by Kathy Rogers NSCA-CPT
Goals and Resolutions: Why we Fail and How to Succeed
Have you ever made a resolution that you didn’t keep? Is it something you’ve tried a few times now? Any idea what went wrong? Have you ever looked at someone who has succeeded and wondered what they did differently? Do you know what separates the people who achieve the goals they set and those who are stuck in the place of same old hopes and dreams? One word: action. Action is required to create change. And although (I firmly believe) any action is better than no action, smart action is really the way to go. It was Albert Einstein that defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” Ever done that? I have. Now I know better. If you want to create change in your life (keep a resolution or achieve a goal) you need to take action to make that change a reality.
3 Steps for Success
1) It has to be SMART.
The first thing you need to do is look at the resolution. Is it specific? Measurable? Action oriented? Realistic? Can you break it down into steps you can put in a time frame? Write your resolution down. Tell people, the more the better. This makes it real, gives it life.
2) It needs to be actionable.
The next thing you do is break it into actionable steps. Let me give you an example of the one resolution I failed to act on last year and what I’m going to do differently this year to create success. Last year I decided to switch out the canned beans in my diet for dried ones (a bit healthier and cheaper). It was so simple that I overlooked creating the action plan necessary. What will I do differently this year?
Buy the damn beans. I’m going to start with black beans and kidney beans. I’m going to get them by January 3rd. (Specific, action-oriented, and within a time frame).
- I’m going to cook these beans on January 8th when I’m batch cooking for the week, then freeze them in little containers. I’ll repeat this every week with different kinds until I have a little stockpile going. Since I tend to plan out my meals a week in advance, I can make more or less depending on what I’ll be cooking that week. I’m pretty sure this is going to work. I’ll let you know.
3) It must be reassessed often.
Finally, you need to check in with your new habit. Do this weekly at first, then monthly. What’s working? What’s not? It’s better to reassess and make an adjustment than it is to fail miserably and wait a year before thinking about it again (like I did with the beans…). What action steps can you take to make an adjustment? Do you need to call in some reinforcement? If you’re on track what can you focus on next? Write down your focus and keep moving towards your goals. Enjoy the journey….
Remember, and this is super important—write your goals down, and tell people. If you don’t, you’re making it easy to fail yourself. Feel free to start by sharing your goals and resolutions with me… I love to hear from you! When you know the first action step towards your resolution, do it right away. Why wait? And if you need any help, let me know.
What’s the scariest holiday I know? It’s Halloween, and for reasons other than zombies and clowns. It’s the candy—it’s everywhere, and not only that, but it’s in those tiny little packages that say “I’m so small, what harm can I do?”
Actually, candy says much more than that to me. Those of you that know me know I’m a crazy-eyed candy freak. Or more accurately, I can become one if I don’t have a plan of attack. One year on The Night Ride (a cycling event) with my friend Suzanne, one of the “pit stops” had a disco party with music, dancing, and tons of candy everywhere. Struck by surprise, I dug in. I remember Suzanne saying “I’ve never seen anyone eat that much candy in my life.” It’s that bad. Or the time my husband, Shawn, told the entire boot camp group I was teaching that he went to work one night and came home to find me asleep in bed surrounded by tiny candy wrappers.
We all have weaknesses and nobody’s perfect. If we acknowledge our minor transgressions we can learn from them and move on. I don’t eat much candy these days— it’s simply not a healthy choice and it doesn’t serve us in any way. In fact, after 10 years in the fitness profession, I can tell you that sugar and alcohol are, hands down, the two factors most likely to derail a person from their weight loss program.
As with anything in life, you have to have a plan to achieve success, and that means also having a “Plan B” for when you face the unexpected. What kind of planning can you do to make sure you don’t go overboard at Halloween? I’ve heard a lot of ideas about this, mostly from people who just don’t get it. What I can give you (having learned the hard way) is a few tips that actually do work. Try them all or just the ones that sound best to you. Let me know how it goes.
#1. Give your Favorites the Immunity Idol:
That’s right, don’t forsake your favorites. Pick the ones you love the best and set a limit. This year for sure I’ll have a couple Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and some M+Ms. They’re a treat. Set your limit and stick to it. If you skip it all you may break down later. Just have what you like best and forget the rest—it’s not worth it.
#2. Try Kid-Cool Candy Alternatives:
If you can keep candy out of your house entirely, choose some prizes that kids actually love (just don’t be that asshole passing out stale raisins). A few things kids actually love:
- Silly Bandz (these have been outlawed at most schools but kids still love them at home)
- Chinese Erasers
- Temporary Tattoos
- Pre-pasted Toothbrushes (kids love those little Wisp brushes)
- Granola Bars
All of these items can be found at your local “big” store—most can even be found at smaller grocery stores like New Seasons. And in honor of sustainability, try to make it something that’s useful, not just plastic junk that’ll go in the trash.
#3. If you Must Buy Candy to Pass Out, Choose a Kind you Don’t Like:
Forget temptation. Leave it at the door. If you love chocolate, buy those nasty little lollipops or gummy bears (this works great for me, I’d never bother to put anything like this in my mouth). If it’s jelly beans for you, give out junior mints. There’s nothing worse than being left with a shitload of your favorite candy (it talks, remember?) Why torture yourself? When I was growing up, we didn’t get a lot of trick-or-treaters. Every year though, without fail, my mother would buy a big bag of mini Snickers and one of M+Ms. She’d leave the front light on until about 630, then she’d shut it off, say “Well I guess that’s it” and proceed to dig in. Don’t plan ahead to buy extra candy for yourself. Don’t buy candy for your “family.” That’s the mindset of a person who doesn’t want to succeed, not you.
#4. Reward yourself for Sticking to the Plan:
It is bribery and it does work. Plan a reward for sticking to the script: clothes or accessories, a new fitness gadget or equipment, new music or a trip. Let the reward be worthy of the effort. I have monthly rewards that are smaller than my quarterly rewards. If you want to roll staying healthy this Halloween into an even greater goal, the reward might be bigger.
#5. Carry your Internal Motivation with you at All Times:
Bribery is external motivation—it works, but only goes so far. To maintain long-term focus, you need to look within. Why are you making this effort to stay healthy? What compelling reasons do you have to stay at it? Dig deep. For me, everything in my life is better when I’m feeling my best. To be fit enough to do any activity that comes my way, to have confidence that carries over to every other area of my life… I could go on and on. What drives me is the desire to help people realize how much they’re capable of, how good they can feel, and for me to do that I need to be at my best all the time. So thank you—you guys help me stay motivated. To take that internal motivation a step further, write your compelling reason on a note card and stick it in your wallet. Take it out and look at it any time you feel your motivation waning. My card says “Lead by example.” It helps to keep me focused. When you make your card, tell me what it says.
The key to maintaining focus with your goals is finding what works for you, making a plan, and sticking to it. You can keep the sugar zombies at bay this year by making a pre-emptive strike and implementing a few of the above strategies. Got any other great ideas that work for you? Please share—you know some of us need all the help we can get. Have a safe and happy Halloween.
Big Big Love,