January is a month famous for people setting fitness goals—and quickly abandoning them. There are many reasons why this phenomenon occurs, but if you don’t want to join the masses and truly want to accomplish your fitness goals this year, you need to put the right things in place to help you make and stick to your goals for the next twelve months. We’re all about crushing goals, so to help you get there, we’ve outlined four of the best strategies you can use to set and achieve your resolutions in 2020.
Make SMART Goals
This approach is pretty well known for a reason, which is that it helps eliminate the ambiguity that makes many goals unachievable. If you’re not familiar with this concept, it’s an acronym for describing the key elements of an ideal goal. A well-defined goal is:
Its written in very clear and direct terms. For example, instead of saying that your goal is to “lift more,” it’s better to say that your goal is to “do weight training for a minimum of 30 minutes three times a week” or to “bench press 250 pounds by June.”
To be able to judge not only your progress, but when you have hit your goal, it’s important that it be stated in terms that can be measured. Using the examples above, if you state that you will work out for “30 minutes, three times a week” it is easy to see if you have achieved it or not. If your goal is to be able to lift 250 pounds by June, and you are currently at 200 pounds, you can break it down into incremental increases and visibly see your progress toward that 250-pound goal.
Another reason why people fail to meet their goals is they set goals that are either too advanced based on where they are or are not achievable due to other circumstances that they cannot change. In those situations, it’s important to make sure that your goal is achievable. It could mean taking a loftier goal and breaking it down into smaller goals that you can and must achieve before hitting that big goal, such as a significant weight increase in lift load or starting off by aiming for a 5k if you’ve never run before instead shooting for a marathon as your first attempt at racing.
For goals to be achievable, they must also be relevant to you, your life, and your interests. If you hate running, setting a goal to run a marathon is a sure way to set yourself up for failure. Set goals that are interesting and exciting to you, that help you meet your overall fitness resolutions, and that fit into your lifestyle.
Deadlines are always a strong motivator to stay committed over a period of time. Setting deadlines and creating a clear schedule not only creates a sense of urgency around your goal, it also helps you make smart decisions about how to use your time. If you know you have to be hitting 250 pounds by June, you’re going to make different decisions about your weight increases and workout intervals then if you hadn’t set a deadline. Make sure your timeline is realistic though. Remember it still has to be achievable.
Build an Accountability Framework
Another sure-fire way to ensure that you meet your goals is to have an accountability framework in place. That’s because people always behave differently when they know someone is watching. You can create accountability by either having a single accountability partner that you check in with regularly, or by publicly posting your goals and progress on social media.
We think accountability is crucial to keeping and hitting your goals, so we’re running a campaign this month called “Shred the New Year.” We’re encouraging our fellow lifters to publicly proclaim their goals and share their progress using the hashtag #shredthenewyear on Facebook and Instagram. Be sure to tag us @clutchgrips so we can like and share your progress with the Get a Grip network and support you as you crush your goals. You can also share your goals in the comments section of this post for an extra dose of accountability.
As we mentioned earlier, the best goals are measurable. Tracking your progress, either with a journal or your favorite fitness app helps make your progress visible and creates another layer of accountability. Many apps have built in reminders and other features that can help you set and meet your goals. They also allow you to share your progress on social media, through text, or email so you can quickly share your stats with your accountability network.
Make it a Habit
One of the best ways to make sure you hit your goal is to make it a habit. When we first start working on something new it takes a lot of effort and energy, but if you can make the activity a habit, it not only becomes easier, those gains also accumulate. A habit is formed when a specific cue or trigger subconsciously makes us perform a specific act. For example, the act of getting into your car makes you instinctively put on your seatbelt. You don’t have to think about it, you just do it.
Other examples include packing your gym bag the night before and putting it by the door so you can grab it and run to the gym first thing in the morning, or setting a glass of water by your alarm clock so you drink it as soon as you wake up. The best habits are formed using a single, simple cue that triggers a single, direct action. So, assess your goal and look for ways you can trigger the desired action with subtle cues.
It doesn’t take much to set yourself up for success. By setting SMART goals, creating accountability, tracking your progress, and building good habits, you can crush your goals in 2020 and beyond.
What are your fitness goals this year?
We want you to nail your goals and Shred the New Year. Share your goals in the comments. Let’s crush it together!