I enjoy the gym most when it’s quiet, which is why my favorite month to work out is December.
Not so in January, when all who’ve pledged to become healthier show up in bold-colored outfits and gritty, knowing smiles that say they’re going to whip their bodies into shape and maybe bust a few machines in the process.
Most of these folks are gone by the Ides of March.
How come? Why does research show that only 8 percent of those who make New Year’s Resolutions achieve them?
So many head into January with awesome intentions, vowing to reboot and become more – you name it – productive, healthy, organized, considerate or creative. They’re going to quit smoking, spend more time with family, or learn a foreign language.
By Valentine’s Day, major slippage has occurred, and all those lofty goals have become wispy memories. Pass the caramel chocolates, please.
Many have looked at why people can’t achieve their goals. It pretty much boils down to setting the bar too high, or setting targets that are too vague, like vowing to become healthier instead of trying to lose two inches from your waist.
That in mind, here are a few thoughts about how to set and hit your mark.
1 – Set your goals with you in mind, no one else. There are guys at the gym who look like they jumped out of a superhero comic book. It seems like their job is to build muscle. You probably have a different job, and different priorities. So whether it’s pumping weights, saving more, or writing a memoir, know yourself and set your objectives accordingly.
2 – Partner up. Solitary is what you get in prison when you break the rules. If you try to go it alone, achieving your New Year’s goals will be more difficult. So find a buddy. Complain to each other when things go off track, and by all means, celebrate your successes, even the small ones.
3 – Chill. Your to-do list probably doesn’t include adding more stress. While self-accountability is important, it’s easy to get down if you feel like you’re failing. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Allow some time to sit back and relax. Watch this bit about laziness by comedian Jim Gaffigan and have a few laughs.
Finally, though there’s a lot more winter to plow through before baseball season returns, bear in mind the inspiring words of Babe Ruth, who said, “Each strike brings me closer to the next homerun.”
More on the subject:
More ways to meet your goals: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2013/12/27/keep-new-years-resolutions-goals/4192127/
Why New Year’s Resolutions fail: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201012/why-new-years-resolutions-fail
Research and tips from the University of Scranton: http://scrantonsbdc.wordpress.com/2011/12/31/new-year-resolutions-goals/
Read more posts by Steve Piacente, a former print journalist and correspondent.
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