This year I will...

iStock_000017646689XSmall - resolutionsIt is January 8th… are your New Year’s resolutions still in play? Chances are, that if you are like most people you have already broken a few of them. In fact, studies show that two weeks into the New Year only 71% of those who set resolutions have maintained them for the full two weeks. I think lots of people get caught up in the excitement of what the “New Year” will bring. They start off with grand ideas and lofty goals and think … this will be the year I _____(fill in the blank)! Who hasn’t started a year without thinking, “I will start to workout” or “I will lose weight?” In reality, only about 45% of Americans say they usually make New Year’s resolutions, while 38% say they absolutely never make them. Sadly, only about 8% of those who set resolutions are successful in achieving them at the end of the year.

In 2012, the top 10 resolutions were as follows:

1. Lose Weight 2. Getting Organized 3. Spend Less, Save More 4. Enjoy Life to the Fullest 5. Staying Fit and Healthy 6. Learn Something Exciting 7. Quit Smoking 8. Help Others in Their Dreams 9. Fall in Love 10. Spend More Time with Family

So, if we know that throughout the first two weeks 71% have kept their resolutions, but by year end only 8% succeed at keeping them for the year, what is it that happens during the year to get them so far off track?

By looking at the list of top 10 resolutions above, I think some of it is obvious. Setting a resolution to fall in love? Really? As if you can wake up today and say “today I will fall in love.” Maybe I’m just an old romantic, but I don’t think love works that way.

It’s great to set a goal to lose weight or to get organized, and especially to quit smoking, but the key is HOW are you going to do it? You need to have a plan and incremental steps that you can check off to get you to that goal.

I think of resolutions as just a fancy way to say goal setting. The key in goal setting is to make your goals “SMART” goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. It’s not enough to have the desire to do something, if you want to attain your goal, you need to have a plan. Also, write them down and tell people about your goals. Sometimes we get so afraid of failure, that we don’t tell anyone our goals so we don’t feel bad or embarrassed if we don’t reach them. The truth is that by writing them down and telling people, you hold yourself accountable and also create an avenue for support and encouragement along the way.

If you have followed our blogs then you definitely know I am a runner. Last year I set a goal to run 3 half-marathons in a year’s time, which since my longest race had been a 10k, was a pretty lofty goal. I did accomplish that goal, but only because I had the help of others encouraging me and a very specific step by step plan. I joined a running group and trained on an incremental 16 week schedule to get me to my first race. I then took the appropriate rest and then started another 16 week schedule. I allowed time for setbacks, but I kept plugging along, checking off my steps to get me across that final finish line.

So what are my goals for 2013? No, I’m not going to run a full marathon this year… as runners say, I’m only half crazy! But I do have a goal to continue running. I have a GPS watch that tracks my mileage and in 2012 I ran just over 750 miles. One of my goals for 2013 is to log 800 miles. If I run an average of 67 miles a month I can do that. I have a running plan in place with room for set-backs to achieve that one.

Another goal I have is to eat a more balanced diet. For this one I’ve specified a plan of lowering “white flour” items in my diet and increasing the number of fruits and veggies that I eat (this will easily be my hardest goal). Another that I have is to learn something new. Now, by my own rules set above, this is not a “SMART” goal… but sometimes goals can evolve as you go. I know I want to learn something new… and I do have a plan to try several new things to see which I really enjoy and want to explore further. Don’t worry, you won’t find me riding on the back of John’s Harley any time soon!

I think resolutions and goal setting is a great thing for people to do. It’s important to keep pushing and growing and not just become complacent in life. What are your goals for the upcoming year? I’d love to help you achieve them and cheer you on! I encourage you to challenge yourself… it may surprise you what you can do if you really put your mind to it! Sources: “New Years Resolution Statistics”- www.statisticbrian.com “Creating SMART Goals” – www.topachievement.com