This article originally appeared in Issue 5 of Mountain Bike for Her.
Percentage of people who are successful in achieving their New Year’s resolution: 8%. Yes, that’s it. Not even double digits. What is the #1 resolution that people make? Lose weight. So why is it that every year so many people wait for the New Year to make the promise to make changes? I’ve never understood it, and no, I don’t make a New Year’s resolution. Here’s why you shouldn’t either.
New Year’s resolutions by their very nature are a cause for failure, and in my world of fitness, I believe everything we do should be a step toward success. New Year’s resolutions are often made on the spur of the moment based on what you think you would like to change in your future. No real motivation, no commitment, and no accountability. So now that we know why resolutions don’t work, how can we make changes in our life to attain a new weight loss? goal and stick to it?
Photo Credit: Mark Jeffery
So what MOTIVATES you?
You have a vague goal, and it’s often “I wanna get fitter/faster/better” or “I’m doing [Insert specific somewhat long distance race/multi day event here] and I want to survive it” That’s a great start! Now let’s really think about what you want to achieve. Fitter/Faster/Better isn’t an end goal, it should be more of an everyday goal. Why do you really want to get Fitter/Faster/Better? To keep up with friends? to last all day in the bike park? to do some epic XC ride you’ve always felt you weren’t fit enough for? even all of the above! Write it down. Set a date, this is now your goal, and yes, when it expires pick another one.
As for races, you know when you need to be fit enough to survive it so let’s refine that goal. “I want to not be last” is a good start but you can do better. “I want to come in sub 3 hours.” “ I want to be in the top 10 in my category.” Hell, mine is “I want to come first.” You need to always set the bar higher than you think is possible to attain. Then when you do make it, the feeling of success is that much sweeter.
COMMIT to one change at a time
If your current life schedule goes something like this: “I ride bikes or go skiing on the weekend and a couple of days during the week. Oh, it’s winter… I might add a spin class in there. Someone said I should go to the gym… Gym! Who has time for that?” Then you sound like many of the mountain bikers I have trained.
Unless you are one of those rare animals with great determination (a.k.a. stubbornness), going from a “do it whenever” schedule to a 7 day a week structured schedule may not go so well. Change one thing and make it a constant. “I am going to spin class every Thursday at 7pm.” “I am going to the gym two days a week, Monday and Thursday.” Pick your constant and stick to it. Your calendar now revolves around that one change. Once you have this new constant down for 4-6 weeks, it’s time to add something else. What happens is over several months, you retrain yourself to work to a schedule. And the best thing of all, you’ll more likely stick to it
But what about ACCOUNTABILITY?
First and foremost, you should be doing something because deep down inside it’s what you want to do. We are accountable to ourselves before we are ever accountable to anyone else. But because we are creatures of ego, make yourself accountable to one other person. Your partner, a friend, your trainer! My clients know they are accountable to me, and that helps get them results, along with my amazing training programs obviously! You do not need to be accountable to the whole world: posting it on Facebook or some other social media avenue can actually be counter-productive.
So take this away from today’s article… If you did make a New Year’s Resolution and it failed, time to make a New You Personal Resolution. I’ve just given you all the key points you need to make a change and make it permanent. Remember Motivation, Commitment & Accountability will make your goals and aspirations a reality.