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Tuesday, 31 December 2013 12:40

Setting Championship New Year's Resolutions

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After spending half a lifetime surrounded by some of the best athletes in the world, I've learned quite a bit about setting effective resolutions for life. From Olympic gold medalists to world champions, these competitors continually set the bar high in pursuit of athletic, personal, work and educational goals.

Over the years as an athlete, then a coach, now an athlete again I have taken the lessons I have learned from these champions and applied them in my own life, in addition to my own insights and methods, and have discovered that there is truth to the saying that "you can do anything you set your mind to." The caveat is that it takes careful planning and hard work, so here are five gold-medal tips to help you set and keep those New Year's Resolutions!

1. Discover the Why
So often I encounter people who set great New Year's Resolutions, but fail to achieve them because they set them to impress or appease others.Any goal or objective that we set because of some outside social pressure is bound to fail. Why do you want to go to the gym more in 2014? Is it to improve your health and feel more fit? Or is it because you feel that you need to because society demands it? Why do you want to get a better job in 2014? Is it to feel satisfaction through a better use of your time and abilities? Or is it to tell others you have a fancy title and therefore feel (falsely) important? New Year's Resolutions that last are ones that are set because WE want to set and achieve them. So ask yourself: WHY do you want to set and achieve X, Y, and Z resolutions? Is it for yourself, or for others?

2. Be Specific
This is one that I see every year. People love to set goals and New Year's Resolutions, but they fail to be specific about their achievement. For example, someone may say they want to lose weight. How much weight do they want to lose? Someone else may say they want to put more money into their savings account at the bank. How much are they going to save each paycheck? Lastly, someone may say they want to spend more time with their kids this year. How much more time do they want to spend and when are they going to do so? General objectives, goals and resolutions tend to fail because there is no specific intent: they are just open-ended desires that make us feel better, but in the end won't do us any good. Be specific in what you want!

3. Make a Plan
Akin to the above problem about being specific, most people set resolutions without planning for their achievement. You cannot get from A to B without a map or path or plan. New Year's Resolution's are destinations, but to be successful we need to really sit down and come up with a game plan. What long-term, medium-term and short-term goals will help us reach our New Year's objectives? Champions start with a road map and then follow it until the end!

4. Track Your Progress
If you don't know where you are, how do you know how far you have come or how far you have to go? Making a plan to achieve a goal is crucial, but so is coming up with a way to track your progress. Whether that be a checklist, a paper chain, a penny jar, a chart on the wall, whatever. Tracking our progress gives us continual motivation to keep pushing and keep working until we reach our desired destination. Whether that be the Olympics or a 5k, recording a song or keeping a family journal, come up with a way that works for you to track your progress. And don't get discouraged if you miss a day or a session. Tomorrow is a new day to get back on track!

5. Celebrate the Victories
Goals take work. I know it, you know it. But that doesn't mean that the journey has to be horrendously difficult. My suggestion for you is to celebrate every victory along the way, no matter how small. I don't care if you stumbled along the way today; what matters to me is that you are moving forward. Small steps still lead in the right direction. So whether you made it to the gym four days this week or just two, celebrate what you did right. Improvement comes much more easily that way and ultimately your New Year's Resolution is easier to achieve when you focus on the positive and celebrate every victory.

So that's it, my friends. Five simple lessons I've learned through sport to help you set and achieve your championship New Year's Resolutions. May 2014 be full of love, laughter and light for you and your family! Make it a year where you go for the gold in everything you do!

Best Wishes!

Fire on Ice by Jeremy C Holm

Jeremy C. Holm

Author & American athlete Jeremy C. Holm has spent over half his life in the fast-paced winter sport of bobsled, including as the Head Coach for the US Adaptive Bobsled Team. He has a degree in Journalism and is pursuing a degree in Military History at the American Military University. In addition to motivational speaking and corporate appearances around the world, Jeremy is the author of three books and spends his time camping, hiking, writing and trying to make history, one day at a time.

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