New Year's Resolutions?

To goal, or not to goal, that is the question...

I haven't made any New Year's resolutions this year, in fact, I generally don't. When I have, I have done like most people, and they have lasted about three weeks and then gotten all too hard. Most people find that's the case, but so many of us still do make resolutions - I wonder why?

I think it might be because we like to have goals. I have written about goals, and how they help me to achieve things that I want or need to do. Having both small goals and bigger goals allows me to work what I want and how I am likely to get there, as well as giving me something to measure against, which I personally need.

So, goals are good, right?

Well, no, not always. 

Determined, or knackered?
There are some problems with setting goals. The biggest one that I find is that when I achieve one, I am a bit lost until I find another one, particularly with the bigger ones. What if I don't want to do that thing again? What if there isn't something else I can think of? What if the time frame is so long that it doesn't have any meaning for me yet? I'm a bit like that at the moment - having completed the Westcoaster event in December, I was swearing that I would never do it again, but now that the boss has convinced me that I really do want to get under the four hours (he tried to convince me I wanted to do the full marathon, but I wasn't having that!) for the event, I now have ten and a half months till the next one...

Another problem with goals, particularly those resolutions, is that they deal with ideals, and not so much with reality. Resolutions tend to go along the lines of what we know we should do, but not necessarily what is realistic. It's very easy to make sweeping statements about "I am not going to do such-and-such any more" or "I will do a certain amount of exercise every day!" but that's exactly why they are so difficult to maintain, because they don't allow any breathing room or allowance for actually being a normal person. I am all for normal-person-ness but it's still been really hard to stop myself from making unrealistic plans about what I can fit in between coming back from holiday and returning to school. (Never fear, the holiday was awesome, but I have had the flu since the day we got back and have done absolutely nothing fit or healthy or unrealistic...)

Resolutions' biggest downfall is that they are aiming at an immediate result, and when that doesn't happen (which it mostly doesn't) or can't be maintained (which it practically always can't), it is very hard to stay motivated for something which isn't working the way it was intended. 

So goals are bad then, right?

Well, no, not always.

I am setting myself some goals at the moment, for the reasons that I've said before, but I am not making resolutions. I am making changes, but they need to be sustainable, reasonable, and enjoyable. I need to keep making changes not because of some unrealistic view I have of my possible self (we all have those, but I try to ignore it) but because health and fitness are ongoing lifestyle things.
  • Sustainable means that I will be able to keep going with things, even when it gets a bit challenging, like now, having the flu (I've never had the flu in my life, what's with getting it in mid-summer?!)
Me, working on my goals, and my blog.
  • Reasonable is to do with normal-person-ness. I have a life, and as of later this week it is all about to start up again; so are the small people's commitments and the daily round of everything. I will do what I can do.
  • Enjoyable means that I will keep doing it because I like it, not because I feel some obligation. How many of us do things just because we have to, and then keep on doing them? Not me! 
I'm still working on the actual shape of my goals at the moment, both the small and the big ones. They are something which needs thought, so I am not going to make some sudden stroke-of-midnight decision. 

As to whether to goal, or not to goal, I guess that is not so much the question. For me, it is how to goal effectively, so that the journey is ongoing and each goal met is a waypoint rather than a destination.

How do you goal?

#healthandfitness #healthgoals #fitnessgoals 


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