Happy New Year, feminists! It’s the most wonderful time of the year...when people are thinking about their New Year’s resolutions and the gym becomes a madhouse. Most of us pick a resolution (or 650 of them) and begin working toward them with gusto...for about a month. By March, we’ve forgotten our resolve to hit the gym every weeknight and instead sit on the couch bingeing The Great British Bake Off (and the gym becomes a wasteland).
Avoid resolution-fatigue! Be the master/mistress of your fate! Crush the patriarchy! I mean...Crush your goals! Read on to find out how!
Step 1: Pick one resolution (goal)
If you try to change everything at once, you risk losing focus and failing at everything. (The old jack of all trades, master of none problem.) Instead, pick the single resolution that will either make the most positive overall change to your life (i.e. quitting smoking) or the resolution that will be easiest (i.e. hydrate better) for you to manage, thereby setting yourself up for success.
Step 2: Make it measurable
It helps to think of your New Year’s resolution as a long-term goal. Let’s say your resolution is to get stronger by 2020. First, determine how you will know if you’ve gotten stronger by finding a way to measure your goal. Since your goal is to get stronger, it makes sense to have a strength-based goal, such as to deadlift 200 pounds for 5 reps.
Step 3: Assess your starting point and evaluate reality
Now that you’ve chosen a measurable goal, assess your starting point. In this example, find out how many pounds you can currently deadlift for 5 reps (with good form, of course — a strength coach has to highlight form). Once you know where you’re starting, you can decide if your long-term goal is realistic. For example, if you can only deadlift 45 pounds with good form, 200 pounds might be out of reach for 2019. If you can deadlift 135 pounds, 200 pounds should be attainable.
Step 4: Break your goal into parts
Since your resolution is a long-term goal, you’ll want to break it into parts so that you can (1) see if you’re making progress and (2) stay motivated. Think of these as smaller, short-term goals that will help you reach your long-term goal. To increase your deadlift from 135 to 200, you might set a goal of adding 10 pounds to your deadlift every 6 weeks.
Step 5: Think process, not progress
Turn your progress goal (increasing the weight) into a process goal. A process goal is something you can reasonably control and act upon; think of it as a cause rather than an effect. If you want to increase your deadlift by 10 pounds every 6 weeks, you’ll have to write a targeted strength program. Then, and this is key, stick to your process! Consistent effort is the only way to achieve any goal.
Step 6: Reassess and re-evaluate
Once you’ve committed to your process and given it some time, reassess and re-evaluate your progress. If you’ve stuck to your 6-week deadlift program and tracked the amount you’re lifting, you can easily see if you’ve added 10 pounds to your deadlift.
Step 7: Tweak as necessary
If you’ve made the progress you want to make, keep doing what you’re doing! If you haven’t, change the process by altering your workout program, your workout frequency, your recovery, etc. Make changes based on what has worked in your process and what hasn’t. If you’ve done every single workout you’ve written but still haven’t made progress, then you probably need to write a new workout. If you’ve only done 50% of the workouts you were supposed to do, you probably need to figure out a new schedule or a new way to motivate yourself to get to the gym.
To help you out, I’ve made a little card that you can print out and stick in your wallet (click the image for a PDF of a 2x3" card). This can help you to turn any goal into a reality. Cheers.
Want a coach who can help you navigate your way to success? Look no further! Sign up now for the January 14 fitness and nutrition coaching cohort! Email me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org