Let’s get real about 2023. What? It’s only November and I’m talking about NY resolutions. Yep!
What was your 2022 New Year’s Resolution?
Think back to January 2022/ Did you make a New Year resolution? Do you remember what it was? Did you keep it? Did you set big goals for yourself on December 31st – you know, lose 10 lbs, workout more, take up a new hobby, and don’t keep checking your social media every 3 minutes? Yep, let me guess. They didn’t make it past January 15th. Why? They are designed to fail.
Why do resolutions fail?
Most people blame their failure to fulfill resolutions on a lack of time, resources, or motivation, or a loss of interest after starting. Sometimes, they don’t even get started at all. That’s me. Great intentions on December 31st and poor execution on January 1st.
Did you know that only about 16 percent of people are able to follow their resolutions? What makes them so hard to follow? It can come down to three simple reasons. They may be unrealistic, and there is no accountability or tracking.
Sometimes the resolution is just too big. That 10-pound weight loss you think will happen next week is like looking across a lake and trying to decide if you should swim across to the other side, find a boat to get across, or drive around the lake to the other side. It is great that you want to get to the other side, but not knowing how to do it can lead to failure if you are not clear about how.
Taking weight loss as an example. Will you change your diet, move more, or get surgery? Or, will you work with a coach who can help guide you? Side note: you can out-exercise a bad diet.
Back to the lake example. What if you decided to swim across the lake? Wait! You didn’t know there were poisonous snakes in the lake. If you had someone knowledgeable about the lake they would have told you that there are snakes and guided you to a better way to navigate the lake. So knowing your how and getting help is key to success.
Many people want to start a workout program and they go to the gym, but forget how to use the equipment or don’t use it properly, and then they get hurt. Sound familiar?
Accountability or Lack of Accountability
If you tell someone your goals, your chance of accomplishing them is better. Even writing them down and putting them in a place that is visible for you to see is helpful. It’s more than just telling someone what the goal is, you need to tell them HOW you are going to do it. Same with writing it down. You have articulated the vision, now you need to articulate how you will get there.
I love working out with a trainer, even though I am one. I also have a golf coach to help guide me as I try to work on improving my game, which I desperately need. When I work with my golf coach, I try to be specific in requesting assistance with how to turn my hips better or what my arms look like during the backswing. We videotape the swing and dissect the pieces and then I break it down to work on exercises and a plan for when I practice. We then assess how it worked the next week. My swing is slowly getting better and I’m not chopping as much vertically.
get someone in your corner for support, not critique
A special note about accountability. Get someone who will be in your corner. So often we listen to the boo leaders who might say – oh you’re fine, you don’t need to do ______________ (fill in the blank), or they may be the person who “tells” you what you need to do. We all have those people in our lives. Avoid them for this purpose and pick someone that won’t judge you and will provide encouragement. There are enough boo leaders in this world, they won’t help you.
Let’s take an example. I want to gain muscle and strength. I’m not worried as much about the fat as it will go by eating nutritious food in smaller amounts and build more muscle. I have an InBody device in my gym that measures body fat, muscle, and BMI. I use it on myself and my clients on a monthly basis. Why? As older adults, one of the biggest nemeses to our physical health is a lack of muscle. I personally don’t obsess with weight although I track it religiously and take corrective actions if the scale begins to tip in the wrong direction. I do obsess with muscle. Without strong muscles, our bodies are not able to do the things we like. If you want to be able to walk your dog, play with your grandchildren, travel, lift your luggage into the overhead compartment or play golf, muscle strength is very important.
measuring leg strength with a 30-second sit to stand
You may not have an InBody device but you can do some very simple things to see how strong you are.
Measure your progress and make adjustments as needed
In my fitness class, we track the number of chair sit-to-stands that an individual can do in 30 seconds. See the above data for the sit-to-stands of my client who is in their 70s and relatively strong. Note the time gaps of sit to stands (this is around holidays or vacations). Notice there is sometimes a slight dip after those gaps. My client looks at this dip and then has a renewed interest in pushing just a bit harder during workouts. It is a good reminder to get back to fitness to regain the level.
plan for your future self
As we age, those short time gaps will show a larger decline than when we were younger. That is why we have to keep moving and keep active. By planning for what we want to be able to do as our future selves, we can plan what we need to do with our current selves.
Are you ready to start now? Yes! RIGHT NOW
Start now and don’t wait for January 1st. We are about 6 weeks out from the New Year (give or take). And those of us in the US are celebrating Thanksgiving. Isn’t this the perfect time to give thanks and begin to make that change you have been wanting to make?
1. Identify your goal for 2023.
2. Make a plan for how you are going to get there, and
3. will you commit to beginning that plan on November 25th? The day after Thanksgiving.
Deciding on December 31st that you are going to do xyz, will set you up for disappointment. Start now and make a plan that is small and manageable. When the goal is too big, it’s like looking across that lake and not seeing or knowing that there are snakes.
What do you have to lose?
Why New Year Resolutions Don’t Work