April sees us into the 2nd stage of our Goal Setting program here at CrossFit Hutt Valley.
At the start of the year, we help our members set out their goals for the next 3/6/9/12 months, using the SMART system to ensure they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.
We love seeing our members working hard to achieve their goals, but it’s not all sunshine and light. Sometimes, despite all the structure, plans, rousing speeches and supportive environments we surround ourselves with, life makes it hard to break even, let alone get ahead. We might move home, change jobs, see the end of a friendship or relationship.
These factors test our ability to sustain focus, our resilience to stress and our ability to overcome adversity. That’s just to get through the day with work, family or friends. Hitting the gym, watching our nutrition and getting quality sleep are often the first casualties when such pressure is at play.
Our best-laid plans to: Lose weight, Feel better about myself, Get Fitter go down the gurgler!
To borrow from a friend of mine, Chris Cooper at Catalyst Fitness, “The problem isn’t with the act of resolving. The problem is the downward spiral of: Resolution Big Effort Small Setback Delay Failure Self-loathing” Once we find ourselves in such a position, the trouble often doesn’t stop there.
In her article “Why Success Always Starts with Failure“, Sarah Rapp discusses this scenario and it’s likely outcomes with economist Tim Harford:
The Wrong Way To React To Failure
When it comes to failing, our egos are our own worst enemies. As soon as things start going wrong, our defense mechanisms kick in, tempting us to do what we can to save face. Yet, these very normal reactions — denial, chasing your losses, and hedonic editing — wreak havoc on our ability to adapt.
“It seems to be the hardest thing in the world to admit we’ve made a mistake and try to put it right. It requires you to challenge a status quo of your own making.”
Chasing your losses.
We’re so anxious not to “draw a line under a decision we regret” that we end up causing still more damage while trying to erase it. For example, poker players who’ve just lost some money are primed to make riskier bets than they’d normally take, in a hasty attempt to win the lost money back and “erase” the mistake.
When we engage in “hedonic editing,” we try to convince ourselves that the mistake doesn’t matter, bundling our losses with our gains or finding some way to reinterpret our failures as successes.
So, how do we fix this?
Start with: What goals did I want to ACHIEVE in 2017? Where did I go off the tracks? What do I need to CHANGE to get back on track? (do you need a new program? More achievable goals?)
By doing this you should form a clearer picture of the RESULTS of your actions. This approach allows you to create an emotional attachment to your success. Focusing on the doing is where MOST people fall down. You don’t respond to actions – you respond to results. Success = Motivation.
The clearer the result, the more achievable the habit. Next, recognise any barriers to achieving your goals, and create a plan to overcome them. For example:
“I want to go to Fiji 2017. What are your constraints to doing so?”
It costs a lot! (Plan = save $180 per month until December. Set aside $45 in a term account every week. Fiji sorted!)
I would feel uncomfortable on the beach when I got to Fiji. (Get some Health and Fitness coaching. Don’t waste the year using the Internet or Instagram trying to do it on your own.)
From here, actions = results. “I need $180 per month, so I can arrange an automatic transfer to my term account each pay cycle.”
“Dropping 20kg by the years end = 2.5kg fat per month. Easily achievable with the right advice. I’ll call Eve to arrange a consult and see what she recommends.”
Now we have our vision, we can create regular, achievable habits. Aim for consistency, so if we have a little hiccup each month, we don’t fold. FINALLY (and crucially): remind yourself of what is ALREADY WORKING and maximise it. Don’t like waiting for your machine at the gym?
Me neither. Don’t resolve to do it. Training alone not for you? Nor Me. That’s why I go to 0945 CrossFit Class with my mates.
The group thing not for you? Cool. Get a real coach and follow your own program for maximum results.
Don’t like being told what to eat?
Start with a solid understanding of what works and nail it.
We’ll let you fill in the blanks from here, or you can call CFHV for some friendly help (our “No-Sweat Intro” is free and will help you create a plan including all of the above.)
There’s nothing wrong with making resolutions in January. The hard thing is sticking to them a couple of months later! When you fail to reach your goals, you blame yourself and create a culture of failure. Free yourself: start with Fiji in the front of your mind!
Success = Motivation!