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December 31, 2019

How to Stick to Resolutions and Achieve Your Goals in 2024

Filed under: Fitness — Tags: , , , , , , , , — admin @ 3:39 pm

Setting off toward a new goal is its own endorphin rush. You’ve set your target and can practically taste success. Now it’s time to get after it. If only it were that easy. The thing is, we’re terrible at getting after it. We not only suck at achieving goals, we suck at setting them, going after objectives that are too vague or hopelessly grandiose. 

John Norcross, a psychologist at the University of Sacramento found that less than half of people who make New Year’s resolutions (probably the most common type of goal) kept it up six months later.

Beating the odds comes down to having a plan. “It’s like going on a trip,” says Jim Taylor, a sports psychologist and author of Train Your Mind for Athletic Success. “Going to Denver is a nice goal, but to get there you need a map.”

Even before you start on that map, you need a goal that’s specific and reasonably attainable. “Get stronger” or “make more money”—those are like wishes. “Lose 2 percent of body fat” or “knock 10 seconds off each mile of my next marathon” are more workable, Taylor says.

In order to crush a goal, it should feel some how personal. It’s harder to lose 20 pounds because your doctor told you to than if you choose to do it for your own health. Decades of studies in psychology and sociology say that intrinsic goals (motivated by an innate desire for autonomy, relating to others, knowledge, and personal growth) are more motivating than extrinsic goals (striving for the approval of others). Figure out what’s in it for you, deep down. And couch your goals in positive terms. It’s harder to avoid doing something than it is to aim for something else, what researchers call ironic mental control. Instead of “quit smoking,” pick a goal that’s incompatible with smoking, like taking up swimming. (Hey, it almost worked for Don Draper.)

Related: Over 24 Ways to Live Your Best Life in 2024

Next, establish a reasonable time frame, including a series of sub-goals. These markers become opportunities to see how it’s going, celebrate achievements, and change things up, if necessary. Researchers at the University of Sheffield in the U.K. found that people who tracked their progress toward goals were more successful than those who didn’t. The more frequent the monitoring, the better they did. So pad your journey with reminders, or scheduled check-ins with a friend, coach, physician—anyone who can give you a hand.

Keep in mind that almost any big life change—switching careers, doing an Ironman, even sticking to a new diet—requires some level of buy-in from other people in your life. Anticipate how your spouse, kids, even coworkers will be affected by your pursuit.

None of this is easy—which is why most of us have experience with unfulfilled goals. Remember that success begets success. Small accomplishments will give you the grit to keep going and the confidence to go after bigger things in the future. So where do you want to start? Is it the right time to become an entrepreneur or to climb Mount Kilimanjaro? Here, we’ve laid out some best practices, giving you the playbook to actually get after it.

Illustrations by Owen Davey

How to Make Fitness and Wellness Resolutions Stick

Set a Date

If you want to ease back into fitness, signing up for a race is a good start. Mark race day on your calendar, and your training plan works back from there. We’re not only talking marathon, either. A 5K in April could mean a 10K by fall and a half after that. Maybe a 26.2 isn’t so far away.

Train Appropriately 

There are tons of training plans to choose from. Keep in mind that the most common ways to sabotage your goal are overtraining and undertraining, Taylor says. A good program builds progressively to help you avoid injury and burnout. If you’re outperforming the plan—say, easily hitting times and distances—you can adjust up, but do so cautiously. The priority is arriving on race day healthy, finishing strong, and wanting to go again, Taylor says.

Join a Training Group

For additional staying power, join a group. Researchers found that University of Oxford rowers practicing together had heightened pain thresholds (something that begins to explain CrossFit). But if you’re a lone-wolf type motivated by continually besting yourself, stick with what works.

Share Your Goals

To share or not to share your goals? It comes down to what’ll get you out of bed and to your workout on a dreary morning. For some, telling others is about accountability. But a study in Psychological Science found that when others acknowledge your intentions, all those “good job!” messages can create a premature sense of accomplishment, undermining your resolve to do it for real.

Have a Plan B

When race day comes around, have a back-up plan. Even if you’ve spent months training faithfully, there are no guarantees. “If it’s 95 degrees and you cramp or bonk, having an alternative goal gives you something to hold on to,” Taylor says. “At a basic level, in endurance sports, the goal is getting through it.”

How to Set and Achieve Career Goals

Have a Realistic Timeline

The timeline you set is less about your motivation and has more to do with the realities of your particular industry. In general, plan for it to take six months to a year to switch jobs, says Jill Berquist, a certified career coach. Changes in personal behavior that can better your standing at work—improving collaboration, becoming a better communicator—can take three months to register with the higher-ups.

Enlist Help

It’s hard to go completely solo when it comes to your professional life. There are just too many outside forces involved, compared with the relative simplicity of a gym routine. To stay focused for the long haul, executive coach Annie Merkle suggests enlisting an accountability partner, such as a spouse or a trusted coworker, who’s invested in you.

“Ask your career partner to check in weekly to see how you’re progressing,” Merkle says. How many times did you ask someone else for feedback? Did you speak up in the big board meeting? “It forces you to show your activity and results,” she says.

Talk to Your Boss

Loop in your boss, too. You may not want to tell him or her “my goal is to have your job,” but do express that you want to expand your skills, have more responsibility, do more off-sites, etc. “It’s important for bosses to know what’s important to their employees to support them and their development,” Merkle says.

Do the Work

Because work goals tend to be complex, take a panoramic view of the landscape. “Think of the path to your goal as lily pads on a pond, rather than a bridge with steps that go straight across,” says Merkle. “You need to be able to be opportunistic.” Identify the gaps between where you are and where you want to be, and look for ways to fill them. “Can you do a course or seminar?” Merkle suggests. “Can you create and lead an initiative? There are lots of different ways to close gaps—but you don’t get anything if you don’t ask.”

Illustration by Owen Davey

How to Improve Your Relationships This Year  

Make Actionable Goals

Too often, we don’t think about interpersonal goals until there’s a problem. And fixing it requires another party who has a different set of goals and obligations. Vague vows to “spend more time” with a partner, family member, or friend fall into that category of wishes, not goals. 

Create an Alert to Stay Accountable

Protect that time with a recurring date on both your calendars that doesn’t get skipped. “That’s the only way to make sure I don’t lose things like family and my personal health that keep me effective,” says Jordan Fliegel, co-founder of the fantasy sports site Through trial and error, he’s become a big believer in routines. This means scheduling not just workout time, but, for example, a regular chat with his grandma. “I call her the same day of the week, every week.”

Discuss Your Goals

If your goal is a calmer, more cohesive family life, consider adopting a method adapted from software developers. Bruce Feiler, author of The Secrets of Happy Families, suggests weekly “scrum” meetings, during which your family team talks over short-term goals. 

The meetings can be quick. Essentially you’re asking three questions: 

  1. What’s going well this week? 
  2. What do we need to work on? 
  3. How can we all chip in to meet next week’s challenges? 

Approaching family goals as collaborative and evolving projects encourages flexibility and idea sharing, and brings your team closer together.

And isn’t that the goal?


December 5, 2019

4×4 VS AWD, Explained: What to Know Before You Go Off-Road

Filed under: Fitness — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 7:49 am

For a layman chatting to a mechanic or gearhead, automotive jargon can seem like a foreign language. To the average person on the street, terms like torque vectoring, locking differentials, pinion gears, and half-shafts are meaningless. However, there’s a pair of terms that’s more confusing than they need to be: 4×4 vs AWD. Knowing the difference is a must for off-roading beginners (the same goes for differentiating ATVs vs side-by-sides).

Many off-road-capable vehicles these days are marketed as having one of these two systems, and the differences between them are often confusing to consumers. Both send power to all four of the car or truck’s wheels, but the way in which they do so is different. A true 4×4 system is also significantly more capable for extreme off-road use than an all-wheel-drive system, making the distinction even more important to understand.

What Is a 4×4?

The Toyota 4Runner is a classic off-road machine that uses 4×4 to power through off-road terrain and on-road hazards like snow.

Stinson Carter

Four-by-four, also known as part-time four-wheel-drive or 4WD, is a system that can be set to transfer power to either two or four wheels. Generally this is accomplished through the use of a transfer case, which the driver of the vehicle can engage or disengage with a lever, knob, or button inside the vehicle.

Many 4×4 vehicles have a two-wheel-drive setting for everyday use, as well as high-range and low-range settings, labeled as 4-hi and 4-lo. These options effectively give the driver more power and control at low speeds. For example, selecting 4-lo would help crawl up a muddy slope at 5 mph. Vehicles with true 4×4 systems are ideal for heavy off-road use, such as climbing steep hills, crawling over boulders, and tackling rutted muddy trails.

Related: Best Dirt Bikes of 2024 Are the Most Fun You Can Have on Two Wheels

What Is AWD?

The newer Subaru Outback’s are capable off-road machines that use AWD to traverse sketchy situations off the pavement.

Stinson Carter

All-wheel-drive, also called full-time four-wheel-drive or AWD, typically powers all four wheels at all times. Many modern AWD vehicles have anti-slip systems to distribute power from front to back or side to side. So, if one wheel begins to spin, power is sent by a computerized or mechanical device to the other three in order to help the vehicle keep moving. Most AWD vehicles don’t have user-controlled settings to force the vehicle into two-wheel-drive mode, or high- or low-reduction gear transfer case settings.

AWD excels on loose surfaces, such as gravel, sand, or snow, and is often used in off-road rally cars for this reason. However, it isn’t ideal for low-speed crawling over extremely tough terrain.

Related: Preparing Your Off-Road Rig? This Is Your Most Important Decision by Far

What Should You Consider Before Choosing an AWD or 4WD Vehicle?

“Understand what you’re buying,” says off-road expert Dave Rees. “Familiarize yourself with what you want to do and what the capabilities of the vehicle are.” 

Rees says AWD is great for daily use, and something like an AWD Subaru is great on gravel. But if you really want to go beyond gravel, you may need 4×4. There are variations that offer a little of both worlds, such as the new Lexus GX, which is AWD but has a locking center differential like a 4×4.

“Both systems [AWD and 4×4] are bound by physics in that you can only pass over an obstacle if you have enough clearance and enough traction,” says Rob Shydo, an off-road expert with Exploring NH. Shydo explains that clearance can differ between AWD and 4WD vehicles, even if they have the same or similar ground clearance on paper. 

Related: The Best Sport Watches for Every Type of Adventure

The 2024 Lexus GX 550 has all-wheel-drive but also features a locking center diff to better power through off-road obstacles.

Courtesy Image

Case in point, modern AWD vehicles that most would consider a car, like an Outback or Crosstrek, now have ride heights that can challenge some of the newer SUVs and trucks—like the new Lexus GX and its sibling, the forthcoming 250 Series Land Cruiser. The Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness model, which is optimized for playing in the dirt, boasts a 9.3-inch ground clearance. The new GX and Land Cruiser only give you 8.9 and 8.7 inches, respectively.

But, once you run out of ground clearance, or “talent,” as he calls it, you may have more options with a 4×4 vehicle such as a 4Runner than you would on an AWD, such as a Subaru. On the 4Runner, the lowest part most at risk of hitting an obstacle is likely part of the rear axle, so “if you run out of talent on a trail, a fairly strong piece of metal would hit the obstacle.” 

Related: The Best Off-Roading EVs Can Tackle Any Terrain

But there are also other areas under the vehicle that may offer higher clearance, so with 4WD you might be able to maneuver around an obstacle on the trail. With AWD vehicles, however, the first part of the vehicle to touch the ground can be more delicate—like part of the suspension, the exhaust system, or even an oil pan or gas tank. 

So not only is the first point of contact likely more vulnerable on an AWD vehicle, but there may also not be as many high points underneath to help you maneuver around an obstacle. In short, if you plan to use your vehicle to traverse highly technical terrain, you’ll have a bigger margin for error with a 4WD.

Do You Really Need 4WD?

If you’re choosing between a 4×4 and AWD, it’s important to know AWD can handle what most people throw at it in the most common off-road scenarios. 

“People think they have to have a Bronco with 50 grand in mods, but actually, no, you don’t.” says Randy Nonnenberg, founder of the online used vehicle auction site Bring a Trailer.

It’s fun to add tons of mods your off-roader, but it can get pricey fast and isn’t usually even necessary for most excursions off the beaten path.

Courtesy Image

Nonnenburg has changed his thinking about what you actually need for off-roading. “Stuff I thought was a cool off-roader as a kid—a Jeep CJ-7, a Land Cruiser, an early Bronco—you can do better off-road with a Subaru Outback. Vehicles are just so capable now.”

Pros and Cons of 4×4 VS AWD?

Pros of 4×4

  • Typical 4×4 vehicles have more ground clearance than AWD
  • More direct control for specific off-road situations
  • Better for people who seriously go beyond pavement and gravel
  • Can be flat towed in neutral
  • Low range gearing is better for towing in some situations

Cons of 4×4

  • Heavier systems than AWD
  • More driver engagement required
  • Less fuel efficient than AWD systems
  • Can require more maintenance, adding to cost of ownership

Pros of AWD

  • Less driver input needed
  • Better for most people in realistic driving scenarios
  • More fuel efficient than 4×4

Cons of AWD

  • Typically on crossovers or cars with lower ground clearance so skid plates needed for off-roading
  • No direct manual control
  • No locking differentials
  • Tires wear out faster than 2WD systems

Related: How to Make a Used Vehicle Overland Ready


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