If you believe the world will end tomorrow, skip this and enjoy a good run, hearty meal and strong drink.
The rest of us, let’s talk about New Year’s resolutions. Have you made yours yet?
Resolutions are an excellent way to get
guilted motivated into healthier habits. Except, most tend to get forgotten by February.
What resolutions? Oh… Yeah. Turned out, I couldn’t really give up all sugary sweets for good and lose 35 pounds and qualify for Boston, and work out every day, and cook from scratch all the time, and go to sleep at a reasonable time instead of watch Netflix/ Hulu for hours in bed.
Step 1: Be reasonable
I am probably the 17,000th person to say that, so I’ll be quick. To be achieved, goals need to be achievable. Lose 35 pounds next year — or lose the 5 that really are there to be lost?
Step 2: Be specific
The more abstract a resolution – I’ll eat healthy – the harder to hold your self accountable.
Goals should be specific – so you could write them down and ultimately check them off. Done!
“Next year, I’ll have at least one meatless day a week.”
Step 3: … but dream a little, too
There must be a million inspirational quotes on Pinterest about going beyond your comfort zone, reaching for the stars, etc.
I could try, sure. But I don’t want to set myself up for failure. So for each resolution, I make a plan B.
Resolution: Next year, I want to run two marathons and ten half marathons.
Plan B: Really, I’ll be happy with one marathon and, if possible, a half marathon each month — as long as I’m healthy and injury-free.
Resolution: I want run a marathon in under four hours.
Plan B: I’ll be really happy if I finished in 4:09 — which all calculators tell me is reasonable given my fastest half marathon time this summer.
Resolution: I want to lose 15 pounds. (That would improve my running so much!)
Plan B: I’d be thrilled if I lost five.
Resolution: I’ll cut my coffee consumption in half.
Plan B: … [thinking] … [still thinking] … Oh, who are we kidding, never gonna happen.
Step 4: Do a monthly check-in
It’s crazy how easily we forget noble intentions. Keeping those resolutions where you can see them helps. A goal of running one half marathon a month, for example, is hard to ignore if I register for many of them advance and mark the dates on my calendar.
Meatless Mondays? Mark that on the calendar too – use your kids’ stickers to make things fun.
Step 5: Document
There are so many smartphone apps to help you track your progress these days.
For example: I use RunKeeper to track my running. RunKeeper also allows you to set goals, like a cumulative distance to run in a given period of time. I want to run 1200 miles next year, so I’ll set that up as a goal come January 1.
I also use GymPact, an app that literally pays me money to work out at the gym or run. (But when I don’t, it charges my credit card.) I’ve made about $20 since I started using it; if I keep it up I should have about $120 by the end of next year — hello, new running shoes!
I wrote all about RunKeeper goals and Gympact in a previous post, on staying motivated during the holidays. Check it out!
And there you have it, my resolutions – and plans B. What are yours?