March is a weird month. It truly embodies so much diversity throughout its 31 days, that it makes it a very hard month to stay focused in most aspects of life. Everything from the beginning of spring, and the start of the greatest basketball tournament in the world, to students getting amped for spring break, and don’t forget St. Patrick’s Day! It is pretty surreal that we are already 3 months into the new year. Speaking of the new year…remember those New Year’s Resolutions? Yeah…about those…
Research shows that after the first month, only 58% of people are still holding onto their resolutions. After 6 months, only about 44%. An educated guess would tell us that March means about half of us are still perfect with our New Year’s goals. Which also means about half of us have already failed. That thought seems utterly negative and depressing, but fret not! Just like the tulips that should be blooming any day now, March can mean a fresh start and chance for growth!
One of the best ways to get back on track (or stay on track, for that matter) is to re-evaluate your goals. Proper goal setting is everything! Edwin Locke is the godfather of researching how setting goals impacts productivity. In 90% of his studies, he found that specific and challenging goals lead to higher performance than easy goals, “do your best” goals, or no goals. If you’re not sure if your goals are right for you or have no idea where to begin when goal setting, try running your ideas through the SMART goal protocol. SMART goals (an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely) are a practical and simple way to define what an ideal goal is for you. Let’s say you are a 49 year-old male that wants to run a 5K in under 50 minutes by your 50th birthday. As you can see, this goal perfectly fits into all 5 layers of the SMART protocol. If your goal works within this frame, boom, go with it! If not, you may need to only tweak a couple things to make it fit!
Now that you’ve selected the perfect goal, you may think this article is done and you can go on about your day, but not so fast! Goals mean nothing if you don’t have accountability to help push you to achieve them. So let’s talk accountability, shall we? Specifically, two types. The first is external accountability, or accountability to others. External accountability is the main reason personal trainers, health coaches, and nutritionists have jobs. This is the type of accountability that says “Hey, I’m good, but I may not be good enough to accomplish this goal on my own.” Another great way to get external accountability is to find a “workout buddy”. If someone is depending on you to be at that dreaded 6am workout, you are far more likely to show up. It is also helpful if you find someone who is as motivated and at an equal or higher fitness level than you. It is amazing how much harder you will push yourself when someone else is looking over your shoulder, so get out there and find that perfect external accountability partner for you!
The other type of accountability is…wait for it…internal accountability. As you may have guessed, internal accountability is accountability to self. In short, it is those extra steps you take to make sure you’re heading towards your goal. Simple tasks such as setting an alarm to be sure you get up for that early morning workout, taking “before” pictures, and carrying a water bottle around with you so you stay hydrated are all great ways to have internal accountability. Get creative and have fun with this one. Internal motivators are different for everyone, so find what works best for you and do it with excellence!
Specific goal-setting and accountability are perhaps the two biggest factors that will determine the results you desire! If you need help with either of these important tools, make sure you ask your Impulse staff for advice! And there you have it, a few tips to help you make this March a little less maddening! Stay focused, my friends!