December Endure

December's winding down and we all know what that means...New Year's Resolution Time!  The time of year we all get motivated in a rush of excitement vowing to never again touch that piece of chocolate cake, never again reach for the cancer stick, and to workout 2 hours EVERY DAY FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE!  WOO-HOO!  Then January 2nd comes around, and we're slapped with a big dose of reality.  What then, is the secret to achieving such ambitious resolutions?  You may think from my sarcastic tone of the above scenario that I don't like New Year's Resolutions, but you are wrong...I just choose to look at them from a slightly different viewpoint.  I'll get to that later, but statistics show that 40% to 45% of adults set New Year Resolutions and 4r6% of those actually maintain it through the first 6 months of the year.  Leading to the conclusion that those who set resolutions are far more likely to achieve something than those who don't.  I want to help you become one of the 20% who make it work in 2012.

The start of a new year is a great opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start a-new to a better and healthier you, but what I don't like about resolutions are that they often turn out to be New Year Hopes.  Year after year we set these hopes (I hope I quit smoking this year, I hope I lose twenty pounds this year, I hope I....and on and on) and year after year we fail, creating a cycle that causes us to not take ourselves seriously.  I'm trying to get people to think of New Year Resolutions aka "New Year Hopes" as New Year Goals, and I was once told that the difference between a HOPE and a GOAL is a PLAN OF ACTION.  This was mentioned to me in a very casual discussion, but it really struck a chord with me, and I doubt the person who told me even realizes the impact that one statement has made.  

Here are some steps you can take to make sure your New Year's Goal is achieved by the end of 2012
  1. Determine a Goal - sounds simple, but make sure it's something you want for the right reasons and that it's realistic.  Don't be afraid to aim high, but if you set something you don't really care about or that is ridiculous, it's likely won't work out.
  2. Begin to Set a Plan - Begin by thinking through what the action steps might be to achieving your goal.  Often times the first action will lead into my next bullet point...
  3. Gather information - You may not know what you need to do to lose weight, quit smoking, start exercising, save money, etc, but there are experts out there who do.  Do your research and get in touch with people who can help...(Hint:  Pro-Activity knows a lot about this stuff)
  4. Set Specific Actions to Accomplish - Once you've figured out what you're going to do to achieve your goals, set a series of very specific actions you will take to further your progress
  5. Set Specific Deadlines - For each of the specific actions from #3 above, set a deadline for when you want to complete it by
  6. Take Action - Believe it or not, this is the most crucial step...actually do what you've just laid out in the steps above.  It sounds obvious, but this is the step most people miss.
  7. Track Your Progress - You need a way to evaluate if you are on the right track.  Setup a way to measure your progress even if that means just revisiting your goals periodically throughout the year
  8. Don't give up - What's the difference between success and failure with goals? ENDURING of course.  Keep in mind that things are going to get difficult, you are going to experience hurdles or even brick walls, and you are going to have set backs, and this is all part of a NORMAL process for change.  The difference between those that are successful and those that aren't is that the successful individuals find ways over the hurdles, around the walls, and bounce back from setbacks.  Don't expect to battle these things alone...lean on your support system during the hard times, and when you look back on your achievement you'll realize that it really wasn't all that hard.
  9. Don't stop - If you think of something as temporary you've pretty much already committed yourself to failing...maybe not 3, 6, 12 months from now, but eventually down the road, old habits will set in.  Resolve from the start that this is something you plan to do as a lifestyle change and not just a "Diet" of sorts.

Here's to wishing everyone, a happy holiday and New Year and for the strength to achieve all you set out to do in 2012 and beyond.  

Nick Pfaff - Personal Trainer & Health Coach with Pro-Activity