Resolution – something that is resolved. Resolve – to make a firm decision about. Goal – the end toward which an effort is directed (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary).
The new year is a time when thoughts turn toward resolutions. As the calendar changes, we make decisive statements about our futures. Things like, “I will get healthier,” “I will run regularly,” “I will go to a daily Mass every week,” etc.
Resolutions are steppingstones to a better life, as shown by clinical psychologist John Norcross, who has found that making a resolution to lose weight makes you 10 times more likely to succeed than those who do not.
The mistake made is that a resolution ought not be the be-all end-all of your fitness dreams. Virginia Wade, the former tennis star who won Wimbledon in 1977, put it this way: “I had always wished to win Wimbledon, but never actively wanted it. […] If you waste time wishing, you can’t be alert to any of the practical solutions marching by you.”
Goals begin with an idea of an end result; whether your goal is to lose five or 85 pounds, to run a marathon, or complete a 5K, choose an end result. After this, short-, medium-, and long-term goals need to be selected. These function as checkpoints on your path to the end result.
The immediate, short-term goals help you to direct your focus, using statements like, “I will eat my salad first,” as you enter the cafeteria, or, “I will do 25 reps,” as you start an abdominal exercise.
They are the immediate steppingstones for your eventual success.
The medium-term goals can reflect over one week at a time or many. They are thoughts more like, “I will exercise before class on Monday, Wednesday and Friday this week,” or they can be certain distances that you wish to accomplish in your running over the next month.
Lastly, the long-term goal is your real end. It is the idea that drives you to complete the medium- and short-term goals. This long-term goal is your race date or the day by which you want to have lost the weight.
One last word on goal-setting: Be sure to make positive goals. “I will do something positive” statements instead of “I won’t do something negative.” These positive statements relieve stress and are empowering.
This year, then, resolve to make better goals and let your goals power you to success.