For many people, making New Year’s resolutions is an annual event – and they frequently make the Exact. Same. Resolutions. Year after year. Why? Because the person making the same resolutions over and over again never achieved their goals. So why is it that only 8 percent of people who set annual goals for meaningful weight loss, improved fitness, or better nutrition habits actually achieve them? And since only 8 percent of people are succeeding, why is it that the other 92 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail?
There are countless reasons, from not being really ready to change, attempting to make changes to please someone else, or not knowing what to do to bring about permanent changes so that once a goal is achieved, it sticks. The vast majority of goals that my clients are striving to achieve require behavior changes. For example, weight loss by itself is not a behavior change; it is an outcome that will be determined by the success or failure of the client’s changes to their eating and exercise habits. So, if my client can focus on new behaviors to permanently change their nutrition and physical activity habits – which they have 100% control over – the weight loss outcome will take care of itself.
Here are some common characteristics that my most successful clients have:
Know Exactly What You Want – and Why You Want It
It seems self explanatory, and the “what do you want” part of the question is usually very easy for most people to answer. But when it comes to understanding the “why do you want it” part, many people haven’t really given it much thought. If you’re doing something because of social pressure from friends or family, trying to keep up with the Jones-es, or trying to please someone else, you’re probably going to give up within days or weeks of starting – if you ever really start at all. My most successful clients have a crystal clear picture of where they want to go and why they want to get there. Sometimes it requires a medical event that serves as a life changing wake up call and they realize that they’re not immortal after all. Figure out what’s meaningful to you – and why.
Be Ready To Do What’s Necessary
Real change typically only happens when where you’re at is far more painful then the perceived work it will take to get you to a better place. Wanting to achieve your goal isn’t enough though; you’re going to have to earn it. That’s the difference between a wish and a goal. Luckily, effort is free.
Get Help To Get Started On the Right Path to Success
This may mean hiring a professional to help you learn what you actually need to do to achieve a sustainable end result. Examples include consulting with a licensed Nutritionist to help kick the sugar cravings (will power is no match for biochemistry), a licensed Psychologist to help identify and deal with emotional issues that may be causing you to self-medicate with food for comfort, or a professional Personal Trainer like myself to help you learn the most effective exercises for your specific goals and abilities. The most effective way to make behavior change is to have a crystal clear plan in place for what you’re going to do instead of the old behavior, and a professional can help you make the most effective plans. Example: drink water instead of soda.
Have A Support System
It’s much easier to make changes to eating or exercise habits if you’re doing it with others. You hold each other accountable as well as support each other in your mutual efforts. Clubs or meet-ups exist for just about any sport or activity, classes for dance or group exercise, recreational sports teams, co-workers, friends, family, etc.
You Don’t Have To Be Perfect
If you have a relapse, simply see it as an opportunity to regroup. Let go of any guilt and move on. Today – not next January 1. Nobody is perfect, so don’t expect it from yourself. That expectation is only setting you up for failure.
There’s more to achieving your New Year’s resolutions than S.M.A.R.T. goal setting – you need to understand the underlying “why this is important to me” if you want permanent success. Call me today if you’d like help finding the shortest path to get the results that you want. After all, you’re worth it!