The Resolution Factor – Making Goals Work

resolutionsIt is around this time that we start thinking of our New Year resolutions and set out goals for 2015. In past articles I have offered tips on how to make goals the SMART way – Smart, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely – so that these goals can be achievable. So if you did make goals this time last year now is the time to look back and assess how you did.

It is a good exercise to analyse your goals and see what worked, what didn’t and if it didn’t ask why. This way we can adjust our goals and be more realistic in the future.

If one of your goals was trying a new activity ask yourself honestly if you enjoyed it and if so how long did you do it for. Was it all you had hoped it would be? If you are a runner you probably set yourself a goal race – 10km, Half Marathon or even a Marathon – or even a Personal Best time.  How was the training and were you able to avoid injury and run your race?

The biggest barrier to making successful goals is time. How often do we say ‘I don’t have time to run today, I am just too busy.’ So that 45 min activity gets put off and then it is easy to procrastinate and miss another workout and so it goes on. Other barriers may be work related, personal issues or just the weather (we all like to blame the weather after all!)

So as we see another year out and a new one in, here are some suggestions on how to stick with the plan.

  • Take a moment to write down your goals and – more importantly – make sure they aren’t the same as last year. If one of your goals was to run a 10k and you did, then your next goal is to improve on your time. Be realistic – a 10% improvement is achievable. Or your goal may be to run more 10k’s – if so target the races you want to run so you can properly train and plan.
  • Ask yourself why you are making resolutions. What is the intention? All goals should be for you so you may need to remind yourself and write down why you are doing this.
  • Don’t make a drastic change in routine when you set your goals. While that may seem odd (some may say that the whole point of making a resolution is to make change). But the resolutions likely to succeed are the ones that don’t involve a major change to routine. Perhaps you are already running but getting bored with doing the same routine. Try cross-training or join one of the growing bike or triathlon groups. You can certainly think out of the box but ask yourself if you are comfortable with it. If you aren’t you are less likely to succeed.
  • Think about how you can realistically succeed with your goals. If you are a runner or cyclist are you likely to stay on track with others around you, or are you more focussed training on your own? There is no right or wrong way – we are all different, some prefer the camaraderie of being in a team, while others enjoy their own company without the peer pressure.
  • Consider the barriers that may impede your chances of achieving your goals. While this may seem negative, we need to be realistic. If there is a particular time that you know you will be busy at work, consider that when you plan. The ‘I don’t have time’ factor means you may not have time for a 60 minute endurance run, but you could fit in a 20 – 25 minute speed workout which will reap the same benefits.
  • Re-visit your goals every two months. Are you on track? Do you need to make adjustments? There is nothing wrong in adapting your goals if you feel something isn’t working for you, or if you have had a personal or work issue that may impact on what you want to achieve. The important thing is to be honest with yourself and rather than abandoning the goal, change it up and make it work for you.

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