You are probably hearing that a lot this time of year. For so many people, New Years is when they can become a new person. A better version of who they were the previous year. Or maybe someone they should have been, doing things they should have been doing and living the life that they should really have. But so many people miss the meaning of this term. They overdo it and forget the real meaning of New Year Resolutions (NYR).

The Problems

The biggest problem I have with that saying is…. Why in the world would you want a new you?! Are you that horrible of a person to need a new you? If you are such a person who thinks to yourself “you know what, I should probably just scrap who I was, and start new.” Then we have a whole slew of other problems on our hands! I know most of you don’t think that (or at least I hope you don’t) but you still use it to set outrageous, unattainable and unrealistic goals that leave you feeling even worse half way, or even just a couple months into the new year. So why set any goals, if they just make you feel like a failure halfway through the year? 

Secondly, in my humble (and probably un-asked) opinion, why wait til one time a year to start working on yourself? Life at times can be a complete shit show, but the most improved people will use all of these moments to help structure themselves into a better human every day. These moments aren’t failures, IF you turn them from mistakes into learning experiences. Recognize what happened, and make a promise to yourself to correct the behavior. This is an ongoing process, not just something that happens the 1st of the new year. Think about it like your car. If you only get it tuned up, oil changed, tires rotated and normal maintenance once a year… Your car won't last too long. 

Anyone can set goals, but if it lacks realistic timing, chances are you’re not going to succeed.

What To Do?

Don’t get me wrong. I know I was pretty cynical, but I actually do love NYRs. It’s a great time to use a specific reset, to work on bettering yourself!! A great time to sit back and reflect on the hills and valleys of our lives. But a “New You” is a little drastic. You are already pretty amazing. You have gotten this far in life. Fought through so many battles that define you for you and made you into a person that people love. Why change into a new person? So lets break down goal setting, and make some NYRs that will stick! In this first blog, lets use a great tool called SMART goal setting. 

S – Specific

When setting a goal, be specific about what you want to accomplish. Think about this as the mission statement for your goal. This isn’t a detailed list of how you’re going to meet a goal, but it should include an answer to the popular ‘w’ questions:

  • Who – Consider who needs to be involved to achieve the goal. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed! Goals, even attainable ones, can be hard. People are here for you. And there are probably people you know who have done what you are trying to do that would love to help.  
  • What – What is it exactly you want to do? You can should get as specific as you can with this. The more specific you are, the easier it is to set guidelines. 
  • What else – Determine any other obstacles or requirements that your goal may need. This is a step a lot of people miss. You may have a goal to create an auto repair business, but know nothing about cars… It might be a problem. Figuring out other parameters of your goal will help you see if its attainable. 
  • Why – Why are you setting this goal? If you don’t have a solid “why” in setting this goal, is this something you really want to do, and can you keep it? What will continue to keep pushing for a goal if you don’t have a “why” for doing it. Don’t set a goal to make someone else happy. This has to be for you. 

M – Measurable

What metrics are you going to use to determine if you meet the goal? Being able to measure the progress of a goal will give you an idea on if you are going towards, or away from your goal. If its a bigger goal, don’t be afraid to set mile markers on specific tasks to accomplish. Accomplishing smaller goals to knock out a big one is pretty darn satisfying. 

A – Achievable

Is this even possible? You want to squat 500lbs but have no cartilage in your knee from an old injury? Probably not gonna happen. That’s not to say you can’t make some lofty goals, and crush them. Here’s how I like to think about it….. Take a hard look at your goal. Is it attainable, but only with some hard work? Does it worry you a little bit that this one could slip away because its gonna take some blood, sweat and tears? Those are the ones that will make an impact on you! 

R – Relevant

Does this goal stay in tune with who you are as a person? Will accomplishing this fit nicely with where you want to be at the end of the year? 5 years from now? 10 years from now? You probably have other goals…. Do they work towards a common goal? If not, no worries, they don’t have to. But its hard to make goals that contradict each other. 

T – Time-Bound

Anyone can set goals, but if it lacks realistic timing, chances are you’re not going to succeed. Providing a target date for deliverables is pretty darn important. Ask specific questions about the goal deadline and what can be accomplished within that time period. If the goal will take three months to complete, it’s useful to define what should be achieved half-way through the process. Providing time constraints also creates a sense of urgency.

Conclusion

The New Year is a great time to set some goals for the year. Big or small. Meaningful or just something you’ve always wanted to do. Do it. But please keep somethings in mind. Make it SMART. And for goodness sake, don’t let it change you. You are awesome. People love you and want to help. And if they don’t…. maybe they are afraid to better themselves, and you can help them out. We are all in this thing called life together. 


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Mark Schumacher CF-L2, NSCA- CPT
Co-Owner: Climate CrossFit

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