It’s the first week of the year
You’ve been pondering your New Year's resolutions. You’ve made your list of 3-5 things that you want to change this year. The list looks eerily similar to the list you made last year. It has the usual suspects on it. You want to get healthy and fit. You want to eat better. You want to spend less money etc. We’ve all made that list. The real question is why do we keep making the same list each year. Why don’t we reach these goals? Why can’t we reach these goals? Those are the questions no one likes to answer. Those are the hard questions. We like to make these grandiose goals that we know deep down that we can’t complete. For example, we want to run a marathon but haven’t run in years or we want to lose 40 lbs but we haven’t exercised in months. There are three main problems with these type of goals or New Years resolutions. First, these goals are performance-based, ie I want to lose 40 lbs or run a marathon. Two, these goals are too outlandish for us to reach right away which deters us from hitting them. Third, we usually do not have any accountability. That’s what this article is about. How can we fix those three problems?
Identity change - Not performance goals
We first need to change. That’s the hardest part. Changing habits is one of those things that people like to talk about but never really come to do anything about changing. There's that old adage that it takes 21 days to make a habit stick. In reality, it may take much longer than that. That’s why our big audacious goals usually fail. We need to focus on smaller goals but first, we need to focus on an identity change. This is a great example of how we should focus on changing our habits.
Your current behaviors are simply a reflection of your current identity. What you do now is a mirror image of the type of person you believe that you are (either consciously or subconsciously). Find it here (source)
So how can you change your identity so that you can run that marathon or lose those 40 lbs? First, you need to stop telling yourself you’re not a runner. That’s where it starts. Non-runners never complete marathons. You need to change your self-talk from “I’m not a runner” to “I enjoy running”. That sounds crazy, right? Probably just crazy enough to work. Fake it until you make it. That’s what the identity change is all about. You need to convince yourself that you’re a runner first. Each day tell yourself you’re a runner. Not that you want to be a runner but you are. That leads us to our next fix. You need to start somewhere, right? But where should you start?
Start small - Start running then focus on the marathon
You want to run a marathon but you don’t know where to start. That’s the point where you’ve already lost. Each day you’ll sit there staring at the goal you wrote down about running a marathon but you don’t know where to start. That paralyzes you and then before you know it you’re looking back on the year, like what happened? Before you stop reading and go rip up your goals let’s find some small places to start first.
At ALT Fitness we always talk about breaking down the big audacious goals into smaller bite-size chunks. If your goal is to run a marathon then you should start with running for 10 minutes a day three days per week. Then boost that to 20 minutes per day three days a week. Then you build from there. If your goal is to lose 40 lbs then you need to break that down into smaller pieces too. For example, focusing on 1 lb per week is the best method but think about losing two pounds in the first two weeks and go from there. This way you will be less likely to quit because you’re hitting your mini goals along the way.
The more detailed you can get with outlining the behaviors you need to reach your desired outcome, the more you can keep your goals in check and measure success. (Source)
This builds the plan for you to follow. The plan then allows you to know when certain types of events may pop up and slow your progress. Like the holidays or vacations. When you have a plan and know what's coming up on the schedule then you can be prepared. Having a plan with mini goals that lead up to the bigger goal is the best way to measure your progress but also to stay focused. It also allows a little wiggle room.
Rather, it is because we neglect to think through how we plan to achieve our goals. (Source)
Once you’ve become a fitness junky or a runner in your mind and you’re following your plan that you have set, the results start flowing in. These first two fixes will work on their own but they work even better together. The final fix and maybe the most important fix to reaching your New Year’s resolutions is how you’re holding yourself accountable.
Accountability - bet a friend, offer to pay them if you don’t hit your daily goals
Who’s going to hold you accountable? If you don’t have a trainer then who’s going to hold you accountable? Who’s going to keep you running three days a week? The best answer is, of course, a trainer at ALT Fitness but there are other ways to be held accountable. You can tell all your friends that you’re going to start running and eventually you’re going to run a marathon. You can tell your family members that you’re going to lose 40lbs.
By putting yourself out there and announcing your intentions, you are translating what was once a general desire - to be healthier, happier, more productive, etc. - into something concrete and tangible. (source)
You can go further by betting those friends and family. If you don't run three times per week then you owe your friend dinner or cash. If you don’t lose a pound per week then you owe something to your family. This is a great way to be held accountable. When you let people know what your goals are they are going to keep you accountable. They’ll let you know when you shouldn’t have the dessert after dinner or have that extra drink. They’ll help you reach those goals. The best way to be kept accountable truly is having a trainer. They don’t care about your excuses. They care about getting you to your goals. Not only that they can build the plan for you to follow. They can also help you change your mindset from “I’m not a runner” to I love to run.
We all make New Year’s Resolutions and we all fail at them. That’s just the way it goes. Don’t believe us then you should ask your friends if they are making resolutions this year. Most of them will tell you that they don’t do that anymore because they never stuck.
New Year's resolutions come from the place called "Should." When we write up a list of new year's resolutions, it's as though we are being scolded for our faults and told: "Do better next year!" (source)
Instead of scolding ourselves this year let’s hit those goals. Change your mentality first, then make small measurable goals and find someone to keep you accountable. That way next year this time you’re able to check off last years goals and make even more audacious goals this year.