis says, “A goal is a dream with its work boots on.” So girl (or dude), lace up those work boots — and make 2020 the year you keep the promises you make to yourself. I promise, you’re worth it.