February 2018 – one month down, 11 to go. The start of a new month is a good time to evaluate the progress you and/or your clients have made toward goals. Whether these goals pertain to health, fitness, family, spirituality, career, finances, or all of the above – the first 30 days serves as a good benchmark upon which to reflect, respond, and maybe even regroup.
According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, a trusted statistical data resource for investors, government agencies, and renowned publications such as Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, about 40% of people abandon their New Year’s Resolutions after the first month. In the fitness world, the second week of February is often referred to as the “fitness cliff”. Dubbed by Gold’s Gym from their 2014 proprietary research study, the “fitness cliff” marks the point 5-6 weeks into the New Year during which member check ins, client workouts, and group training attendance numbers start to decline.
So how can you keep yourself and your clients from falling off the fitness cliff this year?
Here are a few things to consider as you try to guide yourself or your clients back on the right track.
- Set-backs are inevitable.
We live in the real world in which the unexpected is expected. The path to your goal is not a fast-paced, straight line freeway – it’s more like the yellow brick road. If you take a few steps backwards, don’t let a temporary discouragement throw you permanently off track. Acknowledge the set-back, reflect, regroup, and then move forward EMPOWERED with what you have learned.
- If it is a struggle to stay committed, you chose your goal wisely.
Even those of us who still have a firm grip on our goals have probably considered abandoning the pursuit AT LEAST once within the first 30 days. Not to worry, this is actually a good sign. If you feel like quitting, it means that you have chosen the right goal. It means that the steps you have taken so far have challenged you or made you uncomfortable in some way. This proves that the steps you are taking towards your goal are outside of your comfort zone; which many consider to be the first step to reaching your goals.
This is the most common mistake people make when setting goals. For example, “this year I am going to exercise five days a week, start eating healthier, quit smoking, drink more water, make more time for my family, get that promotion at work, and save more money.” Sound overwhelming?
Change is hard, so don’t make it harder on yourself by trying to accomplish too much at once. Try breaking up your large goal into smaller monthly or weekly goals can help narrow the focus.
- Find ways to achieve small victories each week to stay motivated.
One of the strongest motivators is success. Getting up earlier for that morning workout doesn’t seem so bad once your clothes start fitting better. When you see what you are doing is working, you are more likely to continue doing it.
Start with small, simple changes that you can make with minimum anxiety. For example, start out by going to the gym three days/week instead of five. Quit sodas OR desserts, but not both at once. It will be easier for you to adapt to subtle changes. Once you do, make another small adjustment. Repeat this process for as long as you need to develop a new habit. Speaking of new habits…
- Give yourself at least 90 days.
Our attention span is getting significantly shorter each year. We live in a world in which you can do almost anything with a smartphone. Have a question, Google it. Line is too long at this restaurant, go next door. Forming new habits and breaking old ones doesn’t happen quite as fast. No matter what your goal, be prepared to commit yourself to doing things differently for at least 3 months. After 90 days, you will have either experienced a noticeable and measurable change in your life or you will have at least developed a new habit that is related to achieving your goal.
- Give yourself a break!
If you get off track for one or two days or even one or two weeks, don’t abandon all hope. Another side effect of our impatience is an “all-or-nothing” mentality. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Life happens. You will get side tracked. However, acknowledge that there will always be obstacles and road blocks along the way and give yourself a “do-over” or two to get back on track.
- If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Enter each week with your small victory in mind and a plan of how to achieve it. Before starting a new week, think ahead. For example, if your gym schedule is Mon/Wed/Fri after work, but next week you have a PTA meeting on Monday night, and the kids have their school play on Wednesday night. Just because Monday and Wednesday nights are booked now – doesn’t mean that your workout is canceled. Plan to shift your workouts to early mornings or be prepared to pick up two other days that week.
- Every Step Matters.
The path to success takes all sorts of steps, and each one has something for you to gain:
A STEP FORWARD provides CONFIDENCE.
A STEP BACKWARDS provides WISDOM.
BIG STEPS provide EMPOWERMENT.
SMALL STEPS teach HUMILITY.
QUICK STEPS provide MOMENTUM.
SLOW STEPS teach PATIENCE.
Even though it might seem like you are standing still at times, COMMIT to taking small steps towards your goal every day – it won’t be long before you can look back and see how far you’ve come.
“C” words like “commitment” and “change” tend to make folks feel uneasy. Hopefully one or two of these tips can help you get your clients committed (or re-committed) to their goals for the long haul.