Every year it happens. You tell yourself “This is the year that I’m going to do something different” and maybe you do, but statistically, you don’t. According to a study by the University of Scranton (yes...THE Dunder Mifflin Scranton), only 8% of people keep their resolutions. 8%!! Based on 2018 Olympic numbers, there were 487 medals and 2,952 athletes meaning if you were an athlete, you had a 16.5% chance of getting a medal. So if you’re an Olympic athlete, you have a higher chance of getting a medal than an average person has of keeping their resolution…but if you’re reading this, you’re probably not an Olympic athlete.
So for all the non-Olympians out there, here is a two-step guide to keeping your resolution.
#1: Only Choose Measurable Goals
I specialize in helping people lose fat...not weight...fat. I have a program I made called JitFit that helps me send workouts and track food intake. Whenever I talk to someone new, he/she says “I want to lose weight” and then I always ask “why, how much and by when?”. If they don’t know how much, then is losing 1 lb good? I mean, you technically lost weight, but are you satisfied? If you lose 100 lbs, but started at 150, is that good? Obviously no, so what number do you want to hit. For example, let’s say you’re 200 lbs and looking to hit 150 lbs where a majority of that loss is from fat. Okay...so when? If you lose 50 lbs in a week, you probably got amputated and are using your new cyborg arms or torso right now. If you lost 50 lbs over 10 years, could you have done it more efficiently? It’s always important to really measure your goals because if you don’t have some measurement, you’ll lose steam. In fact, I bet that if you hit your goal quantity and timing, you’ll feel really energized to keep going.
Before we continue, what’s the best way to stay warm: having one large jacket or having a lot of little layers? If you’ve ever been in the mountains or lived in Chicago, then you know the answer is “a lot of little layers”. The same goals for measurement goals. It’s better to have a lot of little goals rather than one large goal. For instance, if you’re trying to lose weight, instead of saying you want to lose 50 lbs within a year, it is more manageable to say you want to want to lose 5 lbs a month for 10 months. Similarly, if you’re running a marathon, then just thinking of 26.2 miles puts aches in your feet. However, if you think of it as 26 one-mile goals, it starts to not seem as daunting. In fact, when I ran the Chicago Marathon in 2012, instead of even thinking of 1 mile markers, I had several 2-3-4 block increments to help me psychologically push through it.
#2: Identify a Way to Stay Accountable
When I help people lose fat through JitFit, we have a weekly process:
By having frequent communication, we established accountability. You need it if you’re going to keep any resolution. If you have nothing to lose, then your motivation to keep going diminishes.
In summary, you have to be willing to lose something to gain something. You need to do trapeze without the net. You have to have some skin in the game. You have to figure out what that means to you.
Here are some examples of keeping accountable: