With the arrival of the New Year, the resolution-making begins. Whether it's losing weight, finding a better job, spending more time with loved ones or some other worthy goal, the list of things to do, to change or to quit gets written up.
The key mistake people make when writing those resolutions for the New Year is that they set the expectations too high and want results too soon, according to a life coach and two fitness trainers.
"One of the biggest things is people tend to make their goals too lofty," said Erik Walter, manager at Endure It!, a Naperville fitness training business for those interested in fitness and endurance sports. "When they see how hard it is to achieve them, they throw them out the window."
That is a year-round problem—not one he encounters only at the start of the New Year, he said.
A person may decide to start a running program, but then might go outside and decide it's too cold, rather than preparing with the necessary gear. They'll say, "I'll wait until March," Walter said.
The key to being successful and meeting a goal or a resolution is to identify what you want to do and what you want to get out of it, he said. If the goal is to run, pick a race and register for it.
"If the goal is to run a marathon or a half-marathon, then register and then you are locked in," he said. "That is an easy way to get locked into it to stick to it."
Another mistake people make is going too hard, too fast, said Becky Dastrup, owner of Reb-L Fit in Plainfield.
"They want to lose their weight. They go all out and burn themselves out by the end of the month," she said. "Exercise, from the outside, looks like it should be easy, and they start out without knowing what they are doing and they end up frustrated."
A better idea is to determine what goals need to be set and then to make a plan, she said. Then get some advice, whether from a book or a professional who will help you decide what the goal should be and what needs to be done to reach that goal.
Another key element to reaching goals and checking off those resolutions is to have someone who will hold you accountable, Dastrup said.
Leslie Sann, a life coach and owner of Living By Design, agrees with Dastrup.
"Have a buddy to help you along," Sann said. "Find a person who is a good support for you. Find someone who will challenge you on your weaknesses and be supportive."
But, be careful who you ask, she said. The wrong person may end up being discouraging rather than encouraging.
When it comes to setting those goals for the New Year, Sann said people sometimes set goals they think they should do, rather than what they want to do. So, it's critical to evaluate what it is a person really wants, otherwise the time and energy won't get expended to meet the goal.
"We don't take time to assess our values, what our values are, what we want and what is important," Sann said. "If we don't really want it, we won't really invest in it. Or, we get what we want and are not really happy with it."
A key is to get to the heart of what you want to achieve, Sann said.
Saying, "I want to feel better" isn't specific enough. Saying, "I want to walk around the block or I want to run a mile or spend 10 minutes on the treadmill twice a week" is more specific and can help you be successful.
So, it's vital to have an action plan and then to break it down into steps, Sann said. If a relationship isn't going well, decide what needs to be done to improve the relationship, then take small steps to improve it.
"Break it into baby steps and celebrate and congratulate when we do the little things," she said. "In our world, especially in America, everything has to be big and fast. We have to start small. Also, recognize the success in small things."
Once you've taken action in trying to meet a goal or resolution, it's important not to get discouraged if things don't go as planned, Sann said.
"Number one, taking an action is a success," she said. "We need to learn from our mistakes, and if we learn from what didn't work, that is a success because now I can do better next time. If I don't learn, I will give up. We need to be gentle with ourselves because we are learning a new habit."
Leslie Sann has a free download, Insider Secrets to Living the Life You Want, available on her website for those who wish to register.
Tips for Making Resolutions:
- Create a plan: Determine steps to make your goal possible.
- Create a plan immediately: Don't put off for tomorrow what you can do today.
- Write down your resolutions and plan.
- Think year-round: Nothing happens immediately.
- Remain flexible: Your plans/goals may change.