We’ve all been there. In a well-intentioned moment during a post prandial Christmas torpor or when put on the spot over a glass of fizz at New Year, you set a goal. You’ll join a gym, buy a bike, run a marathon. Then, in the February (or, often, January) gloom, regret sets in. The evenings are dark, the weather is cold, resolutions fade, become resented, or are quickly forgotten. But, done right, sporting resolutions can set you up for a fantastic year, can change not twelve months but a whole future. In this article, SMS’ marketing manager Edward Willis explores some manageable, fun, sporting resolutions to get you through 2022.
- Start something new
Perhaps the archetypal New Year’s Resolution, starting something new can be a great way of broadening horizons, meeting new people and learning new skills. There are a couple of pitfalls though. It can be easy to choose on a whim and end up finding that participation that becomes a chore rather than a source of joy. Don’t forget that it’s never too late to try something else. If you’re not enjoying that gym membership, try yoga or crossfit or pickleball or anything else that takes your fancy. Going in knowing that you can change tack can also help take away some of the pressure that comes with picking a new sport, and can therefore also help overcome some of the agonizing that can result in not committing to anything. If you’re unsure, find sports you can dip a toe in and try out. And, the corollary, if you’re a sports operator, make sure you’re offering ways for people to test the waters without making them feel like they have to throw themselves in the deep end. Try out a new sport in 2022 and you might find a sport or activity you love. Personally, I’m trying Yoga with Adriene’s 30 day challenge to start the year. If I see some benefits, I’ll keep going, if not, I’ll make time for something else.
- Do something more often
Another classic of the genre, making more time for a sport you already play can be a brilliant New Year’s Resolution, one that provides a real sense of achievement and encourages discipline and commitment. This can also be a particularly good choice if you felt like you had a lot of wasted time scrolling through phones or struggling to motivate yourself to get out, and, particularly if you are already a member of a club or have already invested in equipment like a bike or running kit for instance, can often be achieved with zero additional financial outlay. Personally, I’m planning to play more golf and tennis and head outdoor swimming more often. At the same time, if there’s something that you already enjoy and feels like it gives you a good balance, don’t feel the need to increase the frequency for the sake of it. I’m happy with the amount of running I do, for example, so won’t be targeting doing that any more often for now, although it’s likely to ramp up at the end of the year as I train for a marathon deferred by COVID from January 2022.
- Take on a challenge
As mentioned above, in 2022, the pandemic means this type of resolution will still come with risks like deferment or travel restrictions, but that’s not a reason not to do it. The rewards of committing to something like a marathon or sportive can be huge, and having a key focal point to a resolution can be a great way of encouraging yourself to stick with it through the harder days that are bound to come at some point. Knowing you’ve got something to train for, perhaps even to fundraise for, can be a powerful motivator and add an extra layer of meaning to training and playing.
- Play something in a new way
Another way to change how you play in 2022 is to try an existing sport in a new way. Sign up to a tournament; play doubles; join a roll up; head off road; all of these can be great ways of finding new enjoyment. Personally, I’ll be trying to roll up more often at the golf course, and I also took up track running as a complement to road and trail at the end of 2021, something that I plan to continue in 2022.
- Do something holistic
This can be a good way of making a general commitment to exercise without narrowing down your options. Tracking activity, steps, stairs, and strain has never been easier thanks to a conveyer belt of fantastic health equipment being released. The great thing here is that it doesn’t require you to make any commitments to a particular sport. I’m not taking on anything specific here, but I did recently upgrade to a Garmin watch, so will be keeping a slightly closer eye on a few activity metrics throughout the year.
- Target improvement
The great thing about targeting improvement is that it can be incredibly individual. In sports which involve competing against others, setting goals to do with your own play can help you refocus on the elements of performance in your control and not worry about so much about what other people are doing. Sometimes this will involve playing more often, or playing in a different way. If you’re trying to take down your 5k time for example, running more often or incorporating different types of training is likely to be a good way to do it. If you want to score a century, you’ll probably need to commit to more time in the nets. I have a couple of golfing goals in 2022, getting down to single figures (from 10.8) and breaking 75.
The key to all of these is knowing yourself and remembering that, at the root, the goal is to have fun. If I don’t hit my targets but have plenty of fun on my own and with friends and meet some new people along the way, that’s still a massive win.
If you’re someone who needs more of a specific push, then you might benefit from more rigorous goal setting and tracking. Knowing exactly how many steps you’re aiming for, or having a specific time in mind might spur you on. But equally, it’s ok not to, to make more general commitments in certain areas, and to rely on feel as a benchmark for whether you’ve played more or whether you’re looking after your body better.
Whatever you choose, enjoy!