The most common New Year’s resolutions are to lose weight and exercise more. Unfortunately, those two resolutions usually fade off into the land of broken promises by the time February rolls around. These two resolutions are well-intended but doomed to failure for several reasons.
A resolution must be a goal. To be an effective goal, it must be specific, measurable, and have a timeline.
If you aim for nothing, you will surely achieve your goal!
Bad Resolution 1 – “This year I will lose weight.”
- What will you do to lose weight?
- How much weight?
Improved Resolution 1 - “This year I will lose 3 pounds each month by drinking water instead of my usual soda.”
Bad Resolution 2 – “This year I will get exercise more.”
- What kind of exercise?
- How much?
- Will you do it all at once or gradually add more time/distance/reps/classes?
Improved Resolution 2 – “This year I will do at least 1 hour sessions of cardio exercise three times each week. I will start in January with 1 group fitness course and gradually add courses, reaching 3 courses per week by July.”
If you can’t say why a change is important to accomplish,
then your efforts are wasted and may even be dangerous!
Bad Resolution 3 – “This year I will increase my weekly mileage.”
- Why? How will it help?
- How much mileage is helpful and beneficial for your fitness and goals?
- Will you make gradually increases or big jumps?
Improved Resolution 3 - “This year I will increase my weekly mileage from 20 miles each week to abut 35 in preparation for marathons. I will track this during my spring and fall marathon training schedules, which will gradually increase weekly mileage by ten percent or less. My mileage will be lower in the weeks between training schedules.”
Yes, this last one got pretty specific, but there is a reason. It gives enough specifics to know what to do, when to do it, and how to know if you are accomplishing the goal. It also allows for time to rest the legs a bit and rekindle the love for running.
A resolution that is a burden physically or emotionally is unlikely to be kept.
A resolution kept should improve your quality of life.
As for me, here is my very specific resolution for 2014:
I resolve to decrease my running mileage from 40 down to 20 per week while increasing my weekly time spent on cardio exercise and strength training until it reach 10 hours.
- I will gradually move my cardio time (including running) from 5.5 to 8.5 hours per week increasing the weekly total by 15 minutes each week until it is accomplished.
- My running time has already dropped due to injury, so the goal will be to gradually increase this time by about 10 minutes per week, until I reach 3 hours again.
- I will include at least three strength training sessions each week, a minimum of 30 minutes each.
- The remainder of the cardio time will be achieved through a balance of swimming and cycling.
I could make a resolution about eating more veggies, but this is my constant battle. Every year. Every week. Every day.
Make resolutions you are willing to stick with for at least 3 years.
If you are not willing to go 3 years, then you will not last 3 months.
Will power and motivation, as most people understand them,
are emotions that do not stay constant.
Resolve and determination are there no matter how you feel.
Base your fitness decisions on them and you will march on to your goals.
2014 is a new year;
don’t make the same old resolutions.
Change your mind.
Change your life.
“Train smart, eat well, & enjoy the run!” — P. Mark Taylor
Check out these books by P. Mark Taylor for more advice on running: