Congratulations, you’ve successfully made it through another year! Now that the new year is kick starting, it’s time to initiate that list of resolutions that typically gets buried in the back of a drawer only to be found three years later. But this shall occur no longer. It is time to complete the list for once.
Without a doubt, the most common new years resolutions revolve around exercise. Whether you want to hit the gym a few more times a week (or start going to the gym), try a new workout class, or get in shape to run that charity 5K, 2015 is the year to live up to these aspirations. However, this is easier said than done. I recently uncovered an article speaking directly to the exercise goal-seekers who are unaware of how to jump start their path to success. According to Gena Raymond, author of “Sick Of Working Out? 6 Tips To Motivate Yourself & Get Back In The Game,” there are a plethora of methods to find the light at the end of the tunnel.
My favorite tip (and coincidently the first tip) that Raymond discusses is how to find your “why.” We often find ourselves focused on exercise as a means of looking good. Your “why” may simply be “I want to not be restricted to a certain clothing style, material, or size,” and that is perfectly acceptable. In a society that seems so obsessed with looks, it is hard to escape the desire to fit a certain appearance. However, perhaps an additional consideration when determining your “why” is something outside the vanity realm. Perhaps your church is holding a 5 mile run to support a local charity, or the preschool down the street is looking for volunteers to run after kids as they attempt a local fieldtrip. The desire to register in an event or run around with energetic kids can stimulate the mind to focus on more reasons “why” you should achieve your exercise resolutions.
When there is constant conversation about dreaming big and having high expectations and goals, it is hard not to follow suit. However, having extreme goals can often hinder our focus. Yes, have big aspirations, but strive to achieve them with a variety of small goals. When you set small stepping stones on the path to a larger feat, you are more likely to stick with your plan because you can check each small step off your list. As humans, we crave reward—we feed off of reward—and achieving small goals is a method of satisfying that part of our brain and pushing us to want more. So if your goal is to raise $10,000 for your local animal shelter, start small. Encourage yourself to raise $200 first, hold three fundraising event each month, or generate a team of members to help you raise the funds.
Speaking of the elation we often feel by reaching a goal, keep this feeling of satisfaction in your mind as you picture yourself completing each resolution (and each step). If your goal is to hit the gym more, imagine the feeling you will have after that 30 minute workout. It may be -9° F outside, but just dreaming of the feeling of elation after a hard workout is the push you need to hop out of bed. Don’t forget to pat yourself on the back too to tell yourself “good job.”
One point I would add to Raymond’s list, is the benefit of engaging a community system into your goal. What I mean is that peers and other acquaintances often have the power to help us stick to our goals. Now this does not mean that your goal should be the same as every one else’s goal. But rather, telling others, posting on Facebook, or community tracking on iPhone apps keeps us feeling accountable. We feel that we must achieve the goal because we have told others and we don’t want to fail in front of them. Essentially, the small amount of added pressure is likely to drive us to stick to our goals.
The first few weeks will be hard, no doubt. But it is the initial drive out of the rut that is the hardest part—then the path becomes open to opportunity. Remember to stay focused on what is realistic for you. Goals are supposed to be self-tailored to be achievable and effective. If you’re like me and didn’t come up with a full list of new-years resolutions yet, never fear. Goals can be set at any time. For more of Raymond’s inspiring points, check out the rest of her article:
Happy Goal-Setting 🙂