The ultimate active New Year’s resolution tool

I’m obsessed with the idea that my next year can be my best year.

Yet, I know for that to become a reality, I have to make it happen. I have to set out my goals, figure out how I can consistently work toward them, and then resolve to take action each and every day. It’s not an easy thing to do, but I don’t let that frustrate me.

Instead, I challenge myself to constantly look for ways to make better resolutions each year and seek strategies to make them stick.

OVER THE PAST COUPLE YEARS I’VE HAD SUCCESS WITH:

  • Writing my goals down. This is absolutely essential. I use a white board, but you can use a journal or anything else you have handy.
  • Making sure I follow the SMART goal format. Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Realistic. Timely. I get into the nitty gritty. I make sure my goals have specific numbers, times, and measurements. Nothing is left vague or open to interpretation.
  • Really thinking through my goals. Are these things I truly want? Will achieving them make my life better? Are they sustainable for the rest of my life? Are they stepping stones to creating the life I’ve always wanted? The answer to all of these questions has to be a resounding yes or I revise.
  • Checking back in throughout the year. Whether it’s once a week or once a month, I review my goals to ensure that I’m making progress.

To be honest, these strategies have served me well. I can honestly say that the past two years of my life have been the best years of my life.

Since I started writing down my goals every year, I’ve lost 60 pounds, landed a job I’m passionate about, and married the woman I love. I’m in the best shape of my life. I feel better day-in and day-out than I ever have. I get up earlier. I write more. Do more. Live more. 

But I still want more. I still didn’t stick to every resolution I made last year. I can still do better.

So, this year I’ve done a lot of reading about becoming the person I want to be and living the life I want to live.

THE MOST POWERFUL STRATEGIES I’VE COME ACROSS ARE:

  • The power of momentum. Once you start going, it’s easier to keep going. The key is figuring out how to use momentum to help you, rather than hinder you.
  • Changing how you perceive challenges. A good example, in the case of exercise, is telling yourself that you enjoy working out, rather than viewing it as a hardship.
  • Focusing on one day at a time.
  • Associating your goals with pleasure instead of pain.

Now, what’s really got me excited about 2017, is that the 150 Play List launches and I think it’s going to be a great tool for implementing these strategies and sticking to my physical activity resolutions. In particular, one of my main goals in 2017 is to be active for 30 minutes every single day. Whether that’s lifting weights, going to spin, or even just doing some stretching, I don’t want to miss a day.

The 150 Play List is going to be helpful because it’s an easy way to track my progress. I want the satisfaction of checking off an activity every single day. If I can manage to get a streak of active days going, I think I can turn that momentum into a lifelong habit.

It’s also a good tool for changing my perception. The idea of going running for 30 minutes every single day in 2017 seems unbearable to me, but trying a bunch of different activities sounds like a whole lot of fun.

It also reinforces the importance of focusing on small goals. 150 different activities is a lot to tackle. To make it digestible, you have to break it down into bite-sized chunks. You have to take it one day, and one activity, at a time.

And finally, the rewards will help too. There will be prizes each week, each month, and a grand prize at the end of the year. From $100 gift cards to Tim Hortons and MEC, to trips across Canada and a new Chevrolet, the thought of being rewarded for sticking to my resolutions is pretty awesome.

Of course, as a ParticipACTION employee, I won’t actually be eligible for any prizes, so I’ll have to stick to the other benefits of daily activity. But for you, they’re all up for grabs.

So, go write down your goals for 2017. Make them ambitious, but realistic, specific, measurable, and timely. Then, prepare to use the 150 Play List to put these strategies to good use.

Build momentum. Focus on small goals. And instill the belief that physical activity can make each day better, more fun, and more rewarding.