Resolution-ing: Goal-Setting For 2018
I’m not, nor have I ever been, a “resolutionist”. Nor am I a revolutionist as spell check always wants to change resolutionist to whenever I type it without a hyphen before -ist. I don’t set New Year’s resolutions for the reason that as many failed NaNoWriMos have showed me, I fall prey to fatalistic thinking like most people do that if I try to do something and “fail”—well then why try again? This is the trap illustrated by Homer Simpson, “You tried your best, and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try.”
So, without simply embracing failing (which is also honestly sometimes an okay solution), how do we do a bit better at failing less when setting goals?
The date is (un)important
For me, tying a goal to a strict start date like January 1 has a lot of pressure associated with it—and honestly, January 1, with New Years festivities, is not usually a good day for most people to try to start a new habit, especially if that’s nutrition or exercise related. There is still too much food around from the holidays, possibly a dinner or party to attend, or maybe if your goal was to start working out, you may not feel so up to it if you’ve spent the last day of the year prior partying it up.
Honestly, just because the last digit (or two) changes on the end of the current year, it doesn’t mean the date is any less arbitrary than January 18th or April 3rd or July 7th. It’s just a day. And if you pick a day you perceive to be arbitrary to start, if you mess up, you can just pick another of the 364 remaining arbitrary days in the 365 day year ahead of that day.
I need to add here that there is nothing wrong with being a resolutionist—if that is your jam, go with your jam. It is simply not my jam, because look, I may encounter cupcakes and I will always derail my own goal-train for cupcakes. You know.
Break it down: Set SMART goals
SMART goals will help you achieve your goal. Using this acronym, you can break your goal down into manageable pieces—this is always an important step, because if your goal is simply to run a marathon, and you’ve never run further than to the car or bus when you’re late, this will be a bit hard! So, take a close look at your goal and figure out how you’ll tackle it. You can read more about SMART goal setting in my Asthma.Net post Asthma and Exercise - Goal Setting Part One: Define Your Goal! As well, other people (and things!) can help you be successful when setting your goals—you can read more about that in the post Building New Habits: Challenge Yourself! Apparently given the exclamation marks at the end of those post titles I was quite enthusiastic about this topic.
When you have asthma, especially if your goal is fitness related, you’ve got more than average numbers of things that can trip you up exercise-routine wise. This makes the realism part even more important! Think through triggers or bad times of year you’ve had in the past in the context of making your goal—for example, if spring is your worst season, maybe it’s not the best idea to suddenly decide to start training for a 20K bike ride outdoors in the peak of allergy season. Be mindful of your asthma when selecting your goals… but don’t let it choose what you get to accomplish!
What are your goals for 2018? (Or what are you working on right now, if you—like me—are not a resolutionist? Let me know in the comments!
Do you get muscle cramps caused by your asthma medicine?