January is the time when many of us commit to new fitness goals and resolutions for self-improvement. While goals are a great way to reach our fitness targets, many studies have found that New Year’s resolutions are not always the most successful for individuals.
In a study conducted by Richard Wiseman, only 12 per cent of people who make New Year’s resolutions feel they are successful in achieving them. However, this should not discourage you from making resolutions. Another study, conducted by John C. Norcross and published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, found that those who make resolutions are ten times more likely to change their behaviour.
Here are some tips that will help you increase the chances of following your New Year’s resolutions throughout the year.
One way to help maintain your resolutions is to reframe them as SMART goals. SMART goals look at goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-based. We can apply this directly to our fitness goals. They should be specific and have components that can be measured, such as your body weight or how much you can lift. Provide yourself with enough information to track your progress.
In addition, your goals should both be achievable and realistic. This means that you should be making fitness goals that are doable for your skill level and are not out of your range of accomplishment. Realistic goals are made with an understanding of what needs to be done to reach achievement. Lastly, your resolutions should be time-based, meaning that you should set a deadline to hold yourself accountable.
It is also important to recognize the impact of our surroundings and how we can use our environment to either hinder or positively impact our fitness resolutions. Small changes, such as preparing your gym bag the night before, can significantly impact your decisions. Thus, it is imperative that we align our environment with our goals, as the options that surround us have a large impact on our decisions.
It is also important to take some time to plan and reflect on the resolutions and where you would like to see yourself this year. Reflection lets you better understand your motivation for such goals and will help you also define any obstacles that might stand in your way.
Lastly, it is always a great idea to get support and even consider the buddy system. A strong system of support can keep you accountable and motivated. A like-minded friend or even a loved one can be invited to join you on your goal or help you on your journey.
If you feel stuck or want some professional support, take advantage of the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) Recreation, Athletics & Wellness Centre’s #MoveUTM Consult and 3×30 Personal Training. These are available to all U of T fee paying students at no additional cost and consists of a 30-minute Zoom consultation and training session with a UTM Fitness Specialist. During the consultation, UTM trainers will help you define your goals, optimize your space, and explore the programming that will work for you.
Let 2022 be the year that you reach all your goals and follow through with your New Year’s resolutions!