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How to make New Years resolutions and keep them

Updated on January 6, 2012
Get lifting!
Get lifting!

The New You – Setting Goals You Can Achieve

New Year's Resolutions are frequently made but seldom kept. One of the biggest reasons that most New Year's Resolutions fall through is that people make unrealistic goals that are too far from their normal routine. For example, lets create a person named Sue. Sue is a 45 year old mother of 2 children and also works full time as a high school teacher. On a typical day she is up at 7:00am, gets herself and her kids ready, drops them off at school, goes to work, makes supper, drives her children to their extracurricular activities, puts her children to bed and then prepares for her next day of work. Usually by 10:00PM she is too tired to do anything other than read a book or relax and watch some TV.
Now if Sue makes a New Year's Resolution to work out for an hour a day, 5 days a week do you think she will do it? The answer is: NO. Working out at that pace is too much of a time commitment and energy commitment for Sue to fulfill. So what is a more realistic goal for Sue to strive for? In my experience there are 3 things that you need to consider when setting a personal health goal. 1. How much time will it take out of my daily life? 2. How long will it take to reach my goal? and 3. What will be the final outcome? In the following paragraphs I will address each of these questions.

1. How much time will it take out of my daily life? Most of us have little spare time, and if we do it tends to fall on the fringes of the day (either early in the morning or late in the evening). I am a believer in the 1/3rd rule. The 1/3rd rule is nothing that you will find in a self help book, but it is what I have learned personally through my own goal setting. The 1/3rd rule states that any goal should not take more than 1/3rd of your free time 1/3rd of the time. So if on an average day I am done all of my tasks for the day by 7:00pm and I go to bed at 10:00pm then my health goal should not take more than 1 hour and I should do the goal 2-3 times per week. Any higher of a time commitment than this puts you at a serious risk of failure.

2. How long will it take me to reach my goal? The answer is: it depends. Goals can range anywhere from short term goals lasting from days to weeks up to long term goals which may take months or years to accomplish. One of the ways that can help you set the length of your personal health goal is to reflect on how you have done with goal setting in the past. In general it is best to set shorter term goals first and then as you accomplish your smaller goals you can then set longer and longer goals. The key with goal setting is to reach your goal, so committing to not eat a bag of chips tonight will be more achievable than swearing off of chocolate for a year.

3. What will be the final outcome? You cannot reach a goal and not become a better person. With goal setting, and especially with personal health goals, there will always be an element of sacrifice. There will be those days when even the thought of exercising makes you sick, but you will exercise. There will be those days when you want to give into a food craving, but you will stay firm. If you can train your body and your mind to work harder than they are accustomed to and if you persist in pushing your limits you will succeed. With success comes confidence and a desire to try even harder and accomplish more goals.

The “New You” is there inside of you, waiting to break out. Remember: follow the 1/3rd rule, set realistic goals, and make it happen. You will be amazed at the improvements, both physical and mental that happen as you set and reach your goals.


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    • Dream Inventor profile image

      Dream Inventor 6 years ago from Calgary

      Savva Pelou, you bring up a good point. Finding someone to set a personal health goal with can be very beneficial as you can support each other through the times when you want to give up.

    • Dream Inventor profile image

      Dream Inventor 6 years ago from Calgary

      MissDoolittle keep going! It is great that you have chosen to make a change in your life that will improve your health.

    • Savva Pelou profile image

      Savva Pelou 6 years ago from London

      I found that pairing up with a friend makes it easier to keep your resulting as long as they are the same

    • MissDoolittle profile image

      MissDoolittle 6 years ago from Sussex, UK

      I decided I'd get fit, but then it's been something I've been wanting to do. I'm not overweight, but haven't done any exercise for a while, and I find it helpful for anxiety. I can't actually exercise at the moment because i'm ill, but I have been keeping to it up til now, and will continue.