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Resolutions Vs Goals

Resolutions Vs Goals

Oh, January.

In some ways you are a very welcome reprieve, signaling the end of 2020 and a fresh start to a new beginning.

And in other ways you bring the burden of goals and resolutions. Oh, and the cold, dreary weather without the excitement of Christmas to shroud the chill.

But I think, ultimately, we as a whole are excited for January. But I wanted to talk to you today about goals.

Goal-setting is really important. Setting goals makes sure we are moving and progressing in life. The beloved Mark Twain once said, “Without dreams & goals there is no living, only merely existing, and that is not why we are here.”

But how do you make sure that the goals you are setting are good ones and not some lame resolutions that are absolutely unattainable?

Resisting the Resolution Hype

The main problem with resolutions is that they are made while sitting around the kitchen table with your family usually on a scrap piece of paper and placed in a jar that will never be looked at again. There is often no real thought about what resolution you are making, and rarely insight on if the resolution is attainable.

I did a quick google search to see the top 5 resolutions made each year and here is one from inc.com:

  • Diet or eat healthier
  • Exercise more
  • Lose weight
  • Save more & spend less
  • Learn a new skill or hobby

First off, the fact that the first 3 have to do with weight loss is a whole other topic that deserves its own blog post. But what I really want to focus on today is how these resolutions fail to measure success. For example, what does ‘exercise more’ even mean? Kill yourself with cardio machines that you hate every single day of the year? That sounds like a terrible, terrible idea for many reasons. And then what does ‘save more & spend less’ mean? Save $1 more? $1,000 more? Who really knows!

None of these top 5 most popular resolutions year after year have any way to succeed because they are so broad and unspecific. No wonder 80% of all resolutions are broken within the first month of the year.

SMART Goals

So to resist the resolution hype, try making SMART goals instead. SMART goals stand for:

S – Specific (or other ‘S’ words I think are fitting: simple, sensible, significant)

M – Measurable (or meaningful, motivating)

A – Achievable (or agreeable, attainable)

R – Relevant (or reasonable, realistic, results-based)

T – Time-Based (or time-sensitive, time bound)

Like I mentioned before, resolutions are often none of these things. They are too broad, too unattainable, and don’t have a real end goal in sight (other than to never eat sugar again & swear off swearing forever)!

When you make a SMART goal, you set yourself up for success. You lay out very specifically what your goal is, why your goal is important, how you will know when your goal is accomplished, how you can accomplish your goal and if it is even realistic (looking at you “no carbs ever again” resolution), if your goal is worthwhile and if it’s the right time to set your goal.

I love the thought of if it’s the right time to set your goal. Maybe saving a big lump sum of money this year is a goal you’ve thought about. You could break down how much you make and how much you could save per paycheck. But I challenge you to really think about the timing. With everything going on in the world, and work being so unsteady, maybe right now isn’t the best time to save so much. Maybe cut that amount in half and check in with yourself to see if that feels a little bit better.

Set Those Goals

Like I mentioned in the beginning of this blog post, it is very important to set goals. It just doesn’t do much if we don’t have the right intentions or a very concrete step by step on how to achieve said goal. So, as you sit down and make a few goals for yourself this year, think about where you are in life (seeing that we all just made it through 2020), what you want to accomplish, why you want to accomplish it and how you are going to do it.

I’m also going to challenge you to set a goal that has absolutely nothing to do with changing your body. Instead, focus on goals that bring more balance to all areas of your life.

Use the SMART goal framework (there are a ton of resources online!), and really be intentional about your goals for 2021.

And to finish, one of my favorite quotes:

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”
― Henry David Thoreau

With that, go and set a few SMART goals that will make you proud of who you become as you work on achieving them.

 

Resources:

Pursue What Matters Episode 61 – Goal Check

Resolutions Article

 Top 3 Reasons New Years Resolutions Fail Forbes Article

SMART Goal Framework to get you started

Commuting Musings

Commuting Musings

As you probably know by now, I got married almost a year ago (!!), and it’s been an adventure. We’ve survived a global pandemic, living with my parents and navigating our life together while he is a Student Athlete. (more…)

Lessons From Quarantine

Lessons From Quarantine

2020 has been a heavy year. I don’t need to point out all the ways, because I think we’ve seen it everywhere, but I’ve been feeling heavy for a few months. I’ve been giving myself grace, but I am tired of feeling this way. Just when I think America is coming together (quarantine), something massive comes up and the polarization is unbelievable (race issues/politics). (more…)

Transformation Challenge

Transformation Challenge

Like I’ve mentioned before, I’m a fitness coach at Orange Theory Fitness and we just finished an 8-week long transformation challenge as a company.

If you know me, you know that my turmoil was pretty high when I heard we’d be doing it and that I was encouraged to 1) participate and 2) recommend it to members.

I’ve been working here at Balance Health & Healing since 2016. And since that time, my ideals have changed dramatically. I don’t weigh myself anymore, I don’t count calories, I try to eat and exercise intuitively. I really have found a peace with body acceptance and seeing it as an instrument to do all the things I love. So, the idea of a “transformation” challenge didn’t sit well.

First of all, I didn’t love the word transformation. That word feels like your body is something you need to transform. I didn’t want to stand behind something I didn’t believe in, but I also recognized it was my job. Kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place. So, I spent a lot of time pondering. What is something positive that could come out of this? What can I portray as positive “transformation?”

After lots of thought and research, I came up with the following three things that I believe will improve quality of life. I encouraged all of the members participating to focus on:

Drink enough water.

One of the simplest, yet most important aspects of our health is hydration. (Which shouldn’t be incredibly surprising, seeing that the human body is made up of approximately 60% water).

  1. Being properly hydrated helps regulate body temperature. When our core body temperature rises above normal, unnecessary stress is placed on our bodies. Often, that interferes with the body’s energy system and negatively affects both performance and recovery.
  2. Water also helps regulate blood pressure. Effectively regulated blood pressure normalizes heart rate, which therefore keeps our bodies moving properly.
  3. Water also helps move and transport essential energy nutrients. All of our essential macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fats) that are used for energy are transported by fluid in the body. And as a bonus, water helps remove any metabolic waste that is produced during exercise.
  4. Not only does water keep our energy sources working, it improves brain function. Studies have shown that even just mild dehydration can impair your mood, energy levels and lead to major reductions in memory and brain performance.
  5. Water protects sensitive tissues, lubricates and cushions your joints and every cell, tissues and organ in your body needs water to work properly. I think I’ve made my point. Stay hydrated. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine have determined that adequate daily fluid intake is about 16 cups of water for men, and about 12 cups of water for women. I know that water intake is very individualized and will vary person to person, but my point was for myself and the members to stay hydrated.

Get enough sleep.

Ah. This is a hard one. Whenever a member would come talk to me about goals, one of the first things I always ask is, “Are you getting enough sleep?” Like water, sleep is vital for overall health and well-being. Although we know this, the reality is that very few of us actually make the seven-nine hours a night a priority. Our sleep needs vary over our lifespan, and everybody is different when it comes to how much sleep you personally need. However, the National Sleep Foundation recommends 18-64 year old’s anywhere from 7-9 hours of sleep per night. (You can get more information on how to find out how much sleep you need here)

I am someone who loves sleep. I do really well on 8 hours, but that is a hard commitment to hold! My husband loves to watch movies, and by the time we wrap up our jam-packed day, it’s late. Over the last 3 years, I’ve really tried to shift into more of a morning person (because studies show we are most productive in the morning). But if I am up at 6 am and need 8 hours of sleep, I need to be ASLEEP by 10! It’s a big commitment. However, in the 8-week challenge I did my best to average 8 hours a night, and boy, it makes such a difference!

Take the time to recover.

This goes hand-in-hand with sleep, but recovery is vital to a quality life. There are so many different definitions of recovery, but a few things I tried to focus on were:

  1. Take time to rest during your day. 20-minute cat naps do wonders!
  2. Foam roll. If you’ve ever done it before, you know foam rolling isn’t fun (read: OUCH), but it is a necessary evil to help prevent DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). It can also help prevent injuries, increase range of motion and improve performance.
  3. Stretching for 2-3 times a week
  4. Recover mentally & emotionally. When you get home from work, unplug. Play outside. Go on walks. Devote time to personal relationships and find other interests. I love to puzzle, but I can always find a million excuses as to why I shouldn’t start one. So these last few weeks, I’ve set one up and just worked on it a little bit at a time. It’s been so good for my creativity, my stress, and honestly my play. Recovering mentally and emotionally is usually on the bottom of our list, but it is just as important for a well-balanced life as all the other things I listed above.

Changing my mindset about the transformation challenge really did make it a cool experience for me. Focusing on small and simple, yet highly important aspects of health and wellness was a great reminder for myself to set goals. Sometimes I get a little lackadaisical about goal-setting, but it is an important piece of our life to improve and to grow. I have no idea if I lost or gained a single pound or body fat percentage or any muscle growth, because that wasn’t my focus. Drinking water, resting and recovering were my focus, and it was a really nice 8 weeks.

 

Resources:

How Hydration Affects Performance – link

How Much Water Should You Drink Every Day? – link

How Much Sleep Do We Really Need? Sleep Foundation – link

Leadership Survival Skills Workshop – link

 

The Beauty of Exercise

The Beauty of Exercise

Rocky Relationship

I don’t know about you, but my relationship with exercise has always been a little rocky. I think I’ve mentioned it before, but I grew up as a gymnast, and then did competitive and high school cheerleading after that. I was an active little girl! As a nine and ten-year-old, I had four, four-hour long practices a week. That’s 16 hours a week of highly active practice! It never felt like exercise, because I was just practicing being a better athlete, and even though we had conditioning, I knew it was to make me a better. (more…)