The New Year’s Resolution is your yearly lottery because the chances of winning are so low; less than 10%, in fact. It doesn’t matter if you’re a serious athlete or first time fitness goer. There are numerous reasons for why those resolutions fail, but what we need to care most about is how to succeed. The best way you do that is by setting SMART goals.
The idea that a goal needs to be SMART seem counter-intuitive, but failing to heed each aspect of a good goal is probably the leading reason many fail to achieve their goals. In my 20 years in coaching and competition, though, I’ve found that many, if not most of us are poor goal setters. So in the interest of a successful Resolution here is how to get SMART!
Make your goal SPECIFIC to the outcome. If you want to run a race, what race is it and when? If it’s something broader, like lose weight, or get stronger, break it down into more detailed goals.
Along with specific, your goal needs to be MEASURABLE; these two really go hand and hand. So with that race, it needs to be a specific measurable distance, and if it’s broader, like getting stronger, or “fitter” you need an outcome you can measure.
Your goals need to be ACTIONABLE, which means you need to be in control. You set the goal, design the training program, then take action to make it happen! Every training session, every log entry, even your rest days get you one step closer.
Obviously, every goal needs to be REALISTIC, but if every goal is a guaranteed success, then you’ll never feel a sense of accomplishment. On the flip side, many resolutions are actually unrealistic either based on your innate ability, or more often failing to plan appropriately. My advice is to initially err on the easy side and make that resolution happen, so set the bar lower!
Finally, make sure that goal is TIMELY, usually something you can attain within 3 months, any longer and you risk losing motivation and sight of the goal you want to achieve. If your resolution is big, then break it down into smaller more timely goals and you’ll have steps to success!
In my next post, we will discuss how to get started on that plan.