Wednesday, February 13, 2013

How are those Tennis, Health and Wellness, Career, 2013 Resolutions Coming?

7 Ways to Hit Your 2013 Resolutions!

Whoa long hiatus, it feels good to be back! Do not worry, my first posting this year is not a guilt trip but rather us finding solutions together!

A new year brings with it high expectations, inspiration, and rejuvenated spirits to reach one’s goals. The first week of January, “new year’s resolutions” is the trending topic. Among the most popular resolutions are health and wellness goals. Everyone makes proclamations on how they will create a better version of themselves for that year. We even make big financial commitments to convince ourselves of the success at our fingertips. New tennis racquets, gym memberships, workout gear,  new diet commitments, and these financial commitments are supposed to be trick ways to keep us on track because nobody wants to waste money, right?! Matter of fact, most of us actually start, and with undeniable vigour, two gym workouts in one day, easy……well, at least until the second or third week of January.

Possible Problems

1.    What Goes Wrong; What Kills the Progress? Reinventing a tennis stroke, body weight management, and outperforming your work colleagues all are worthwhile and highly rewarding resolutions. But for those of us who missed out on early childhood immersion, the grind associated with acquiring these attributes cannot be fostered simply because we want them or recognize the reward that comes with attaining them.  The will power to pursue the goals for the most part is built on shaky foundations, that, coupled with biting off too much too soon.

2.    Mistaking “Rewards” for “Motivators”. A big serve, that big work promotion, getting ripped, increased endurance, weight loss, clothing size drop, high morale, increased self-esteem are ultimate rewards. While visualizing rewards as exemplified by buying clothing a few sizes smaller in order to push yourself might be encouraging, it will not necessarily motivate you.

3.    Mistaking “Accelerators” for “Motivators”. A tennis class would accelerate the rate at which you improve your game, but signing up for it, as well-intentioned as it is, will not motivate you. Accelerators are typically monetary purchases: a tennis bag, a gym membership, tennis racquet, jogging shoes,  a yoga class package, among others.

4.    Good “Motivators”. Motivators are all those instances in your day that hold you accountable to the task at hand—for example, a trainer or a coach who will call you to find out where you are, a bathroom scale you step on every morning, or a food/gym journal you fill in weekly to track progress, stagnation or a supervisor, boss, or friend that drags you out there when you feel tired, complacent, or unmotivated. Anything or anyone that holds you accountable is a good motivator

Possible Solutions

Ways to Get BAck to the Grind and Stay There
Practices established in cyclic routines are more easily fostered and maintained as they become habits. Activities based in habit and routine are more easily sustained than arbitrarily scheduled ones.  If you were never a tennis player, it can be difficult to wake up one day and decide you will hit every morning before work, let alone maintain it. There are tricks, however, to making it easier and more manageable until it is ingrained:

1.     Sandwich the new activity you are trying to turn into a lifestyle between already existing habits. This is how our tennis practice in college athletics is structured. For me personally, tennis practice was scheduled between lunch and class so practice was a progression of my life long fostered human habits of having lunch around noon-1pm, and the educational institution fostered habits or mandatory class attendance. Among adults, from personal experience and observation, lesson takers who commit to lessons soon after work are more likely to show up than those scheduled over weekends when the clients have days off. Packing a tennis bag becomes part of their work routine since they have to show up for work anyway.

2.     Have your tennis lesson at the same time weekly. Remember we are working on routine. Your body starts to “notice” when you miss the scheduled lesson over a period of time. Personal accountability with the tennis coach is a welcome motivator until going to the lesson becomes habit; in this case your coach will hold you accountable, for not showing up is the motivator rather than the lesson or financial commitment

3.     Set distinct goals. Recently, I started a new package of lessons with a regular client, and with the bulk lessons, I also issued a lesson plan. I pinpointed areas of the game we will target, wrote a curriculum with steps on how to get there, and established a time frame towards the goal. This is our tennis compass. Every tennis drill builds towards the goal. If we fall off, the plan helps you re-orient. Distinct goals help you stay organized, and keep things in perspective.  Lastly, but not least, it holds you accountable to your commitments. Think of it as a soft contract with yourself in which you can fall off and get right back on.

4.     Recognize small victories, and celebrate them! I am guilty of ignoring this one. The only satisfying victory is the ultimate prize. This makes me susceptible to discouragement on longer tasks. Check them off the small milestones and celebrate them.

5.     Take smaller bits to begin with. Break down the stuff you work on during your tennis lessons into focused areas. If you are working on technique, for example, do groundstrokes the first month, the mid court shots the following, then volleys in the third month.

6.     Track your progress. Keep a progress journal. Even little progress, added together over a period of time, is impressive to look at. A journal is a subtle but effective motivator. It is also an informative tool. You can go back and track what you did when you had the most success and also what you need to do to increase the rate of success among other things.

7.     Maintenance and consistency are key. Remember, the journey getting to your goal is not easy. Maintenance is easier than taking that long, brutal trip back again. In the same way we can foster healthier lifestyle routines into habits, we can instil bad ones just as well! 

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