Have you reviewed your New Year’s resolutions yet?

New Year’s resolutions. Why do we do it to ourselves? Personally, I don’t. I’d like to say that I’m good all year round but there are days (and sometimes weeks) where I just can’t get enough chocolate and cake – and chocolate cake! Generally, though, I seem to be able to eat a fairly well-balanced diet and get in a good amount of exercise to boot. But the New Year’s resolutions are popular with a lot of people; most of whom drop off their self-imposed regime after only the first few weeks.

For some, the NYRs are a knee-jerk reaction to festive gluttony. Others plan well in advance. Some – the very few – use it as part of their follow-on from the previous year’s continuing NYRs. Whichever camp you fall into, you need to keep an eye on your progress. The end of February seems like a good first marker. If you’re still keeping up with your plan, you’re doing well. The cold weather soon changes, and dark days start to get brighter and longer. The advent of Spring is another marker entirely; the weather is getting much better, so you can tend to feel happier about everything, but there’s also the lure of the outdoors that will help matters.

So what goals did you set yourself? Was it a tangible target or just a vague idea of getting back to where you were, say, five years ago? If you planned to lose a set amount of pounds or reach a particular ideal weight, you still need to keep an eye on things, otherwise, you’ll just slide back to where you started – or worse! And that’s all supposing that you reached your objective in the first place. Ambiguous targetting is a really difficult one to gauge. Do you look at yourself in the mirror one day and think “yeah – looking good”? Or is the ‘OK’ marker ticked when you manage to run around the block without having to stop? Whichever it is, the body self-audit never stops – ever! Isn’t it better then, to set achievable goals? Something that’s not going to tax you out of bothering?

Maybe it’s a good idea to look at seasonal planning rather than top-loading the year. This would offer you four personal periodic reviews each year, which would really help to keep you on track. They would also allow you to custom your resolution response dependent upon expected weather conditions. Spring and summer are far better for outdoor pursuits, such as running and walking, canoeing and rowing, orienteering and rock climbing. Salads are also much easier to stomach when the sun’s shining. Autumn and winter may be better suited to indoor pursuits, like the gym, squash or martial arts. This way you can reset the clock every three months or so to instead have spring resolutions, summer resolutions, autumn resolutions and winter resolutions. Or whatever suits you.

A personal periodic review could help you not only to see how far you’ve come over the past review period but could also give you an insight into your strengths and weaknesses, how many of your goals you’ve achieved (this may hopefully surprise you) and what new skills or disciplines you’ve learned. If you find that you can give yourself a pat on the back, you’ll feel a whole lot better about yourself and be in a far more solid position as a result. Completing personal periodic reviews can really build your confidence and increase your motivation into the next ‘resolution’ period. Progress can be seen and measured to give you the direction that you need moving forward.

The most important thing though is to make sure that you choose something that you enjoy or that gives you a sense of satisfaction, and that doesn’t give you that feeling of “oh no, I can’t be bothered tonight”. The more you can get out of an exercise strategy or diet, the more chance you have of sticking to it. Just make sure you find the plan that suits you, and if it doesn’t exist, make one up to suit yourself!

Now then – what are those Spring resolutions?