Don’t just make Resolutions, have goals and reasons.
Anyone who knows me can probably predict this next line:
I don’t like resolutions. If you want to make a change, do it. Don’t wait for an arbitrary date on a calendar or event to start. The best time to plant a tree is 10 years ago, the second-best time is today. Start today. Start right now.
But as I was thinking about it, I got it. The New Year is a big time to think about changes, especially health and fitness related. From October 31st to January 1st, there are 4 holidays that food (or drink or both) play a major part. Travel, disruptions to routine, and inconsistent activity and rest make it a hard time of year to focus on proper diet and exercise.
The New Year also marks annual mile stones. “Big” birthdays and anniversaries, graduations, trips, big life transitions, and other business or personal requirements that are marked annually. Changing the calendar highlights those events.
For those two reasons, maybe resolutions aren’t so bad. The problem is that they are so easy to break. Part of the reason resolutions are easy to break is because they are usually unspecific goals. Or perhaps they are unspecific goals masquerading as specific goals.
The two most common resolutions are probably to exercise more or eat better. These are unspecific. To make them more specific, people resolve to work out a set number of times a week or lose some amount of weight. These goals look specific but aren’t.
Sure, exercising “more” is better than “some” and much better than “not at all.” But a better, more specific goal would be to follow a training program a set number of times a week, every week. Now that is getting specific.
Losing weight is great goal for the majority or Americans (what is the current obesity rate?). A more specific goal would be to make a specific change to body composition, like losing a specific body fat percentage. Or, even better, follow a nutrition program, adjust as needed as time and other goals change. Make good nutrition a lifestyle.
Here is where I want to add another level. Making specific goals and having reasons for those goals might be key to sticking with it. Add a “why” for every goal. Even better, add several “whys” for every goal. If the goals are progressive or hard to measure, be flexible, and re-evaluate when needed.
So here is where I stop generalizing and talk about my goals and reasons. I try to be an open book, so I am happy to share, and I feel like real examples will help to illustrate my points above.
1. Follow a nutrition plan again: I’ve slipped here over the holidays, time to get back on track. The primary reason here is health. Nutrition is the foundation of health, I want as solid of foundation as possible. Good nutrition is also key to performance, and I want to perform at the highest level I am capable of. I also feel I am a representative of CrossFit (unofficially, because I am not a Headquarters staff member) and CrossFit Tertiary (very officially as a part-owner). I want to be a good example of what proper nutrition can do for health and performance.
2. CrossFit Level 2 Certificate: Honesty, I should have done this a year ago. I have several reasons for this one. I want to be a better coach and I want to add to my credentials. Any CF endorsed course is top-notch, attending the course and passing will make me a better coach. My CF-L1 expires in October, so it is time to renew or progress. I want to progress.
3. CrossFit Kids Certificate: Several good reasons for this. First, I want to build the next generation of health-conscious athletes. Naturally, I feel CrossFit Kids is the best way. I should have taken this course long ago too, but I didn’t have a specific reason. I have very specific goals for CrossFit Tertiary, and the CF Kids Certificate is a big requirement for those goals.
4. Be a better coach: This is related to the goals above. The main reasons are to better guide people to improved health and to build our gym, among many others. The how is more specific here. I need to work on my weaknesses. I tend to be long-winded. It’s true that I am long winded because I am passionate and have knowledge to share. I can use that passion to focus and be more precise. The first goal is to tackle this weakness then reevaluate to constantly improve.
5. Sleep more and work on mobility: I just broke my own rule; these are not specific. What does “more” here mean? I don’t know. I need to work on details. But I know these are things I need to work on.
I have a few more goals, but this is already long, and they deserve their own blog posts.
Enough talk. Doing > Talking. Time to Do. The second-best time is today.
-I wrote this blog post a month ago. It has been a busy month, I meant to post it a day after I wrote it and was able to give it a proper proof reading. Even though it is late, I still wanted to post it because I think it is still valuable. Maybe even more so. I am willing to bet there are some broken or never started resolutions out there. Start today. Start right now.