Tips for Setting Goals and Sticking To Them This New Year
Most of us were more than ready to say goodbye to the year 2020. I’m willing to bet there were a good number of people out there—perhaps more than ever before—who sat down and wrote out their New Year’s resolutions with the hope of starting 2021 off on a much better note. But did you know that 92% of people who set New Year’s resolutions do not attain their goals?
Whether you are looking to transform your fitness and nutrition habits, lose some weight, or crush new PRs, there are a few tips I would like to share with you so that you can set your goals for the new year and actually stick with them.
It’s Not About Wanting It More
One may argue that the 92% of people who quit on the goals they set for themselves simply did not want it badly enough. I disagree with that sentiment, as it speaks to a concept known as survivorship bias.
For instance, in game situations, we tend to focus on the winners while overlooking all of the other players who set the same goal yet did not have a successful outcome. Chances are that all of the competitors wanted quite badly to win, so what sets the winners apart from the losers in the end? Sheer desire? I think not.
Remember that those who are successful are typically those who are more prepared. No matter how badly you want to achieve something, you must take action in order for your goal to be attained. Start by avoiding phrases like “I want” and “I wish” and replace them with “I will” and “I am” and follow up with actionable items. This brings me to my next point.
Goal Setting Is Good, But Habit Building Is Better
Goals are good for several reasons. They give us direction. They allow us to hold ourselves accountable in an objective manner. But if all we needed to do was write down a goal while the rest of the work took care of itself, we would all be world record breaking athletes by now.
That’s why I encourage you to not only set your goals for 2021, but explicitly establish the systems that need to be put into place in order to reach those goals. You should then be able to break down these systems into daily actions or behaviors that become your habits. Ask yourself “what action am I going to perform each day to get 1% closer to my goal?” Then, do the thing over and over. And over. But remember...
Motivation Is Fleeting
Every December 31st, global motivation levels are at an all-time high. We all stare at our list of New Year’s resolutions with a fire in our bellies. But something always comes up and knocks us off the wagon—a break-up, an indulgent vacation weekend, a tough week at work, the list goes on.
It is inevitable that one day you will wake up with your motivation nowhere to be found. This is why you should never depend on motivation to take action. It is simply unreliable.
If I had only trained when I felt like it back when I was competing, I would have had no chance at achieving any of my powerlifting accomplishments. That is exactly why I made sure that my habits, related to training and fueling my body, were nearly second nature. I established systems and habits that became routinized, taking motivation and emotion out of the equation and increasing my chances of success each day.
Ditch the All-or-Nothing Mentality
Finally, stop thinking with an all-or-nothing mindset. People with this mentality are much more likely to become exhausted, lose momentum, and end up much closer to the “nothing” side of the scale by the end of the year. Sure, they may follow the plan flawlessly for three weeks…only to fall off the wagon and lose all progress shortly thereafter.
Rather than striving for unrealistic levels of perfection every day, take a more sustainable approach that is repeatable. While the results may come more slowly using this method, you will be building a sound foundation of habits over time that will compound into huge gains in the long-term.
Even though 2020 has thrown us all some punches in one form or another, let’s agree not to use it as an excuse to abandon our goals. Regardless of setbacks that are out of our control, we can still strive for continuous improvement each day.
HYBRID Habits is my newest course designed to help athletes of all levels learn how to foster discipline and implement crucial habits into their daily lives so that they can crush their goals in 2021. In this course, the HYBRID Education Team and I will coach you through an entire month of habit-building strategies, exercises, and real-life applications so you leave no stone left unturned next year. Don’t be a part of the 92%. Sign up today at www.hybridperformancemethod.com/courses. Can’t wait to see you in class.
Injuries suck. Point blank. But they are a part of our sport because we push the limits every day. Sometimes, unfortunately, the limits push back. And when they do, you’re going to have a few choices—feel sorry for yourself and give up or find the lesson in this mess and rise above. Only you can decide.
Stefi Cohen has been cranking it during her new boxing endeavor that has her training rigorously throughout the day. With energy expenditure at an all time high and meals finely tuned in, she relies on Animal Pak to fill her nutritional gaps and give her the support she needs.