Author: Rosemary Buckle, M.D.
With just a few days left in 2016, many of us turn our thoughts to New Year’s resolutions. There’s something especially appealing about New Year’s resolutions for athletes – perhaps the result of a natural tendency toward goal-setting and overcoming obstacles?
Whether you want to give up soda like Ryan Lochte or re-achieve your old high school record like Meb Keflezighi, there are a few strategies athletes can use to effectively set and meet New Year’s resolutions!
#1 Think Small and Focused.
One of the main reasons New Year’s Resolutions fail is that they are too grandiose and vague. “Pitching a no-hitter,” for example, is a big goal that isn’t necessarily fully within a baseball pitcher’s control. Instead, a pitcher could set a more focused goal of improving certain types of pitches, which could then lead to more strikeouts and possibly a no-hitter. Likewise, instead of saying you “want to be a better runner,” you could set a goal of reaching a specific mileage or time. Keep it manageable and measurable; small, focused goals are more likely to be achieved.
#2 Establish Checkpoints.
Once you’ve decided on a good athletic New Year’s resolution, the next step to is to determine the checkpoints or mile markers. If you’re currently running three miles every morning, but would like to be able to run eight miles, then you’re going to have to work your way there, right? Look at your calendar and decide when you will reach four miles, then five, then six… and so on. Checkpoints help keep our athletic New Year’s resolutions manageable. Celebrate small milestones along the way.
#3 Tell Others.
Whether you’re part of a team or a solo athlete, tell others about your New Year’s resolution. Athletes – everyone, really – can benefit tremendously from sharing goals and progress with others. Having accountability is a great way to stay motivated in pursuing your goal.
Lastly, keep it fun. This resolution process is a marathon, not a sprint! As you work your way toward a goal – whether that’s a new behavior or a new time – remember to cross-train. Cross-training has so many benefits for athletes. It exercises different muscle groups, challenges your way of thinking, and teaches new techniques and skills that may be applied to your main pursuit.
Best of luck with your 2017 athletic New Year’s resolutions! For any sports medicine needs you may have this year, you can call (713) 756-5546 to schedule an appointment at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics.
Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.