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3 New Year's Resolutions Mistakes I've Made and What I've (Finally) Learned

Jan 03, 2022
3 New Year's Resolutions Mistakes I've Made and Learned From. Blog Post Title Picture

Topic  #1: Lifestyle Hack

Thoughts on New Year's Resolutions.  

I have gone through many phases of New Year's Resolutions.   High School Phase.  "Resolutions are stupid".  College Phase.  "I'm crushing every day,  who needs a resolution."  First job phase.  "Who are all these new people taking up space in the gym?"  Dad life and business owner phase... "I have so many New Year's Resolutions".  This article is especially for the over busy crowd. 

The reality is that everyone meets the new year at a different place, with very different life experiences, and successes and failures with goals.  

For those that want it, the new year offers a time of year where most everyone is accepting of your willingness to make a change in lifestyle or attitude.  "Tis the season" as I like to say.  

As much as I want to share with you the best resolutions, and all the great plans I have for myself personally and for PHYT, instead I want to share my resolution mistakes and my reflection looking back.  The hope being that if we learn from things gone wrong, history won't repeat itself here in 2022.  It is never a bad thing to fail, as long as you learn from the failure. AND when the opportunity to run it back happens, you don't make the same mistake twice.  If you can learn from someone else's mistakes, well, that is even better. 

1. Mistake #1.  Not recognizing the real problem.

I can set as many goals as I want, but first I need to figure out what the real root cause of the problem is.    

It's like treating pain.  If you have pain in your leg, but the root cause is from something in your back. You can rub your leg all you want, without getting to the source that pain point isn't getting better.  The same is true of goals / New Years resolutions.

One of my goal failures was to run a marathon (about 4 years ago I believe). I have done two half marathon's, and for a heavier guy I run okay, it's certainly an attainable goal.   So, I went about devising this fantastic training plan.  The exercise theory was solid, workouts were periodized, targeted different energy systems, it was dialed in.

So why didn't it work out?

What I didn't "dial in" is how I was going to make time to actually execute the plan. 

That 30-90+ minutes plus travel time, I scheduled for varying workouts, 6 days a week isn't just going to make time for itself.  

My other problem was that I had filled my day one with other things that I wanted to do.  The resolution should have been to make time to fit your training in.

I believe you are only going to make time for things that are the most important to you.  Which leads to mistake #2. 


Mistake #2.  Not Understanding the Real Meaning of Your Goal. 

Failure,  that was my first instinct when I realized there was no way I was going to be ready to safely run a marathon by my planned date.  Honestly, I have repeated the lofty, failed goals many times since, always just beating myself up about it.  Until recently, I don't think I have really sat down to think about why these lofty goals have failed. 

Why did I decide to set the goal of running a marathon?  If I'm being honest with myself I did it because I was getting out of shape, I knew it, and thought training for a marathon, to have a target would motivate me to exercise.  Did I want to run a marathon... sure, I will one day, but was running a marathon the most pressing goal in my life 4 years ago?  No.  I had a new business that was growing, I had a girlfriend, who is now my wife, we were getting ready to buy a house, and do all these crazy things.  As soon as one thing got in the way, my running, went to crap.

I was still setting fitness goals like I was in high school. Goal be good at sports, run, lift, practice every day.  It was simple enough.  The difference is, in high school, being good at sports was the most pressing goal. 

So, here is the eternal question was I just being lazy?  In some regards I say yes.   Could I have put those other things on a side burner and said I am 100% getting this run in.  Yes. probably. Could I have found time that I wasted watching TV. Yes, Probably.

The reality is that the goal of running the marathon wasn't really all that important to me. 

I had other more pressing goals.  I really wanted to grow my new business and get this girl I was living with to marry me some day.

On top of that, the deep down meaning, the root cause of my goal was to get back in shape.   

Running a marathon would be cool but there are many ways to "get in shape" that don't have the specific time demands of training to run that distance. 

I would love to say I figured it all out and went right back to exercising every day, but back then I just felt the failure and fell further off the wagon.  

Side note. I did get the girl to marry me, we have two kids, and obviously the business is still here too.  

What I now recognize is that instead of falling off the wagon I should have re-assessed the root cause of my pain problem and pivoted towards fixing that.  

Mistake #3 Falling off the wagon.

 We are all going to fall off the wagon from time to time. When we do it's real easy to have a self pity party and just give up on it.  What I want to encourage you to do is re-assess and attack your second level why.  

When I set the goal of running a marathon that was a first layer goal.   It's objective and measurable and reasonable and all that SMART goal crap, but it's really superficial.  

The second layer goal was to get back to training consistently, to build health for the future I was trying to create with my business and family.  If I would have really focused on that second layer goal then I could have pivoted quicker.   Instead, I went about setting more lofty fitness goals that also didn't meet my true objectives.   A goal that was actually mortally important to me.  

Part of my 2022 goal is to create an exercise program that 100% focuses on health, that is easy to pivot and adapt when you miss workouts or stumble, and fits in around my other pressing goals.  I still find myself thinking, well I wonder if I could work in heavy cleans, or 1 mile run times, but those are performance goals.  Sure they are attainable, but they come at a cost.  A cost that doesn't help me meet the root cause of my current problem and second layer goal.  Will I work towards performance goals again some day,  I think so, but not until I knock out a few more pressing goals I have in mind! 


Want to join the PHYT For Function team on you fitness or get out of pain journey?  Email us at [email protected] 


Written by Nick Sanders. PT, DPT, CSCS, CIDN. 

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