Want to be happier with your fitness goals this year and make effortless progress toward them? Of course you do.
So take a moment to review your fitness goals BEFORE you put them up on the fridge, and in your planner, and on your blog. Chances are there are a few progress-killers on there that need to go.
To find them, here are 4 questions to ask yourself:
#1 – Are you still doing “research”?
Perfection is procrastination in disguise. Sometimes, delaying is a sign that we have the wrong goal (see #3), but other times it’s a sign that we’re looking for the perfect solution. When searching for the best activity to dive into in the new year, don’t search too far.
According to behavioral researchers at UCLA, people tend to spend more time than is optimal exploring their options before making a decision. In fact, we’ve often already got something good in mind, they say. But we keep up the hunt “just in case” … and end up missing opportunities. That, or we get to a point of choice paralysis, which stresses us out and kills momentum.
The best way to find a great new activity or new gym is to get out and try the first good thing that comes along. If it doesn’t work out, try something else. Remember you can always juggle multiple activities and fitness venues—it’s called cross-training. So consider that you have nothing to lose and you don’t have to pick the one best activity; pile them on and find out what you like. If you like a bunch, rotate seasonally.
#2 – Was the goal on your 2012 list? And your 2011 list?
Don’t get stuck in a rut. There’s a funny phenomenon called “length of ownership effect” which means, in simple terms, that the longer we have something, the more we value it—and the less likely we are to give it up when the time is right.
Pair that with the sister phenomenon loss aversion, which is our fear of letting go of things we have, even if we could give them up for something better.
Beware these progress-killers. They can keep worn-out exercise gear, fitness equipment, and even certain goals kicking around past their expiration dates. If you think your gym is the bomb just because you’ve been going there for 10 years, reconsider: it may be time to pry that stale membership from your keyring and try something new.
#3 – Have you already started?
If, by the end of this week, you haven’t started deliriously, blissfully, gung-ho working on your new resolution, chuck it. Penelope Trunk says if you have the wrong goal, your sixth sense will tell you not to start heading toward the goal.
Sometimes it’s wise to trust your procrastination. If you’re not making progress toward your goal, it may be a signal that you need to find a new goal—one that’s more realistic or truer to you.
#4 – Is it a diet?
If the answer is “yes,” prepare the Wite-Out and read this.
By Chelsea Bush