Are new years resolutions a waste of time? Goal setting vs creating habits

It’s new years resolution time!!

New year resolutions get a lot of stick these days, and probably rightly so. You’ve probably heard people say, ‘if it was something important to you, you’d probably be doing it already’!

However, I do believe that the end of year / new year is a great time to reflect, and also to set new goals moving forward.

In my humble opinion, in order to be successful at anything in life, we must practice a balance of two things; reflection and goal setting! (As well as practicing being ‘present’, and enjoying the moment/journey of course!).

It is important to look back at the past, and when doing so, take pride in what you have accomplished and how far you’ve come. One of my favourite quotes is ‘compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to someone else’. Also, it’s obviously a good chance to think of things you could have done better.

Whilst taking pride in what you have accomplished, it’s also important to look forward and to set goals that will drive you forward and continue your development. An example of these two things in the gym might be,

‘In the last 12 months I’ve lost 5kg, improved my strength levels, and I’m enjoying the gym’

This is obviously great, and you should take great pride in this. Then you might say,

‘My goal next year is to maintain my weight, get a double bodyweight deadlift, and compete in a Hyrox competition’

So therefore, you are reflecting and celebrating your accomplishments, but also driving forward onto the next mission.

Setting specific and attainable goals can give you a vision of what you want to achieve, as well as direction and purpose.

Moving onto the next stage, this is where habits come into play!…

New years resolutions can be great, but how many times do people set those goals, and never achieve them? I would guess 95% at least! Why? Setting a goal is great, but without a plan and also engraining good habits, it’s a waste of time.

Let’s say the 12 month goal is to lose 5kg. Now you’ve set the goal, you need a plan of how to get there. The plan should involve small steps from where your currently at. If you never go to the gym, you’re not going to start going 5 times per week! Nor do you need to. You might want to go twice a week to the gym, walk 10,000 steps a day, and hit your protein targets for a start.

These actions must become habits for you to make progress. To achieve anything worth while in life, it takes time, consistency and effort. Get into good habits of doing things well in the Micro (daily), and the Macro (monthly/yearly) will look after itself. Good daily habits (the process), with some direction through goal-setting (the outcome), will get you to where you want to go. Get into good habits by starting small, making things achievable and repeatable. If you look at so many of our members, they are successful because they have got to the point where going to the gym 3-5x per week doesn’t even take thought. It comes as naturally as brushing your teeth in the morning. They didn’t start like this, but have built it into becoming a habit, and through that habit comes consistency and therefore results. Tiny improvements over time can make an astounding difference! Aim to be 1% better each day.

A small example with myself, is a bad little training habit I got stuck in for a while when training, where I would waste my rest periods by scrolling through instagram, doing a couple of emails etc. This bad habit meant that I was not present in my sessions, and my training outcomes weren’t as good as they could have been. The small change I’ve made is by leaving my phone in the staff room when I train, and I’m only allowed to use it if I need to check my training programme to see what’s next. I’ve gone old school and started timing my rest periods again and now I’m more focused, I’m present in my workouts and enjoying them more, I’m taking in the MSC atmosphere, and my sessions are not lasting too long! The small step of leaving my phone in the office has lead to all of those positive outcomes, which over time will make a big difference. It’s only a super small and silly example, but just meant to explain how one small and easy step can make a big difference.

I learned some really interesting things about good habits and bad habits and why people have them, when reading the book ‘Atomic Habits’ from James Clear. I’d recommend giving it read to find out more!

Any questions, as always feel free to contact me.


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