By Dren Asselmeier
Whether your goals for 2016 include drinking more water, fitting into those old jeans, or maybe participating in the region’s only all-women’s half marathon and 5k, the New Year’s holiday is a great time to set a resolution and look forward to a healthy year.
The problem with resolutions is that they so rarely stick. People end up losing focus or motivation, feeling like they failed, giving up, and never setting their sights on a new goal. It doesn’t have to be that way! Set yourself up for success and have a positive resolution experience with these tips on making that commitment stick:
Be really clear about your goal and make it something tangible. People often run into trouble with their resolutions because they might say they want to “run more” or something vague, but how much is more? A block? A mile? Every day or every week or just for the whole year? It’s hard to stay motivated when you don’t give yourself clear goals. Trust me, it gets easier and easier to sit on the couch when you don’t even feel like you’re breaking your resolution by not working on your goal.
Make it something reachable, but challenging. If you’ve run a 5k before and can run 2 miles pretty easily, setting a resolution to run a 5k isn’t going to keep you interested in getting out to run often. Challenging yourself is part of the fun! If you’re not sure how much you can accomplish, it’s okay to set milestones. Maybe you want to run a 5k for New Years, then a 10k in February, and a half marathon in April. That can be a great way to step from one goal to another without feeling overwhelmed thinking about the big, ultimate goal.
Have a plan. Many good intentions on January 1 have later been derailed by not having a plan. If your goal is something food-based like doing meatless Monday with your family every week, stock up now on a long list of recipes, and make a grocery list to help you cover your meatless staples when you’re stumped. The same is true for most resolutions. Plan out what you’re going to do to reach your goal, and make sure to give yourself some slack and time to adjust. Change isn’t always easy!
Get excited. You can do it! Hang up pictures to help you, make a Pinterest board, or get your friends involved. If you start losing motivation, repeat this step. Everyone needs to re-energize every now and then, so get pumped now and don’t be worried if you have to recharge and ignite that spark again later.
Celebrate your successes and learn from the pitfalls. If you didn’t make it to your ultimate goal, usually that means that either you learned something about yourself and the process of growing as a person, or things happened that were outside of your control. Either way, celebrate the progress you made, be kind to yourself, and consider how you can move forward. Maybe you had a great streak and hit your goal every day for a month. That’s a good start! Take a day off and think about how you’re going to start again. Don’t be afraid to admit that things didn’t go well and to ask your friends for support and encouragement. If you crushed that goal, say so! You did it!
If you’ve got a running goal in mind for 2016, remember that the best way to make it stick is to register for an event, get the gear you need, and have a solid training plan. It also helps a lot to join a group (don’t be shy! And check out Gazelle Sports group training programs here.) and have a buddy for accountability. There are so many great running and walking groups available, and the staff at Gazelle Sports are always happy to give you advice on what gear you need to keep moving.
Whatever your resolution is, enjoy it! This year is going to be great!