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Goals for the New Year

Posted by eric on December 27, 2011

Yes, it's that time again - the New Year. Time for celebrations, reflections, and resolutions. I can't help you with the celebrations part; we have two birthdays on the 1st so we're booked. However, I do hope I can give you some ideas on how to reflect back on the past and build some useful resolutions for the coming year and beyond.


The first step in understanding where you want to go is to understand where you've been. Not just the past year, but the past several years should be considered. After all, you didn't get to where you are (good or bad) quickly - take some time to look back on how you got here:

Your eating habits - Are you taking care of your body's nutrional needs? 

Your exercise program - What are you doing to stay active and fit?

Your attitude - Have you dedicated yourself to a healthy lifestyle?

By looking back, you'll be able to consider better options for moving forward with your resolutions. Speaking of which...


The next stage is to take your reflections and determine what resolutions you want to make for the new year. This is really probably the easiest part of the process - you've determined where you've fallen short of where you want to be, so take that learning and build one or two targeted health resolutions.

What? One or two? Why not five or six or more? The more resolutions you make, the more difficult it is to track them and to keep them. By making only one or two very specific resolutions, you're more likely to be successful.

Some things to consider:

  • Any good resolution must be measurable. not vague. For a simple example, a resolutions like "lose weight" is not as good as "lose 4 pounds a month for 3 months" or "reduce body fat percentage from 28% to 22% by June".
  • It also should be realistic and attainable. If you haven't been active, or eating right, or have health problems as a result of being overweight, don't set a goal that will be beyond your current capabilities. Start small with something like "walk 15 minutes a day for 4 weeks, increase to 20 minutes a day for the next 4 weeks" and so on.
  • At the same time, it should be challenging. If you're 20 pounds overweight, don't make a resolution to lose 2 pounds. If you can run a 22 minute 5K, don't make a resolution to run a 21 minute 5K. Push yourself to really improve in some way that brings you out of your comfort zone.

Another motivator is to share your resolutions with others - either so that they can cheer you on, join in, or keep you honest. If you make "silent" resolutions, there's no accountability beyond yourself, which may work for some, but most people will find that being accountable to someone else will help keep them motivated to be successful. 

Follow Through

This is the most difficult part of any resolutions - making it happen. It's easy to come up with ideas, but difficult to follow-through on them and be successful. There are many opportunities to get side-tracked during the year: work, family commitments, lack of enthusiasm, etc. The keys to successful follow-through:

  • Keep your goals top-of-mind. Write them down on something an put it on your refrigerator, or in your exercise room, or on your bathroom mirror.
  • Make yourself a priority. You're always there for everyone else - friends, family, work, etc. This is the year to put the "I" in fitness and put yourself first. If you're not being healthy, you may not be able to continue to invest time in your other priorities.

  • Give yourself rewards. It's not all about the hard work. Every once in awhile, reward your good behavior and your progress with small things - a dinner out at your favorite restaurant, new clothes to fit your new figure, or some new exercise equipment. 

With any of these, the thing to remember is that unless you want it - I mean really want it - you won't be successful. Making a change - small or large - will require a new mindset to make it work. You know you can do it, you just need to follow through.

Stay fit everyone.


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