Studies have shown that over 63% of people fail their New Year's resolutions within the first month. Don’t be one of those people this year and set yourself realistic goals that will help motivate you to achieve your resolutions. It has been proven that people who write down their goals are far more likely to achieve them than those who don’t. Before you can write down your goals you need to understand the 3 most basic principles of goal setting - luckily we have outlined them below. Once you’ve finished reading this article take 10 minutes to write down your goals for 2017.

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Short term and long term goals

A long term goal may be something like running the London Marathon. Now while this is a very commendable and amazing goal you need to have short term goals that will help you on your way to achieving this magnificent feat. A short term goal could be running 5 miles each time you train throughout the first month. The second month you may increase the distance to 8 miles and so on building up to the race date and the 26.2 miles that is the London Marathon. By having short term goals that build up to your eventual long term goal you are able to have specific and measurable goals that will help keep you motivated and lead you to your end goal.

Specific and measurable goals

As highlighted above having both specific and measurable goals are essential if you are serious about achieving your resolutions. You might say your goal is to be fit enough to run a marathon. Unfortunately this isn’t exactly specific or very measurable. However, setting yourself targets or challenging yourself to beat your times are very specific and measurable. If it takes you 45 minutes to run 5km when you start training, your goal might be to reduce that time to 40 minutes over a few months of training. This is a very specific and measurable goal that you are able to use as an example of your fitness levels increasing.

Outcome based and behavioural goals

Behaviour goals are things that you can control yourself. They are a set of goals you implement into your daily or weekly routine. Outcome based goals are a direct result of a series of behaviours. So the outcome might be I will run the London marathon next year but you need to have a set of behaviour goals that will help you achieve this. Behaviour goals in this instance could be:

  • Eat breakfast everyday (it’s important to refuel and recover following training)
  • Go for a run at least 3 times a week
  • Get at least 8 hours sleep every night
  • Get a massage every month (good recovery practises)
  • I will support my training with good nutrition. I will eat a lot more vegetables and reduce the amount of processed foods I eat.

By performing all of these behaviour goals it's a lot easier to reach the outcome goal you set yourself.

Once you understand these 3 basic principles you will have no problem setting yourself realistic and achievable goals. One other thing you can do to keep yourself accountable and on track is to tell someone about your goal or get them to do it with you. If you both have to train together or perform the same goals you are even more likely to stay on track as you won’t want to let them down.

So go and get a pen and paper and write down your goals for 2017 based on the principles above. Good Luck!