By TARRA Member, Nutrition & Fitness Coach Ashley Nutt, @actionashley
3, 2, 1… HAPPY NEW YEAR!
When I worked in a corporate gym, New Year’s was my least favorite time of year. The New Year’s Resolutioners coming in, crowding the gym, and passing out (yes, this happens more in the New Year than any time during the year), and, within a month, quitting on the gym and their resolutions without seeing the progress they hoped for.
Now that I have been away from the gym space for nearly two years, I realize it is not the Resolutioners that drive me mad, but the diet and fitness industry that drives me mad. I have come to recognize that resolutions can be a good thing (and there’s science to support this!).
If we haven’t said it ourselves, we know someone who has: “I will start again Monday” or “I will start in the New Year”.
These statements are normal and don’t make you a failure. According to The Association of Psychological Science, “Dates that stand out as being more meaningful – such as the start of a new week or financial quarter, a birthday, or a holiday – signal the start of a new, distinct time period. These ‘temporal landmarks’ make it easier for people to mentally separate from their past imperfections and failures. Essentially, people are more empowered and motivated to pursue their goals when they feel like their past failures are behind them and their future success is ahead of them.” (Source: Association for Psychological Science)
Between the fresh start of the New Year and the diet and fitness industry telling us to make this the best year ever!, it totally makes sense why people want to start the New Year big. They start their new diet, their new workout plan, they go all in with the best intentions… until they burn out (or pass out on the elliptical).
So, how do we set goals that we won’t quit this year?
Focus on one goal at a time.
When we focus on too much, we don’t do our big goal any justice. As JD Roth states in Get Rich Slowly, “When we try to do more than one thing at once, quality and quantity both suffer. It’s much better to finish one thing before tackling a second thing.” (Source: Get Rich Slowly).
Think about when you need to clean, do the laundry, make dinner, but still have a job to do. When you try to do all of it at once, you may get it done, but not to the standards you want. So instead of half-assing multiple goals and tasks, can you put your full-ass into ONE goal or task? Make that our only focus? How much better will the quality be? Will we become prouder of our work?
Understand your WHY.
I’m not going to go Simon Sinek on you. If you haven’t watched his TedTalk recently on the power of why, I’d recommend re-visiting it.
However, if your goal is to lose 20lbs, can you tell me WHY you want to lose that weight? At the end of the day, losing 20lbs is awesome, but if you don’t have a reason for why you want to lose 20lbs, it may not make you happy and you may not stick with it long term. However, if you are losing 20lbs so you can play with your kids more easily, that is a why that is going to keep you going when things get hard and mundane (because things will – that’s a guarantee!). If it’s just to lose 20lbs, you will find excuses to miss the gym, have a few extra meals off plan, and so on. Your WHY matters!
Write your goals down and look at them often.
If you write down your goals, look at them daily, and reflect on them, they are more likely to stick, and you will increase your chances of being successful. Mark Petit writes, “There’s a brain-to-hand connection that comes into effect. Writing down your goals plants the goal into your brain, and once it’s there, it sticks.” (Source: Lucemi Consulting).
Let’s make your goals real! Put pen to paper and put them where you see them daily. My clients put them on their phone screen saver, on their bathroom mirror, or a sticky note on their work computer. That way, they can see their goals daily and it sinks into their subconscious.
It’s fair that people have goals to change their body composition. And the diet and fitness industry know how to market to these people – and I can admit, I have fallen for some of them (hello, Caveman Diet, anyone?). In fact, a few weeks ago, it was released that the diet industry is worth approximately $72 billion. With that kind of money, their marketing should be on point, right?
No matter how you feel about resolutions or the diet and fitness industry, my ask of you this New Year’s Season is not to go gung-ho. No more fad diets and trendy workouts. Try to tune out the push advertisements, TV commercials, and maybe even friends and family talking about their new diet and workout plan. Instead, start slow so you don’t burn out by January 19th (deemed National Quitters Day – yikes!). Start with one goal, build momentum, and be patient and consistent. It’s not the sexy work, but it will get you where you want to go!
Happy New Year, my friends!
Association for Psychological Science. “Why Monday is the Best Day for Setting New Goals.” https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/minds-business/why-monday-is-the-best-day-for-setting-new-goals.html. 12/20/2022.
Get Rich Slowly. “The power of focus: Why you should tackle one goal at a time”. https://www.getrichslowly.org/one-thing/ . 12/20/2022.
Lucemi Consulting. “The Importance of Writing Down Your Goals”. https://lucemiconsulting.co.uk/writing-down-your-goals/. 12/20/2022.