New Years Resolution
Well as we move from 2017 into 2018 it’s that time to year when people get drunk and promise themselves that next year will be different.
The origin of the New Years resolution goes as far back as Babylonian times and pretty much exists in every culture. It would seem natural that the end of the year is time to take stock. Look back at what you achieved and look forward to what you would like to achieve.
I’m not one to discourage goal setting, but statistically the failure rate for NYR is pretty high. It is estimated that 88% of people fail to achieve what they promised themselves they would.
I personally have not made any NYR since possibly my early twenties, (I can just about remember that far back). It always seemed like a pointless exercise to me, you made a resolution (go to the gym) and by mid-February it starts to take a back seat and by December you can’t even remember what it was, just in time to start the whole cycle again.
So what is the answer?
Well, although I do not make NYR I do set myself goals. The thing is, I set myself goals throughout the year which is why New Years is no different for me. When something arises which makes me think, or causes me angst, I question, ‘what could I do to change/improve/resolve this situation’, and it is at that point that I will set a new goal. Other times its just something I fancy doing or I feel would be a suitable challenge to mix things up a little.
It was at the gym today when I was reading the ‘Gyms Strongest Members’ board that I turned to Shane, the trainer on the floor that day and asked “Are these figures a one rep max?” to which he replied they were. I asked him “do you think I could bench press the same as Andrea?”, to which his response was no, and laughed, I pulled a face so he then asked me if I wanted to try. I have never done a one rep max before and I was curious. Basically, for those who don’t know, you lift/press/squat only once the maximum weight you can, using clean and correct form. So we wandered over to the Smith machine and he spot me. I was able to (just) press 35kg, which was a way off from Andrea. However, to be fair to myself I have
- never bench pressed anything before
- just finished my workout so was not fresh (good excuse and I’m sticking with it)
- I am twice (plus a little) the age of Andrea
So that is my new goal. I am going to get my name on the chalk board. I am going to bench press more than the beautiful and physically honed Andrea.
The success of goal setting and ergo NYR is down to a few factors:
Whilst I am all for setting big goals, don’t do yourself a disservice by setting something ridiculous. Is it a goal that you can commit to? is it a goal you can financially afford? and is it something which excites you? It may sound obvious, but set a goal for you and not for anyone else, it has to be your desire in order for you to be able to dig deep when the going gets rough.
There is nothing like having someone ask you ‘how its going’ to keep you motivated. None of us wants to appear a failure and therefore if you put it out there, that little extra pressure to succeed is there also.
I read somewhere that self-motivation will only get you most of the way. To get you all of the way you need desire, and the desire needs to be bigger than the reasons why-not.
Les Brown tells the story of Buster Douglas and the difference between his first fight with Mike Tyson and his last. In his first fight he had just got out of rehab, his mother had just died and his wife was terminally ill. When he got knocked down he got up again because he was dedicating that fight to the memory of his momma. When Buster fought his last fight and got knocked down however, he had a guaranteed $24m whether he got back up or not…so he stayed down! That’s the difference desire makes.
Set a plan of action. No project is successful unless you know what the end result should be and write a route map of how to get there. If you don’t know how then elicit some help. With my bench press I have a pretty good idea, I know what weight I need to beat, so now I have to write myself a programme that is going to get me there. And this takes me back to ‘be realistic’. If I think I am going to achieve this goal in two months, I think I would be disappointed when I don’t and/or risk injury by pushing too hard.
Take time out to review, look at what you have achieved versus what you had hoped to achieve at that point in time. Tweaking a plan can be the difference between success and failure. For those of you who have ever orienteered you know that if you get your compass calculations off by just one point you could end up a fair few miles away from where you were supposed to be. The same goes for goals, when you set off on your journey, you had a good idea where you wanted to be but you may not have known exactly how to get there, so you started off in earnest with a basic idea. Now is the time to review where you are and whether, if you stick with what you plan, it’s all going to work out. Be prepared to change the plan or tweak the plan, life throws curved balls sometimes.
Those are my thoughts on success. I am sure there are a lot of other things you can do such as writing it down, visualising and using SMART techniques (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time). The key to success however is yours because you have a superpower and that power is CHOICE.
All that said, will you be setting a NYR this year?