Starting a New Year’s Revolution
It’s that time of the year again where we say to ourselves, “The new year is a fresh start, and this year I’m going to..”
A 2007 study of 3000 people making resolutions found that while at the start of the study, 52% of participants were confident of success, but one year later, only 12% actually achieved their goal!
Not all of us are fortunate enough to be in that group for whom New Year’s resolutions are a strategy for life and habit change that works! So before we beat ourselves over the head for not sticking to last year’s resolution and then proceeding to set those very same resolutions again this year, we should just press that pause button!
As the saying goes, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always gotten.” So this year, why not do something different? We invite you to skip that same-old resolution, and start a new year’s revolution with us! Over the coming weeks we’ll be sharing practical information and insights you can use on your way to better health and fitness for the long term – and naturally we’ll be playing some Synth Riders too.
When Resolutions Go Bad
Let’s set the scene:
It’s 12:01am on New Year’s Day, we’re excited by the prospect of that shiny new year ahead and we can only see that goal we would like to achieve – it’s only natural! But when we wake up later that day, the struggle begins..
It can be hard to know exactly what steps we need to take, and in which order we need to take them in order to meet that resolution. We may have resolved to do something that’s simply unrealistic to achieve in the timeframe we have in our minds. Or perhaps, as the days become weeks and the shiny new year becomes old news, we have unplanned setbacks, or we simply can’t see enough progress on our journey towards those goals, so we lose motivation and stop trying.
All too often, our unrealistic expectations exceed our grasp leaving us feeling deflated and defeated by March – but our need for change is still there, so at the end of the year we just repeat this cycle again.
Strategies for Success
Remember that 2007 study? In studying those who did reach their goals, researchers also uncovered some key strategies which they found produced the best results:
1. Pick one goal
Your chances of successful change are much greater when you focus on changing just one thing, rather than changing the whole world.
2. Make a plan
When undertaking significant life changes, it’s important to value yourself in this process. You deserve for that plan to be more than just a “thought bubble” rising out of a champagne glass on New Year’s Eve, particularly if you want those changes to be effective, lasting and meaningful. By decoupling from the New Year you can take some time out to reflect upon what you really want to achieve.
3. Don’t just hit replay
Rather than get frustrated by just repeating a previous unsuccessful goal, instead choose a new goal, or approach the previous goal in a new way. Instead of saying you want to lose a number of pounds, try “I will move more” or “I will eat more healthily”.
4. Get personal
Ask anyone what their New Year’s resolution is and it will usually come from a very standard list of goals – eat better, go to the gym and so on. But you’ll always do better when the goal is tailor-made and meaningful for you. So take time to really consider what you want to achieve and why, and make sure that it’s very relevant for you. It could be to learn a new language, play an instrument – or to play every song in the game at least once on your preferred difficulty!
5. Get specific
The more specific the goal is, the more likely you are to succeed, because you know exactly what success looks like and the steps you need to reach it. Instead of saying, “I’ll exercise 3 days a week”, you say “I’ll play a vigorous VR game to elevate my heart rate each Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at 6pm for 1 hour, followed by 10 minutes of stretching.”
This last process of specific goal setting has been very well studied and is referred to as a “SMART” goal.
Goal Setting the SMARTer Way
SMART is a helpful acronym to guide you in setting more realistic goals, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-based. When breaking a larger goal into smaller goals, tasks or habits we want to learn, we aim for it to have these qualities attached to it.
For example, an aspirational goal such as, “I want to get fit” becomes:
“In January, I will do cardio exercise in VR for 3 days every week for 30 minutes, followed by 15 minutes of resistance exercises. I will mark these off on my calendar, and if I achieve 12 sessions then my reward will be a half hour massage.”.
This breaks the goal into specific tasks that are achievable and detailed. It incorporates measurement of progress along the way in the short-term (weekly) time range along with a celebration of the achievement upon reaching the goal to help motivate. Including very short-term (weekly, monthly), realistic goals inside of longer term goals (yearly) can really help to keep your motivation high as you celebrate the wins along the way.
The Power of Positives – What You Say Matters
Use a positive expression of your goal. Instead of saying, “I want to stop smoking”, swapping the goal into a positive expression such as, “I want to breathe better and feel healthy, and will quit smoking to do so” empowers you. Even if you don’t achieve that goal, with a positive mindset you can still recognize that you’re on the right path.
It’s also important to visualize what life will look like upon achieving your goal and incorporate that positive vision into your goals. Sometimes this is as simple as asking yourself the question, “Why do I want to achieve this goal?” If your goal is to eat more healthily, then why do you want to do so – is it for better heart health? To lose weight and improve your ability to undertake your regular activities of daily living?
“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
— Samuel Beckett
A positive mindset also means that you understand that there will be times when you don’t reach a goal or you can’t always achieve what you set out to do. Goals are there to motivate us, inspire us – but new habits take time to learn, and everyone slips up from time to time. It’s important to be kind to yourself if you falter, but to not let that experience make you give up. If you didn’t manage to make 3 days this week because work or family needed your attention, try again the following week – or if your goal is proving too difficult to achieve, adjust the goal to make it more realistic and improve your chances of success.
Movement Goal Activities This Week – Tracking Your Fitness
This week’s practical topic is particularly useful if your goals for this year include movement goals incorporating Synth Riders! Did you know that there are two ways available to help you track your progress while you play Synth Riders? You can easily put the “M” into a SMART goal with these great tools to measure your progress!
Synth Riders on PC & Quest comes with the YUR Watch included (you’ll see it on your wrist when you first start the game). You can track all kinds of data with it, set it up as follows:
1. Bring the watch in front of your face and look at the YUR logo to activate the white “gaze dot”.
2. Locate the “gaze dot” onto the watch face.
3. When the panel pops out with a code, go to https://app.yur.fit/code and use that code to link the watch to your YUR account (you can create an account if you do not have one already).
If you’re on Quest, you can also use the built-in Oculus Move App which tracks your exercise time and session in all games. You’ll find it in the App Library on your Quest – check out the trailer from Oculus.
Food for Thought
Did you make a New Year’s resolution? Would you revise it having read more about goal setting for success?
Or if you didn’t make a resolution, would you consider setting a SMART goal to help you track your progress towards bigger goals this year?
Let us know on Facebook or Discord, talking about your goals with others is a great motivator along the way and we want to hear your stories!
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