So 2016 is coming to a close, and likely many of you are considering New Year’s resolutions for 2017. Personally, I stopped setting them because it didn’t work for me. It never felt like it was a plan I could follow through on because it was tied to a date versus being tied to what I want out of life. And after the first few weeks the rush was gone because so many other people who had similar resolutions dropped like flies all around me, which became demotivating. And then it became hard, too hard.
So a few years back I tried something out, instead of a New Year’s resolution I opted to start making changes right then, at the time it was November. My thought process was if I start now, by the time NYE rolls around, it should be a habit. And honestly, it worked, but not for the reason I initially thought. I was still thinking new year, new me, but I’ll just get a head start. What was really going on that I couldn’t even see until later was that I identified something I wanted, started right away, set realistic goals and strategies for when things got rough, and most importantly I was doing it for me. Not for a cultural norm of setting a resolution, not for others, it was for me. That was the start of my journey to getting healthy and the start of my 100 lb+ weight loss, more on that another time.
Every time I set goals for myself and things get hard, I remind myself that I have been through worse, harder, more agonizing, more _____. I promise I will write about this at some point, but I remind myself that I learned how to walk again when doctors told me that I should get used to being in a wheelchair. That event in my life has had such a profound impact on me in ways I’m sure I have yet to fully understand. But what I do understand is that almost nothing worth having will be easy and laid out for you. You have to work for it.
Now I’m not saying you need to have as profound a moment as that. What I am saying is if you’re planning on making a resolution for 2017, why not start now? It won’t be any easier 2 weeks from now, but if it’s something you want, why wait? Setting goals shouldn’t be a resolution, it should just be SMART.
- Specific: Just answer the 5 Ws here – what is it I want to change/do, who will be involved, where will this happen, when will I make time for it, and why do I want this?
- Measurable: Have a way to see your progress with something that can be evaluated (miles ridden, time spent riding in one sitting, 0-10 mood scale, etc).
- Attainable: Have a stretch goal, something that pushes you beyond your limit but isn’t so lofty that you will get discouraged too quickly. Once you reach it, you can always set another one, right?
- Relevant: Your goal should be something that matters to you and will make you happier because of it, not something forced on you by what you think others want you to be.
- Timely: Lastly you need to be able to hold yourself accountable to a deadline. What can you accomplish in the short/medium/long term.