New Year’s resolutions are notorious for not being kept. You could make good money betting people they won’t stick with theirs. Actually, you couldn’t, throwing in an incentive like that will change things. Why? Resolutions are just like goals, and there are good and bad ways of setting them.
What makes you stick with a resolution?
I will start exercising regularly. I will spend more time with my family. Do they sound like good resolutions? They aren’t. With setting goals or New Year’s resolutions, you have to literally be SMART:
• Specific – You have to be able to describe what exactly you want to do and specify when and where you’re going to do it.
• Measurable – You have to set measurable criteria to be able to tell if you’ve succeeded or not.
• Attainable – You have to be able to do it now with the resources you currently have.
• Rewarding – There has to be a reason why, a benefit it brings you, or a reward you get.
• Timely – There has to be a deadline or dates at which certain milestones have to be reached.
I realize that it sounds like a paragraph from a cheap self-help book, but surprisingly, not many people actually follow this simple logic. The title of every goal or a resolution itself should have these properties. Here are some examples of resolutions that are formulated in a way that sets you up for success.
I will get at least 8 hours of sleep every night
Though we all know that sleep affects nearly all aspects of our health, performance, and mood, the implicit reward of it doesn’t seem to be enough. I’d suggest adding motivation through rewards or small treats for every 10 consecutive days you do. Also, to make this resolution stick, make sure to give yourself an explicit bedtime because it’s easy to convince yourself that you aren’t tired yet.
I will do a 30-minute recovery routine twice a week
Recovery, the weak spot of every cyclist’s fitness life, is not just about stretching. You should always incorporate several recovery tools like foam rolling, icing, sauna, and mobility exercises. Consistency is the key to this resolution, you can do it while you’re watching a movie, or turn it into social time with friends or family, but never miss a session or you won’t get the benefits, your reward.
I will shop at the farmers market at least once a week
Committing to at least one big shopping spree at a farmers market a week can create a big change in your life. If you fill your house with local, seasonal, organic, and grass-fed produce, you will eat healthier and cook for yourself more by default. Your reward will be a healthier body and a good feeling you supported a local farmer that treats animals better than those factory farms do.
I will commute to work on my bike every Monday
The ultimate tool for becoming a better cyclist is to simply ride more. And what better way to do that than combining your cycling with an activity you have to do regularly anyways. Depending on your circumstances, you can choose to commute one or every day of the week. And who knows, maybe you’ll even discover that it’s the best form of commute.