New Years Resolutions and Goals

(You will find a short summary at the end if you just want a quick guide)

Don´t worry, you are not alone! Make this the year you get it right!

At the time of writing this, the third of January, basically half the population of our beautiful planet have had their New Years Resolutions made, reflected on the past year and have now promised themselves a better future. 

This post is primarily aimed at the people who want to make a health or fitness related change in their life. The post might also be helpful if you feel like you are making goals and trying to change your lifestyle but never seem make it stick. Everything I write is based upon my own experiences and knowledge that I have attained through studying so it is a mix that might work for some of you and others not. There are many ways to work on your goals. This is just one example.

Personally I stopped relying on goal setting since we live in a very performance based society and I have been digging deeper into spirituality for the past 10 years. I still use some goals for guiding but I don’t define myself by whether or not I achieve it. Nonetheless it is a good tool.

In this post I will line up some practical and hopefully helpful ways to take on your challenge by being mindful of HOW you set your healthy goal. 

First of all: MOVE MORE in general. Walk, crawl, dance and wiggle. Take breaks from the screens of your life and breath. Minimise sugar intake and cook more.These four things will work wonders.

Thought patterns and behaviours that you progressively and slowly integrate into your life are more likely to stick.

Simple guidelines you can consider are:

1. Different types of goals, time frames and are they realistic for you?

2. Be specific and focus on the effect of the result for better motivation.

3. Use stepping stones and checkpoints.

4. Use external resources for help.

In other words:

1. Which goals?

2. What and why?

3. How and when?

4. There are experts and other resources that can help you.

1. Types of goals

Dividing your goals up in to different segments of your live make them easier to handle. For example: Fitness, relationship, personal growth and career. 

There are also different time frames like daily, monthly or yearly goals. 

Personally I recommend to sticking to rather short term goals to begin with as many things in life rarely go the way we plan and it’s important to accept that and not take it as a failure. Point 3 below makes it easier to have a longer time frame as it creates stepping stones to constantly keep track.

The reason I mention realistic goals is the following question: “Is it realistic that you go on a diet and start to work out 5 days a week with a goal to “get fit” considering that you haven’t been training or living a physically active life for the past 15 years?

The answer is usually NO. The average person in need of lifestyle change might need to take small but solid steps to have a higher chance of success. The masterpieces of our world where built piece by piece, slowly, not in a day and they are still standing. 

Here are some examples that I have worked with or still work with:

To ask a question and genuinely listen to what a person has to say instead of trying to offer a solution immediately. Be present. Category: Personal leadership and growth.

I will learn or repeat some Spanish at least twice a week. A word, online lesson or anything that furthers my knowledge of the Spanish language. Category: Brain food and intellect.

I will try to take a moment every day to be present, conscious and receive what is around me. Category: Spiritual growth and living in the NOW.

I will save  at least 500 Euros every month. Category: Financial

Even if I don’t manage to check my boxes every day that’s okey. Don’t go in to a negative inner dialogue or give up because it went a little sideways. Just get back on track. Life will happen. That’s why small changes are easier to incorporate instead of trying to change everything at once. There is more to say about this but lets try to keep it simple.

2. Be specific and focus on effect

“I want to get fit” or “I will get better at eating clean” are very unspecific goals and are hard to know when you have reached. How do you measure fit? What does that mean to you?

Example of more specific goals: I want to be able to Deadlift 100kg within 1 year or I want to run 10 km without pain because I have strengthened my hip.

Health is hard to measure so try to focus on the effect the result will have on your life. It will connect to an inner motivation rather then just doing something because it is a goal. This is also a subject we could go deeper into but lets not right now.

Here is an example I work with at the moment: “I will do some type of mobility and strength exercise for my hip every day because it will give me a pain free life and increase my capacity to train other movements.” I personally don’t need to specify exercises and  5 min or 30 min counts just the same. This works for me.

3. Stepping stones

Stepping stones are basically goals broken down into smaller more manageable blocks or activities with shorter time frames.They make the HOW easier. It’s similar to Agile project management or LEAN processes if you are familiar with these. Checkpoints are reference points to compare with where you were to see how far you have come and will act as motivation. If you have not made the progress you wanted to still see all the good that has happened. Don’t get discouraged. Attitude can make or break the spirit 🙂 

Example: “Get fit and more healthy” can translate to “I want to be able to attend 2 cardio and 2 strength sessions per week at the gym.”

Steps:
1. Always pack my workout gear and a snack with me to work. It allows me to go straight to the gym and not kill anyone from hangryness.
2. Start with 1 session of each for 4 weeks as a goal to progressively increase.
3. Have a plan for dinner when I get home so that I don’t eat rubbish.

It doesn’t have to be gym related. Making sure to walk more and move more during your days counts just as much. Instead of heading straight to the sofa after 8 hours of sitting at work, go for a walk or walk TO work if possible. What you eat is just as important as moving. If your goal is to reduce fat then nutrition is key.  

What you do for the main part of your day is equally or maybe even more important then your hour at the gym.

4. Get help!

1. Group training

2. Personal trainer

3. Invite a friend to join

4. Online training

From experience, the thing that gets most people moving and keeps them moving is any type of training in a group. Any type of activity lead by instructor or done in a group. Classes at the gym, Crossfit, Dancing, Martial arts, Yoga, sports and much more. 

For those fortunate enough, being able to train with a Personal Trainer is absolutely amazing. More and more people are getting help from Personal Trainers to further their health and fitness level. The value of a PT is being recognised more which also puts more demand on the quality of PT educations. Which is needed!

Having a friend to train with is always more fun. You will of course find plenty of new friends at the gym as well. Sharing the experience with someone might be a good way to stay motivated and it might be harder to pull out if they are pulling you in 🙂

The digital world is no longer actually a different world but the real world. Technology is a tool that can help us in our quest for better health if used correctly. There is a difference between being used by technology and using technology. Again, another subject to cover. 

Online training is getting very popular and it is a great tool for anyone that lives way off, works odd hours or just likes to train solo. The risk is that there are many popular Instagram and YouTube accounts out there with people calling themselves trainers without qualifications. Many gyms and fitness brands have apps with good material as well as independent services where the trainer profiles can be seen. Check the qualifications of the trainer. It’s a good place to start.

Summary

First of all: MOVE MORE in general. Walk, crawl, dance and wiggle. Take breaks from the screens of your life and breath. Minimise sugar and cook more. These four things will work wonders.

The most common mistake I see and hear about when setting goals is that they are unspecific and unrealistic. Which sets you up for failure. Another main point is the attitude towards failure. Not only are the goals unrealistic and to life “invasive” (to many changes at once) but if something goes wrong people have a tendency to just chaotically give up. It’s not the end of the world if you ate rubbish one day. Just get back on track. Progress has still been made!

These guidelines are just one of many ways to tackle New Years resolutions or goals in general. Everyone is different. Most of the work is internal and has to do with inner health rather then external. But we can’t change the world on one day. Yet another subject for another post. 

Simple guidelines:

1. Different types of goals, time frames and are the goals realistic for you?

2. Be specific and focus on the effect of the result rather for better motivation.

3. Use stepping stones and check points.

4. Use external resources for help. 

Attend Group training, use Personal trainers, bring a friend along or use Online training.

On other words:

1. Which goals?

2. What and why?

3. How and when?

4. There are experts and other resources that can help you.

Happy moving!

/Andie

For further reading Google: SMART goal setting Or Internal motivation