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Happy New Year! January is here again, the stress of the holidays is over (hopefully!), and it’s a time to begin looking forward to what we want to achieve over the next 12 months. Many of us make promises to ourselves that this year will be different form the last; we’ll finally shed that weight, we’ll increase our activity level, we’ll get out of debt, we’ll find a better job, or we’ll travel to that exotic location we’ve been dreaming about for decades. Enter the most famous animal of the month – the Resolution!

The problem with resolutions is that although they’re well-intentioned, they’re rarely effective. They tend to be nebulous and wishy-washy ideas at best, and most resolutions have fallen by the wayside by mid-February, a mere 6 weeks into the year. Ask anyone who works in a gym or fitness setting – membership and facility use is booming in January, but by the end of February, it’s back to pre-holiday levels. Where did all those resolution-fueled folks go?

Why do resolutions tend to fail us? Firstly, they use an arbitrary date on the calendar to start making changes. We get into the habit of thinking, “I’ll start that next week, “ or, “I’ll start that on the first of the month.” The danger with this approach is that it’s super easy to get sidetracked and simply think, “Oh well, I missed that start date so I’ll start again next week!”  There’s no real deadline. Secondly, resolutions lack substance, detail, and accountability; they’re overly general.

So this year, I invite you to try something new. Instead of setting resolutions, let’s set goals! Goals are specific, detailed, have deadlines, and hold you accountable. SMART goals tend to be the best way to plan. SMART stands for Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound.   

Compare these two ideas:

Resolution = I’m going to lose weight!

SMART goal = I will lose 15lbs by the end of July 2019. I will do this by shedding half a pound a week by not exceeding 2000 calories a day and by exercising three times a week.

See the difference? The resolution is overly general, the SMART goal is specific, outlines how you’ll achieve realistically, and includes a specific deadline. 

Another example might be:

Resolution = I will workout more!

SMART goal = I will keep a gym bag in my car so I can hit the gym on my way home from work on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays each week. I will undertake 20 minutes of resistance training and 20 minutes of cardio each time I go to the gym.

Being as specific as possible helps envision a plan that’s realistic for your life. Posting that goal on social media allows others to hold you accountable. “Hey, I saw your SMART goal on Facebook about working out more – that’s awesome! Did you hit the gym three days this week?” Gulp! Wow, so my friends and family now know what my plan is and they’re going to help keep me honest and accountable.

Resolutions are a great idea, but that’s often all they turn out to be. Try turning that idea into a practical SMART goal, share it with friends and family, and you’re more likely to achieve it. Just don’t forget to write that goal about taking more GlideFit classes this year, OK?

From all of us at Glide, happy goal setting and here’s to a Gliderific 2019!