2020 brings a new year, and a new decade!
This is such a great time to think about what we can do to feel good and be better humans. It’s a great time to focus and determine what our priorities are at this stage of life.
For me, last year my priorities shifted a bit and I spent much more time learning how to be a better business owner. Probably would have been a wise thing to do 8 years ago before we opened CrossFit Paladin, but I tend to do things the hard way😬. That new priority meant some other things in my daily life had to move down the list a bit to make time for this focus. Clearly, moving the husband and kids down the priority list wasn’t an option- I already feel guilty for the amount of time I spend at work instead of with them (who doesn’t?). There was pretty much only one option. Fitness was put on the back burner. I’ve built up a good amount of fitness over the years, and I continued to practice sound nutrition habits *most* of the time, so I was able to work out less without it really impacting my overall health (although I won’t say there was no impact- my stress level was much higher, partly due to my new focus, and partly due to the fact that exercise is one of my go-to stress management tools and I was now doing much less of it). It’s also important to note that I didn’t just give up on working out completely! It just didn’t happen nearly as frequently, and the sessions were generally very brief- like 10-30 minutes total most days.
For 2020 as I evaluate my goals from last year, how far I’ve come and where I still want to go, I feel I can bring a little more balance back to my life. It’s time to focus on making exercise a habit again. But here’s the thing- if I go about it the wrong way, I could set myself up for failure. So how do I avoid that? How do I set myself up for success when making a goal?
Step 1: Set SMART goals- Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time sensitive. We teach this method to all of our individual nutrition coaching clients, and it really does work.
So, here’s my goal: To exercise 16 times per month.
It’s specific- I’m going to exercise, not “I’m going to get in shape”.
It’s measurable- I attached a specific number to the goal (16 times per month), and I can measure it by logging my workouts on Beyond the Whiteboard. It’ll tell you how many days you’ve worked out this week, month, and year. It’ll also show last week, month, and year for comparison. It’s a great tool!
It’s attainable and realistic- if I average 4 workouts per week, I’ll reach my goal. That is both attainable and realistic. Now, this is actually an area in which I had to tweak this goal when I first set an exercise goal a few months ago. My goal was to work out 4 times per week. While that seems attainable, realistic, and not much different from my current goal, it actually set me up for failure. How? Well, a couple weeks in I got sick and missed Monday-Wednesday. That’s ok, I could still pull it off! Until Friday when there was a last minute schedule change that prevented me from having time to work out. I was officially off track. I didn’t experience success, so I didn’t gain any motivation heading into the next week and ended up blowing off most of my workout times for something else- usually a project I was wrapped up in at work (I know, ironic that my work is AT a gym, and I still find it difficult to make time to work out). So, why was changing my goal to 16 workouts per month better than 4 per week? I realized it gave me something valuable- wiggle room. If I have a week that spirals out of control with unexpected appointments, kid functions, or illness, I’m ok! I still have time to reach my goal! I just refocus and know I need to be extra diligent the remainder of the month to make it happen. I can also plan ahead. I traveled in both November and December. Knowing I had a week coming up that would throw me off my normal routine, I made sure to front load the month with workouts and get one in where I might normally take a rest day.
It’s Time sensitive- every month I check my progress. I will keep this goal for the year, and at the end of the year I can reevaluate.
Step 2: Don’t be afraid to evaluate and tweak as you go! This is necessary for success. As we gain experience and get feedback it’s important to evaluate if our plan is working flawlessly, if it’s doing ok in some areas but could be doing better in others, or if it is a big flop. Then we take that info, see what we can change, and try again. The best thing about failure is it brings us one step closer to success. We tried something, we found out that method didn’t work, so now we can try something else. It’s important to understand here that I am NOT talking about throwing out the entire goal, or completely changing course. If your goal is to lose 20 pounds by coming to the gym 3 times a week and you aren’t seeing the weight fall off immediately, I’m not suggesting to toss out that plan completely and buy the newest magic pill that everyone is selling on Facebook (we all know deep down that is never the answer to real long term, healthy results anyway…). I’m talking about looking at where the holes are in your plan. What could you do to make your plan even better? What if you sat down on Sunday and planned your workout days for the week around your schedule, and then blocked out that time on your calendar to make sure you made it? What if you made some small changes to your diet in addition to the workouts? What if you made sure to attend workout days that you know would challenge you- like the days with lots of running and burpees and assault bike and all the things everyone skips because it’s hard and uncomfortable? What if you put the phone down or turned off the TV 30 minutes earlier at night to get a little more sleep? What if you did all of this?? These are all things that would help you reach your goal, imagine the power of doing it all at the same time! Set a small goal and plan of action, monitor the results and whether the plan is doable, and then make small adjustments until you find the perfect combination.
Since implementing this refined goal at the end of October- 16 workouts in a month, I have hit it each month! I’m excited and feel like I’m building momentum because I’m successfully accomplishing a specific goal. And it just so happens that this goal will lead to many other things that will have a positive return on my health and happiness in 2020. How awesome is that?!
So, now it’s your turn. What do you want to focus on for 2020? How can you set yourself up for success? How can you reach December 31st 2020 and be proud of what you’ve accomplished?
If you want some help with goal setting and you aren’t yet a member- come in for a free intro- click here to schedule: /get-started/no-sweat-intro/
If you are a member and need to schedule your quarterly goal review, schedule here
Hope you all have a fantastic year!
CrossFit Level 3 Certified Trainer