New research has shown that helping others—doing good—can make us stick to our resolutions more than if we just make them for ourselves. But how does this help our admittedly often selfish goals in fitness? By digging into your why, and maybe shifting some of your reasons for wanting a goal into ways that your goal will help others!
“If you want to make a New Year’s resolution that really makes you happy, think about the ways in which you can contribute to the world,” says Richard Ryan, an international expert on motivational research and professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Rochester. “There’s a lot of distress out there: If we can set goals that aim to help others, those kinds of goals will, in turn, also add to our own well-being.”
A few ways to make your goals give back and help others:
Organize your gear… so that your rides are easier and quicker to get ready for, but you can also donate old gear to a local youth program in the process.
Get faster on the bike… for obvious race-winning reasons, but if you have a kid who’s getting older (and therefore faster), your goal could be to make sure you’re always able to keep up with him or her.
Achieve a certain body composition… This may make you a bit faster on the bike or look better in a bathing suit, but feeling better and being healthier at an optimal body composition for you will also mean you’re able to show up for your kids, and that you’ll likely live longer in a healthy capacity, meaning more time for giving back!
Crush the group ride… You may want to excel in the group ride, but can you also think about maybe being strong enough in the group so that you’re capable of drifting back and helping the newer riders who may be struggling?
You may even want to add some new goals for the new year that focus on giving back, like helping out with a kids program, or even just spending one run or ride a week with a newbie who could use the help and encouragement.
We love looking for any new way to think about goal-achievement, since everyone will operate a little bit differently when it comes to goal-getting!