Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year’s Resolutions

I’ve never been a Resolution girl. I think the statistics are pretty grim. I read that only about 15 - 20% of New Year's Resolutions are kept. There are several reasons why people fail to keep their resolutions. One reason is unrealistic expectations; other reasons are lack of planning, not having clear goals, and lacking the knowledge to implement the stated goals.

Based on a few surveys I scanned, it appears American’s top New Year’s resolutions for 2009 are: getting out of debt, losing weight, and eating healthier.

According to a University of Washington study, conducted by Elizabeth Miller, a UW doctoral candidate in psychology, and Alan Marlatt, director of the university's Addictive Behaviors Research Center, "The keys to making a successful resolution are a person's confidence that he or she can make the behavior change and the commitment to making that change," says Miller. In addition, the study indicates that "resolutions are a process, not a one-time effort that offers people a chance to create new habits."

To be successful with your own resolutions, Marlatt, who has studied the subject for more than 20 years, suggests:

• Have a strong initial commitment to make a change.
• Have coping strategies to deal with problems that will come up.
• Keep track of your progress. The more monitoring you do and feedback you get, the better you will do.

I do have goals for this year, whether I think of them as “resolutions” or not. The following tips are supposed to help me attain those goals:

A. Choose an obtainable goal. I have 5 goals for the year. 3 are cycling related, and 2 are just “life in general” things:

1. Get lean. I’d like to lose about 5 – 7 pounds, but more important, I’d like to reduce my percentage of body fat (I’m not going to tell you what it is today – just that I’d like to drop it 4 or 5 points);

2. Ride the 2009 Mt Evans Hill Climb in 2 hours 45 minutes (my current PR is 2 hours 55 minutes);

3. Break 11 hours at Leadville this year (my PR is 11 hours 11 minutes);

4. Be thankful. Consciously choose to focus on all I have to be thankful for;

5. Be more accepting. This will be the hardest of all. I understand that there may be more than one way to do something, but my way is so superior, why would any intelligent person choose another option? Uh huh. Time to get over my bad self.

B. Avoid choosing a resolution that you've been unsuccessful at achieving year after year. Not really a problem for me – yet!

C. Create a game plan. Phil and I have hired a coach for the 2009 cycling season (more on that in later posts . . .) so that will help with goals 2 & 3.

Goal 1 comes down to not being a dumb ass. I need to cut out the 3 pm snack run, eat more vegetables and less bread, and limit my alcohol to one or two drinks one day each week, rather than having wine with dinner every night.

Goals 4 & 5 require me to be mindful – and to have some support from Phil and my friends.

D. Break it down and make it less intimidating. Rather than one BIG end goal, dissect it into smaller pieces. I could say that I want to be fit, fast and a better person. Yeah . . . that makes me want to quit already. Breaking out 5 distinct goals makes it seem more manageable.

E. Give it time. Most experts agree that it takes about 21 days to create a habit and six months for it to actually become a part of your daily life.

F. Reward yourself with each milestone. Bragging rights? Oh yeah, that is reward enough!

G. Ask friends and family members to help you so you have someone to be accountable to. Phil and I count on each other when it comes to making good decisions about skipping a workout or making poor choices at the dinner table. That really helps with our commitment. I don’t want to skip a workout or drink a bottle of wine if that means his performance will improve while mine suffers. Competition is a powerful motivator for each of us.

H. Don't go it alone! Get professional assistance.Phil and I have worked with coaches and trainers before, and each time we take away new learnings and more knowledge. We are very excited about the potential with our new coach. That alone is motivating for us at this point.

I. Limit your number of promises. 5 seems to be a reasonable number . . .

J. Keep a journal This blog will be my quasi-journal, allowing me to honestly report on my progress and my results.

Here's to a safe and healthy 2009 for all of us! Cheers.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like some great goals! I have lots floating in my head and need to narrow it down on paper!! Hope you have a very happy new year!!!