Specific, Realistic, Appropriate New Year’s Resolutions

By Tia Norris, January 2017 Issue of Echo Magazine in Phoenix, AZ.

As a fitness professional, New Year’s is simultaneously one of my most and least favorite times of year. The “new year, new me” promise to get in shape is the No. 1 resolution year after year – regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, race and so on.

On one hand, January is exciting because I am able to help a brand new group of people work on their fitness goals and make the lifestyle changes that support them. But on the other hand, it’s an incredibly frustrating time of year because of the influx of doomed-to-fail type of goal setting that we see all too often in the fitness industry.

While most of us have good intentions with wanting to become better with each passing year, the truth is that most people flat-out suck at setting specific, realistic and individually appropriate goals.

To remedy this epidemic, I’ve decided to share my three top-secret, industry-proven solutions to help you make better fitness resolutions for 2017.

1. Be Specific.
There is no such thing as being too specific when it comes to goal setting. First, you need to write down everything that you want, and how badly you want it on a scale of 1 to 10. And, yes, you must write it down … writing down your goals will make them more real. There’s an unseen, inexplicable magic that occurs when you record your intentions in this manner. So just do it!

Next, cut the general b.s. “Losing weight” is too general, “getting in shape” is too general and “getting healthy” is – you guessed it – also too general.

To succeed, you must get as specific as possible, Examples could include losing 10 pounds, losing three dress sizes or exercising for 60 minutes, three times per week. And don’t forget about timelines. Add in an end date by which you need to achieve the goal; if you have a specific event in mind, that’s even better – use it to your advantage.

Finally, you need to be specific in your plan. It’s a great start to say you want to work out for 60 minutes, three times per week – but where will you work out? What will you do, exactly? Will you follow a particular workout plan? What time of day will you exercise? Will you work with a trainer? And if so, how will you find them, and how much are you willing to pay for them? You need to leave no stone unturned. The more specific your plan is, the more likely you are to succeed.

2. Know Thyself.
Now that you’ve got your incredibly specific plan in place, we need to be sure that your goals are realistic. We need to consider your athletic background as well as your current lifestyle. For example, if you’re a former college athlete, and you’re familiar with “the grind” of a grueling athletic program, you can set the bar higher in terms of frequency and difficulty of your fitness program. But if you haven’t worked out much in your life, or if you have fallen off the wagon for a long time, you’ll need to set the bar lower.

It’s also important to take your current lifestyle and how much you’re willing to sacrifice into consideration. Are you willing to spend the necessary time in the gym and not at happy hours or dinners out or partying all weekend? This will all factor into how high your expectations can and should be.

Finally, the most important question you need to ask yourself is “am I really ready to take the plunge into an entire lifestyle change?” I’m not trying to scare you away – that would be a terrible business model for me. But I am in the business of being painfully realistic. So, prepare for make sacrifices, make changes and feel the discomfort that follows. Make sure you’re at your true breaking point and ready to make serious changes, if you want to see serious results. Remember, it is worth it!

3. Plan For Triggers And Regressions.
For those who never pursued fitness before, you must know that it will not be all sunshine and rainbows. For those who have pursued fitness before, you know that it can be a vicious cycle if you mismanage the process. It will start out as exciting, new and liberating, but will soon become challenging, draining and seemingly out of reach.

Prepare yourself for regressions and failures, and resolve to not quit – no matter what! You can’t quit your job when you have a bad day or if you don’t feel like going, right? Fitness is exactly the same. Resolve to stick with it, prepare for setbacks and keep going.

Remember, the secret to achieving your New Year’s resolutions in 2017 is to start by setting better goals. This year, start by resolving to be specific, realistic, individually appropriate – and stick with your goals no matter what!

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