Written by Guest Blogger: Jessica Harrison

Ahhh, it is that time of year where gyms will be packed with people who want to look  like celebrities or the models they see in fitness magazines. The fitness industry will be loaded with people who have made the resolution to get on the health and fitness train. As the weeks of a new year roll on, you will notice more and more people detach the caboose of that train they’re on and let it roll backwards down the hill, over the cliff, and crash into a fiery pit! An estimated 73% of Americans give up on their health and fitness resolutions each year before they’ve reached their goal.  I can certainly relate to that.  Before 2018, I was that person. I set the same goals every year starting in 2002 and by February or March, I was done trying. Enough about me, back to you!  You could be wanting to lose weight, gain muscle, lean out, or train for an athletic event (think obstacle course races such as Tough Mudder and Spartan)… but simply setting that goal DOES NOT guarantee success.  In fact, half of those that give up do so in the first 6 weeks of the New Year.

There are some questions to reflect on as you set your resolutions this year that are designed to make your resolution more sustainable- meaning a higher success rate.

  1. WHAT do you want?
  2. WHY do you want it?
  3. WHY do you VALUE this goal?
  4. WHAT are the CHALLENGES you expect to have?
  5. WHAT SACRIFICES are you willing to make?
  6. WHAT will your life look like 10 years from now if you CONTINUE down the road you are on now?
  7. WHAT will your life look like in 10 years if you MAKE THIS CHANGE?
  8. WHOSE help will you need to help you achieve this goal?

Another way to up your success rate is to make SMART goals.  SMART goals give you clear and concise goals to work towards. I will use weight loss as an example for this SMART goal.

  1. Specific. Your goal should be clear and easy to understand.
    • A common goal of “get healthy” is too general. There are so many ways to get healthy. How do you want to do it? Is it losing weight? Start exercising? Stop smoking? Break it down so it is easier to manage.
    • Pick weight loss and make a SMART goal out of it. For example “I will lose weight,” is very specific.
  2. Measurable. A goal to “lose weight” is not enough.  Making your goal measurable means adding a number.
  3. Attainable. Before you can add a number, you have to know how high or low you want to go. It’s good to push yourself, but don’t be too extreme. We often set the bar too high and stop trying when we fall short.
    •  What percentage is attainable for you? Research suggests that a 5-10% weight loss is attainable for most overweight people.
    • A measurable, attainable goal could be, “I will lose 7% of my body weight.”
  4. Relevant. Set goals that are important to YOU. Trying to achieve a goal someone else wants for you isn’t very motivating.
    • If you are not concerned about weight loss or this is not a good time in your life to focus on that, choose something that IS motivating to you.
  5. Time-bound. Include an end-point. Knowing that you have a deadline motivates you to get started.
    • Since healthy weight loss is about 1-2 pounds per week, set your deadline accordingly. “I will lose 7% of my body weight in 3 months.”

Your resolutions are just as much mental as they are physical. These are tools- USE THEM! Answer the questions for each resolution. Write it down, get it out and look at it when you’re feeling weak, DO NOT GIVE UP. Keep track of your SMART goals! If you need an accountability partner, reach out to people. Friends, family, gym family, anyone you know can hold you responsible and motivate you to keep pushing yourself. Here’s to a great 2019! YOU GOT THIS!