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Resolutions Part 1: Setting Realistic and Measurable Goals

Teaching fitness and training clients at a large athletic club in college, I remember the droves of people that would sign the dotted line on annual contracts, pay up front or agree to automatic debits monthly and then after a day, a week or a month would never set foot in the gym again. I often heard the management and owner say this was their "dream member." The one that pays, but never uses the facility and services they're paying for.

This is one reason I've never been huge on making New Year's resolutions. Most of us make them, but don't keep them, right?

What I do instead is set goals that are defined, positive, realistic, specific to me, measurable over time and set along a timeline to which I can hold myself accountable.

1. Defined

By defined I mean it's specific. For example, instead of setting the goal to be happier, I list what will make me happy.

2. Positive

Make it positive. Instead of "I want to be less anxious, I write I will enjoy relaxing more and truly disconnect in that time" aligning that with key actions like turning off my cell phone, laptop, etc. and connecting with special people in my life in that time and space.

3. Realistic

Set realistic, achievable goals. It's a-okay to aim a little higher than you may think you can achieve, you can always re-measure later and align with factors affecting the goals, but make it so that it's not so far out there that you are easily discouraged.

4. Specific

It should be about me (or you in your case!) so that I'm setting myself up for success and not focusing on others.


5. Measurable

Set measures to hold yourself accountable over time. Your larger goals will be defined by key actions. The actions can be daily, weekly, monthly, etc. but they should align with the larger goal itself and you should review your actions in that smaller window of time and then take a larger reflection at the longer term milestones (monthly, quarterly, annually).

Don't be a gym's "dream member." Create that timeline with the overall goals in line with the actions you will take. Then hold yourself accountable. If you don't, no one else will. Unless you have a coach. If I can help you in setting up your own goals, key actions and timeline, please let me know. Email


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