New Year’s Resolutions: Do’s and Don’tsDecember 21, 2018 | by Jermaine John-Archer
With the New Year just around the corner, we start asking ourselves the inevitable question: “how do I want to better myself this year?”. Maybe our New Year’s Resolution is to curb a bad habit, or get a promotion at work, or maybe it is related to our health and fitness.
If the latter, you probably have already starting thinking about your options (eat better, join a small group training class, run a 5K, get private training, etc.).
We realize these can be daunting tasks for any individual, which is why we shared some of our tips on S.M.A.R.T. and S.M.A.R.T.E.R. ways to set goals. We also looked at how we can add combine baseline testing with S.M.A.R.T.E.R goals to better assess our progress and successes.
In this article, we will approach goal setting from a different perspective. Let’s highlight some of the misunderstandings and mistakes that are detrimental to planning and training to help you get ahead of them and toward achieving success.
THE DON’TS (AND THE DO’S)
A certain tolerable limit of positive stress (such as the mechanical stress on muscle tissue when loaded with resistance training) is necessary to trigger growth and development for the improvement of athletic performance. This form of healthy stress can drive motivation, physical and mental adaptations, and reactivity to the environment.
Being overwhelmed by negative stress (such as emotional or physical strain outside of tolerable limits) can decrease the value of your workout. Negative stress can come from the external environment or from internal perceptions, and is destructive to the preservation of energy. Prolonged energy deficits can inhibit your ability to perform to your best and lead you to dread every session.
Take a deep breath and make a plan for success and failure. What will you do when you don’t (or perceive that you don’t) have enough resources to cope with obstacles? What mechanisms are in place to keep you on task? Who can you ask for help when things feel or become too much? Have a backup plan or two to ease your worries and ensure your stress doesn’t impede your progress.
Ensure your plan includes balancing your energy through proper mental and physical strategies, such as nutrition, and purposeful de-stressing activities and rest. Fuel your body and mind before you do something active and fun, and remember to refuel afterwards! Having the energy and mental capacity to enjoy your activities will motivate you to perform at your best.
DON’T MISS RECOVERY DAY
When you have a goal in sight, it’s easy to keep powering through and forget that our bodies need rest. We can be great at training, but if we’re not great at recovering, we are missing an excellent link between training and performance. When we miss out on recovery and don’t take care of our bodies, we can stall our progress, or even worse, increase our chances of injury.
DO MAKE TIME FOR MEANINGFUL RECOVERY
Work hard, rest hard! Include a recovery strategy in your plan through purposeful sleep, nutrition, stretching, meditation, heat/cold therapy, hydrotherapy, massage, breathing etc. – the sky’s the limit. Incorporate a de-load day or plan high-performance recovery training sessions within your big picture. Plan to train in your recovery zone in addition to higher thresholds to boost your ability to recover from more intense sessions. If you don’t know how, let a Strength and Conditioning Coach help (call 604.292.2502 to book a complimentary consult at Fortius!).
Progress is not instantaneous – don’t expect it to be, and don’t train like it should be. Rushing through your workouts to try and reach your goals sooner, can lead to disappointment, decreased motivation and increase your risk of injury.
DO REGULATE TIME MANAGEMENT
Refer to the “R” in S.M.A.R.T. and S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goal setting and be REALISTIC about your objectives. Structure your time around achieving small successes that will keep you motivated and on course towards the big picture.
DON’T IGNORE YOUR BODY
Listen to what your body is telling you. Pain and discomfort is not to be ignored, but are signs that something is sour. Our bodies speak softly at first – so pay close attention. If our body is screaming aloud there’s a chance that we’ve waited too long to listen.
DO SEEK ADVICE FROM A PROFESSIONAL
If you’re unsure of what your body is telling you, seek advice from people that have the eyes, the ears, the feel and the experience to understand and interpret that message. We have a whole team of experts at Fortius Sport & Health ready to work with you and your Strength and Conditioning Coach to get you back to activity and sport.
DON’T TOLERATE EXCUSES
“My friends bailed on me.” “I’m tired.” “I don’t have time today.” “I’m not wearing the right socks.” Excuses, excuses, excuses! Life happens, and when it does, it can be very easy to fall back into our comfort zone, especially if when we’re new to the challenges of training. However, we won’t accomplish anything if we’re always making excuses for ourselves.
DO TAKE ACTION
Stick to your plan, and if something goes awry, go to plan B or C. As mentioned above, plan for both success and for failure. Ask yourself qualifying questions to rule out excuses before they become habit. If you find yourself lacking the intrinsic motivation you need, try joining a group fitness class or work with a strength & conditioning coach to help hold yourself accountable.
Need some help getting the ball rolling? Check out our array of Winter group fitness programs, starting January 7, for athletes of all abilities—from fitness and wellness to performance sport.
Let’s work together to train smarter so that we can train harder and perform at our best the New Year.
Doran, G. T., 1981. There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives. Management Review. AMA FORUM. 70 (11): 35–36.
Simandan, D., 2010. On how much one can take: relocating exploitation and exclusion within the broader framework of allostatic load theory. Health & Place, 16(6), pp. 1291–1293.
Folkman, S., 2013. Stress: appraisal and coping. In Encyclopedia of behavioral medicine (pp. 1913–1915). Springer New York.