I know I’m not the only one here who has made a New Year’s Resolution and not stuck with it.
As 2015 starts to wind down, how many of you are still on track with your New Year’s Resolutions? The problem is that most of us, when picking out our new goals for the year, pick goals that we have failed at before. And instead of examining why we have failed before, we assume that just working harder or wanting it more will allow us to overcome our obstacles. Unfortunately, the only effect this has is that we beat ourselves up even more when we stop going to the gym every day by the end of January.
Luckily, there’s a better way to set goals and actually reach them.
The first step is to ask yourself why you haven’t been able to accomplish this goal before. If this is a new goal, ask yourself what you predict will stand in your way. List out these potential obstacles and how realistic they are.
Sometimes conflicting goals seem obvious.
Maybe you set a goal to work out every morning, but you’ve been oversleeping instead. Conflicting goals could be having fun in the evening or feeling rested- if you’re going to bed at midnight, it’s a lot more difficult to get up at 6 and feel energized.
Try going to sleep early just once- it’s not a lifetime commitment, it’s just to see how you feel the next morning. Do you get up and run the next morning? Or do you still hit snooze? If you enjoy your run that morning, then it’s time to focus on why you don’t want to go to sleep earlier. Maybe your favorite TV show comes on at 10pm- can you record it and watch it the next evening? Or maybe you are up late finishing your to do list- go through your list and figure out what you can delegate and what you can eliminate.
If you wake up after getting 8+ hours of sleep and still can’t make yourself get out of bed to run, there may be a deeper issue at hand.
Take a look at why you made your running goal in the first place: perhaps it was weight loss, running a marathon, general health, or improving your speed. When I trained for my most recent half marathon, I carefully planned out a training schedule, researched the best nutrition, and followed every running blog I could find. But when it came to the actual running part, I would rather sleep than get up in the morning, even when bribing myself with new running clothes or a post run treat. And every week, I fell farther behind on my perfect training plan.
To some degree, it’s normal to push through resistance to achieve your goals. Running isn’t easy! But we also have a tendency to push ourselves too hard to achieve goals that don’t actually make us feel any better once we’ve reached them.
Why did you choose your original goal?
I had chosen my half marathon as a goal while recovering from severe blood clots. When I remembered sitting in the hospital and picturing finishing the race (with a tiara on, because that’s what you do in the Disney Princess Half), I rediscovered my inspiration. I put a picture of myself in the hospital to look at in the mornings, which really helped remove my resistance to getting up early. I also took steps such as going to sleep earlier, drinking less caffeine, and drinking a glass of water when I first got up to help with this.
Try going through your list of obstacles, and see what obstacles you can approach differently. You may need to rearrange your schedule to fit in your priorities, reach out to friends & family for help, or just change your attitude towards certain behaviors.
I would love to hear about goals you struggle with, and what obstacles you would like to reframe.
Until next week,