I’ve been thinking a lot about…
…New Year’s Resolutions…
So, it’s almost 4 weeks since we celebrated the New Year. Am I too late to weigh in on resolutions? For some of you, my timing might be just perfect.
We have an unfriendly term in my industry called “Expectancy Violation”. It’s a nasty creature basically describing the phenomena of people having expectations about what exercising will do for them, and then those expectations are not realized. The research indicates that this is extremely common: people begin an exercise program with mad hopes and dreams, and when things don’t go quite right, they get frustrated, grow despondent, and give up.
Not you of course. But it happens. To other people.
The research also indicates that given the negative repercussions of this cycle, the most important thing to do is lower expectations. (I think I might own a coffee mug with something along those lines)
That might work for other people. But not you.
High expectations = mad hopes and dreams. It makes going to the gym purposeful and fun. People with mad hopes and dreams are optimistic, have loads of positive energy and draw on all sorts of resources to keep their dreams alive. This isn’t just helpful. This is great. This is the stuff that makes life worth living.
So, don’t moderate your outcome expectations, not yet anyways.
What if (and yes this happens to be MY opinion) it’s not the outcome expectations that are the problem? What if we don’t need to moderate your dreams? All we need to do is alter your expectations of the journey.
It is true that people often set lofty goals.
It’s even more true, however, that they underestimate what it’s going to take to get there.
So what do people underestimate?
- TYPE OF EXERCISE: Exercise is complex. There are so many different ways of exercising: Aerobic, anaerobic, free weights, squash… even every one of our group classes is different! Make sure the activities you are doing are the right ones to support your goals. Looking to increase bone density, for example? Lift!
- EFFORT: Certain results (speed, strength, sometimes weight loss) require exercise bouts that are TOUGH. Do you have the strength foundation to be able to sustain those efforts without getting injured? Do you have the mental fortitude to push as hard as required?
- FREQUENCY: Certain results require almost daily activity, others require serious bouts of rest or active recovery. Make certain you’re slotting your workouts into your schedule appropriately.
- TIME: Whatever you’re working on, it’s not going to happen overnight. Heavy lifting can’t be part of your program until you build a proper mechanical foundation, and that takes at least 4 weeks. Sustainable weight loss occurs at an average pace of 1.5lbs per week.
- Be patient
- Embrace more than one goal: That is if one of your goals is going to take more than month, set some other goals that you can realize more immediately. Stress relief or mental acuity are two of my favourites, I typically feel better and think better after an aerobic workout, so those are always goals I have.
- Measurable action goals are helpful: Move at least 10 minutes a day, 5 days of the week. Or get to gym 3 days a week: Lift twice, play squash once. And the more specific your action goals are, the better:
- Lift weight at 7:00am on Mondays
- Run to work on Tuesday mornings
- Go to Lauren’s Sweaty and Strong class on Thursdays at 11:30am
- Go to Meg’s Spin Class on Fridays at 12:30pm
So keep those awesome goals. Layer in a few more. Examine the strategies, commitment, energy, abilities – technical and otherwise – and time you’re going to need to get where you want to go. Let us help you anywhere and everywhere we can. Success is just a few specific, patient steps away.
Meg Sharp, MSc., B.Ed.Kin, FST Executive Director of Personal Training CGoC