In 2022, set goals rather than resolutions

Friday, 7 January 2022

Research from a Harvard Business study shows that 80% of New Year's resolutions fail by the beginning of February. Why? Because people’s New Year's resolutions rarely have actionable steps. Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA) would like to encourage everyone to set SMART goals, rather than ambiguous resolutions this year.

As we bid farewell to another year of uncertainty, we look to 2022 with open arms and a determination for optimism. People all around the world see the new year as a fresh slate and feel confident when setting out commitments to better oneself over the future 12 months.

One of the most common resolutions is exercising more, but with such a broad term, it can be hard to attain as it does not clearly outline what an individual is trying to explicitly achieve and what it means to them.

Every January, there is an influx of people signing up for gyms and exercise programs with the best intensions. However, when instant results aren’t noticed or an injury takes place, these numbers slowly dwindle.

Initially, when thinking of resolutions, make sure the goal has meaning to you specifically, otherwise you're unlikely to achieve them. These goals also need to be SMART - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time bound. When reviewing your goals for 2022, you should have a clear outline of exactly what you aim to achieve within the year. For example; I will run a half marathon (specific and measurable) at the Noosa Multi Sport Festival (relevant) in November 2022 (time bound) by joining a running club and training twice a week until the competition (achievable).

One of ESSA’s Accredited Exercise Physiologists, Carly Ryan shares that “Setting yourself difficult challenges is all well and good, however it can seem daunting and unachievable at the beginning. If you divide the goals into manageable, bite-sized pieces to, you will be able to tick off your progress throughout the year”. Using the example above, a person can’t run 21km without any experience or training, so setting milestones throughout the year to strive towards when training, will eventuate to completing the overall goal.

Most resolutions fail because a plan to accomplish the resolution hasn’t been made. Start small, like running for 1 minute then walking for 1 minute for a total of half an hour – slowly building from here, the goal becomes achievable. When you complete each step towards the ultimate goal, you build more trust in yourself each step and you are able to see distinct progress, which in turn increases self-discipline and motivation. Then the bigger challenges and resolutions are not so intimidating.

So, when you grab a notepad and pen to set out your 2022 New Year’s resolutions, remember you need to warm up before you go from zero to 100. If you haven’t heard the story about the tortoise and the hare, slow and steady wins the race - play the long game.

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