It’s that time of year again and New Year resolutions are being discussed to death, everyone is posting on Facebook what they are going to achieve this year. Everyone is asking you what resolutions have you made for 2017, what goals do you have, what PB’s are you going to break etc, etc, etc.
Each year you say to yourself I am going to do X. Sometimes you manage it, sometimes you don’t, sometimes you get injured. Sometimes you don’t even stick to the plan to the end of January
And if you don’t set any new PB’s you feel guilty and beat yourself up for not sticking to it. And the cycle begins again.
Let me share with you a quick story…
Last year one of our patients James came to see me mid-January and said:
“This year my resolution is that by new years eve I’ll finally have smashed my 5k and 10k PB’s!”
I asked him why he didn’t make a different resolution this year, and James said it was because he really, badly needed to beat those times given the amount of effort he was putting in
“How long have you been setting this resolution for?” I asked, “About 3 or 4 years” she said, “I won’t be happy until I get sub 45 min for 10k and sub 20 min for 5k so I’ve really got to stick to it this year.”
Does this kind of resolution sound familiar to you too?
Many of us think getting motivated to reach a goal requires tough-love and setting things we think we should do to fit in to be ‘accepted’, and they usually come from a place of feeling not feeling ‘good enough’.
And it’s not your fault if you do! Fitness and fat-loss are advertised in our faces everywhere. After looking at Facebook or Youtube everyone thinks that they should be able to run a 2:30 marathon, squat 300kg or play golf off scratch or look like an under wear model.
Despite the fact that these kind of goals have the opposite affect on motivation than we hope, most people continue to set them, and get frustrated when their resolutions have gone out the window come January 8th.
By the time James walked into my clinic that day, he had 10+ years of training and 3-4 years of chasing those goals.
So I told him that straight that he was going to find it hard to reach that goal again if he kept the same goal or at the very least the same method of trying to achieve it and suggested he make his goal enjoying his training journey and not any specific time goal.
“That’s all you want me to do?!” he asked looking confused.
“Yes! That’s all!”
Why did I suggest this? Because year after year when you have the same goal and don’t reach it, each year it becomes harder to believe you’ll ever accomplish it, and each year you feel worse that it goes unaccomplished.
So here’s my big tip for you this year when it comes to your resolutions:
How about we make a pact to be kinder to ourselves instead of setting out on a mission to improve ourselves with goals that if we stumble on and fall over, we beat ourselves up over. That we enjoy the journey and the pleasure of being able to do the things we enjoy.
If you find yourself slipping off track with the goals you’ve set – forgive yourself and remember it’s only you that really cares about them those around you care about you whether or not you achieve an arbitrary goal. That the real satisfaction in exercising regularly is what it enables you to achieve above and beyond being able to run a particular distance or pick up a particular weight. In getting to a healthier weight the better food choices will give you more energy and a sense of well being.
You haven’t failed just because it’s mid-January and you’ve already stopped. You can get back on track and pick yourself up.
Of course it’s easier said than done. Being kind to yourself is a difficult thing to do. But while it might take a lot more self-reflection than trying the latest new workout it is the path to successful goal setting in any area of your life.
So have a plan, set mini goals to achieve your overall goal. Celebrate the achievements you make along the way and know it’s ok to slip up, you’re human, I slip up all the time!
All you’ll be far more likely to stick to the healthier habits you’ve set yourself this year.
What goals you’ve set yourself for 2017?
P.S James got a 19:35 5k time by the September and then 42:07 10k in the November.