In less than two weeks a new year begins. A new decade. This is kind of major. It’s the perfect time for new beginnings. If you’re anything like me, you’ve been reflecting on the last 10 years. You’ve thought about how much has changed, or maybe even how some things have remained the same, or declined. The growth in your career, your family, or your clothing size. Family members you’ve lost. Relationships that have dragged on too long and those you want to mend. You get it. Take stock of where you are and where you want to be.
Use this next week and a half to develop your goals. Consider those things you’ll need to change in order to achieve them. This will help you to formulate a plan for taking charge of your life in the year ahead. First, you have to move with intention to get the things you want.
Be S.M.A.R.T. when developing your goals.
Make sure your goals are specific and answers the questions: what do I want to accomplish and why?
Your goals should be measurable, allowing you to track your progress.
Can you put in the work to attain (and then maintain) these goals?
Be realistic when developing your goals. Is it healthy? Is this something you can do for more than just a few weeks? Remember balance; you want to do the work but enjoy it as well. Also, make your goals relevant to you. This is for your growth, so be sure that you aren’t doing it for someone else’s acknowledgement.
Make your goals time-bound by giving yourself a target date.
Create Your Plan
When creating your plan consider the 5 W’s.
Determine your why. Why do you want to begin your fitness journey? Remember your reasons, often times this will be all the motivation you have to continue.
Who will you need to help you achieve your goals? Will you have an accountability partner to check in with often? Do you want a personal trainer?
What will you actually do to work towards your goals? This is where you think about what will be your physical activities, what equipment you’ll need, and what will be your meal plan. Also consider what obstacles and challenges you may have along the way. Do you have bad knees? You probably wouldn’t want to start out with a running goal. Makes sense?
Where will you workout; home or gym? If you’re wanting to use a meal prepping service, where will you go?
When will you begin and what will be your frequency?
Stick to Your Plan
Now that we’ve gone over goals and planning, let’s discuss strategies to help you stick to your plan. Begin with a mindset that nothing happens overnight and remember that it takes at least 21 days to form a habit; about six months to make it your personality.
Here are four tips to help you stick to your goals in the next decade.
Be Vocal With Your Goals
Don’t be afraid to share your goals, especially fitness goals. You’re not only speaking it into existence, but you’re holding yourself accountable. Once you tell people, you’ll feel like you have an audience keeping track. Caveat here, tell those who you know will be supportive. You don’t want the negativity.
Telling others can also help you gain accountability partners. In sharing with others you may find someone with similar goals.
That brings me to my next point…
Find Someone With Similar Goals
Having others around you with similar goals increases your chances of reaching your goals. You have someone that understands what you’re enduring. Your conversation is more than likely going to be on your experience with the process. This exchange can give you ideas to tweak your plan and help you reach your goals. They can offer you support and motivation. They can also be a voice of reason when y’all are out for brunch and you want to order French toast, a waffle, and pancakes.
A workout partner can be fun and give you something to look forward to. Years ago, my best friend and I would text during the day and say we would save some conversations for gym time. It would get me to the gym and the conversation would take my mind off of wanting the workout to be over and made working out a positive experience. She’s still an accountability partner. We are always discussing our progress with each other and where we want to go, as well as how we plan to get there.
Separate Yourself From Those That Will Hinder Your Goals
(At least minimize your time with them)
It seems like the people who “know” everything or have tried everything are always willing to share their opinions on how what you’re doing won’t work for you because it didn’t work for them. Wanna know a secret? Well, its not really a secret because we’ve all gone through it at one point or another in some aspect of our lives, but it more than likely boils down to their consistency. These are people who will not agree with the things you do simply because you’re crushing boundaries, whereas they weren’t successful and gave up. Negative people have an impact on your confidence, mental health, feeling of self-worth, the amount of action you take to turn your dreams into reality, and the way you experience and view the world. Limit your time or what you share with people like this.
Also, we pick up our habits, both good and bad, from those we spend a lot of time with. From the foods we eat, when we eat (think about late night snacking), partying, to how we think, the people we hang with have an affect on this. If you find yourself always having late night snacks or meals with friends and you’re wanting to cut out late night eating, it may not be wise to hang with them often because it goes against your new way of life and you will break your routine.
Surrounding yourself with people who lack drive, discipline, and focus altogether, your ambition will slowly fade. Limit your time with those that will hinder your goals. Your friends will understand if they have goals as well. Those that don’t get it, wont get it until your hard work begins to show.
And so I’ll say it again, find those with similar goals.
Don’t beat yourself up if you have a “bad day”. Perfection isn’t the goal, or it shouldn’t be the goal. The ultimate goal is to be better than you were the day before. Move on from the missed workout, bad meal, or whatever it may be and begin again the next day working on your plan. I’ve learned that the best part about waking up in the morning is knowing that I get another opportunity to become a better version of myself.
Focus on the things you gained from the process. If your goal was to complete 2 miles in 40 minutes by the end of the month, but it takes you 42 minutes, working hard towards that goal may have led to reaching secondary goals (like weight loss). You’re probably faster than you were at the beginning of the month, as well.
A Few Additional Thoughts...
As I prepare this for you, I’m also finalizing my plans for the year and next decade. It’s not too late to begin planning, as long as you begin. It takes more than thinking on these things. I began thinking about next years goals in July, however until I write them down they aren’t real. Writing your goals and plans helps with bringing them into reality. You see your words in plain view. You have to face your words. This holds you accountable; similar to a vision board.
Face those things that you feel you need to change so that you can work on yourself. Be honest with yourself. No one has to know the full details of your plan, this part of it is for you to build your goals. So dig deep and be truthful. Nothing can be changed until it is faced and the best way to stick with a plan, for a 180 degree change (360 would take you back to your starting point), is to understand why you are where you are in the first place.
Use this time to figure that out and tackle your plan to combat whatever it may be.
Focus on yourself, and if you have a family to care for and feel like focusing on yourself would make you selfish, remember they need you. The greatest thing you can offer them is the best version of yourself. In order to do that you have to consider yourself and your health. Focus on yourself so that you can be here for them and so that your children can learn early that caring for their health is just as important as learning to write their name.
Take charge of your life, Captain.
Psssst, this can be applied to more than just fitness.