It is the start of the new year and the biggest question many ask themselves is “what is my New Years resolution?” Many resolutions are set, but many fail to last longer than a Joss Whedon series. I stopped asking people about resolutions a long time ago. Instead, I like to ask what their goals are. What is the difference? You will find it mainly in the mindset people have when it comes to the words “resolution” and “goal.”
Resolutions and the self-shaming that follows
Setting a resolution is stating an intention. It is easy to make one because there are no specific follow up actions tied to making such a statement. You can say that you resolve to lose 10 pounds of fat or gain 5 pound of muscle, but how will you get there? You can resolve to eat healthier or go on a diet, but for how long? What lasts longer than the resolution itself is the guilt or self-shaming that follows after haven’t started working on it. Say a friend asks how that diet is going and you’ve been consuming nothing but donuts (guilty) and holiday mochas with extra whip cream (also guilty). 1. You either lie to hide your shame and punish yourself later in the gym (Danger Will Robinson! Punishing workouts can lead to injury!) or 2. Openly admit you haven’t found the motivation/time/reason to start yet and tell your friend to never speak of it again. Why give yourself the grief? It’s less healthy than that donut.
FUN FACT: the Latin origin of resolution is esolutio-/resolution, from resolvere, meaning to "to loosen or dissolve again."
Goals and the measurable distance you will go
Setting a goal is making a commitment to reaching it. Once a goal is set you are now accountable to yourself for achieving it. Goals are also much easier to manage because you can track your progress and will give you less stress and anxiety about rushing to accomplish them. Say you have a goal to increase your endurance. You can lay out a 4-week plan of cardio and measure yourself at the 2-week and 4-week mark and see how long it takes to run a mile. Knowing that you need to measure your progress will give you the proper motivation to keep working towards your goal and not slip. It is like when a contestant on Jeopardy can’t seem to remember how to answer the questions properly. Alex Trebek would say, “Consistency is key.” After each session, no one can deny you of the feeling of accomplishment you get every time to work towards your goal. Having a plan is the key, rather than just the intention of doing it. Much better than fumbling over your own words and getting yelled at by Trebeck, yes?
When setting a goal remember to follow these guidelines.
1. Make it attainable: No one can tell you what you can and can’t do. Only you can know your limits. Set a goal you know you achieve within your own ability. Never measure yourself against anyone else because every person has a different structure and body composition and operates on a different wavelength. Goals that are custom built for you will always been within your reach. Getting a booty like Beyonce is damn near impossible. The powers that be only gifts one person in this world with that ass.
2. Make it measurable: Goals that are measurable keep you grounded and realistic. Want to be able to do 5 pushups in a row without breaking perfect form? Working on your form once a day and then testing yourself at the end of the week is a great way to measure progress. The beauty of measurable goals is that they are also flexible. Didn’t meet this week’s goal? Reevaluate your plan of attack and adjust where necessary.
3. Treat yo’self: Amazing! You reached your goal! Don’t forget to reward yourself for the progress you’ve made. But that doesn’t mean doing something destructive or harmful to all that work you did, just something that aides your self confidence, your mind or your body. High fives are extreme healthy and rewarding, though not personally endorsed.