So it’s that time of year again when we look back and say man I really wish I would have done and seen more. I wanted to clean out the garage, take a trip, and spend more with family and friends. Last year I joined a gym with the intention of losing some weight, bought a new camera so I can take up my lost love of photography, and signed up for cooking classes so I could make healthier meals for my family. However now as the ball is about to drop I realize I never cleaned out the garage, I didn’t really take a trip anywhere new, and I probably spent the same amount of time with friends and family as I did last year. I paid a monthly gym membership but rarely went and probably weight more now than I did last year, the camera I bought has a few pictures I took on it but has now collected dust in the back of my closet from lack of use, and I tried to make new meals for my family and I but it was easier to just pick something up on the way home.
Sound familiar? If it does it’s nothing to be embarrassed about, the majority of New Years Resolutions are long forgotten before Groundhog Day ever rolls around. The reasons for that vary. It’s not that you didn’t mean to stick to these resolutions, but in the end they fell to the wayside and you find yourself adding the same resolutions from last year to this year’s list or even worse giving up on the act of writing resolutions at all. Making plans for yourself is an invaluable tool to help you get what you want out of life. Because “A Goal Without a Plan is Just a Wish.” Larry Elder. So wishing and dreaming are all well and good, but once you write it down and make a plan you are on your way to achieving it. Here are some helpful tips to help you do just that! And check out this blog post for a list of my personal 2012 Resolutions!
Tips to Help You Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions
#1-Make Them Personal-So the thing is I can’t tell you what your New Year’s Resolutions should be because in order for your resolutions to be effective they need to first be personal! If you make a resolution to lose weight because you think it’s a good idea and everyone else is doing it, the resolution will not make it out of the starting gate, because it has no value to you personally.
#2 Make Them Specific & Measurable- Goals to get in better shape or travel more are too vague. You can set them as a goal but then what do you need to do to get started or how do you know if you completed it or not. You need to make clear cut goals that leave little wiggle room and you must attach a way to gauge your success. For instance getting in better shape needs to be more specific by saying what aspect of your health you want to focus on. DO you want to lose weight, increase your strength, improve cardio capacity, or improve flexibility? Then you need to add a measure to the goal. How many pounds do you want to lose, how many inches do you want to lose, how far would you like to be able to run without stopping, or how many pull ups would you like to be able to do? So a better resolution would be I want to lose 10lbs, be able to run 1 mile without stopping, and do at least 1 pull up.
#3 Make Them Attainable- Make sure your goal is something that you have control over. Making a goal for your husband to get a new job is out of your control. Make sure your goal is something that is feasible for you as well. So setting a goal to lose 100+lbs is probably not feasible for you. Taking a trip somewhere exotic and not having the funds to get there is not feasible either. Your goals should be challenging, not things that can be completed in the next few weeks, but ones that if you put in the time and energy will be accomplished.
#4 Focus on 1 Goal at a Time- So I often have a list of things I need to accomplish, and I work on all of them a little here and there, but never get very far or get to check any off my list, because I spread myself too thin. So pick one of your goals and work on it until you can check it off your list and even better if you can look at your list of goals and find the one goal that would create a snowball effect and help you accomplish the other goals easier start with that one first.
#5 Review and Revisit- Make sure you review your goals weekly and see how they are coming along. Since you make them specific and measurable you will easily be able to access your progress. When you wait to the end of the year, you are often disappointed in your progress, however checking in once a week you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done and make adjustments if you don’t make adequate progress towards your goals.
#6 Have an Accountability Partners- The more people you have involved the better. Make your list of resolutions and email them out to friends, family members, post on Facebook etc. Make sure that others will know if you did not meet your goals by the end of the year. Also find some friends that have similar goals as you and use them to help you be successful. If another friend wants to lose weight as well set up a date to work out together several times a week or call one another once a day to check in on each other’s progress. If your friends don’t have the same goals as you, you can still check in with them regularly and report how you are doing on your goals. You are less likely to disappoint your friend then you are likely to disappoint yourself.
#7- Remind Yourself– Put up post-it notes around the house with your goals or with quotes that will help keep you inspired to stay on track. Keep a journal with you and keep track of all the things you are doing that relate to your goals, for instance, tracking your daily calories, your exercise, the number of negative things you say to yourself each day, or whatever your goals may be. Make a To Do List with goal related items on it, set reminders on your phone or your computer to do tasks you might forget to do like drink enough water.
#8 Develop an Action Plan- So you have a list of 10 goals, so that must mean you just need to accomplish 10 things and you’ll be done for the year right? Wrong! Most goals can be broken down into many actionable steps or mini-goals. Look at each goal and break it down into little manageable pieces. For instance, if you have a fitness or heath related goal, you will need to determine your current weight or body fat percentage, how much you need to lose each week or month to meet your yearly goal, find a gym or exercise program you want to start, research healthy cooking tips, buy a pedometer, buy a water bottle, set aside a specific time each day to work out, set aside a time to prep your meals for the week etc. There are tons of little tasks that need to happen before your goal is completed, so break it down and then add 2 or 3 little items a day until you have reached your goal.
#9 Plan for Rewards- Make sure you reward yourself for a job well done. Keep a calendar and everyday you meet your goals for the day add a star, then make a deal with yourself after so many total stars or after so many in a row you’ll get a small reward. Make sure your rewards do not conflict with your goals so if you want to eat healthier you shouldn’t reward yourself with junk food. You could however get a massage, have free time for yourself, or have someone else cook you dinner for a change. You also should plan to reward yourself at major milestones, for example if you want to lose 20lbs every 5lbs you lose is probably worth a treat because you are well on your way to achieving your goal.
#10 Re-evaluate– Make sure your goals are feasible and are in line with what you want for yourself during this coming year. For instance you may have set a goal to save money away, but there is something that came up that you really want or a trip you really want to go on. Reevaluate why do you want to save money, is it for financial security? If it is then you need to address that and make sure you are putting enough aside to fulfill that goal. However many people want to have more money so they can go on more trips or go out to dinner more. If that is the case, reevaluate your goal and make it more specific to what you want. For instance, I want to be able to go out to dinner once a week so I need to save X amount of money to allow for that, or I want to go on a trip that costs X amount of money so I need to put this much aside each week to get there by the end of the year. You also may realize when your reevaluating your goals they aren’t things you really want to accomplish, so change them! No one says they are set in stone, if it’s not something you personally want to accomplish, change it, because if you don’t want to achieve it the chances are you won’t!
Final Thoughts-So there you have it 10 easy steps to help you make and stick to your New Years Resolution’s this year. I hope you found this article helpful, I’d love to hear what you thought and please feel free to leave your own tips in the comment section below. We could all use as much help and support as possible to make the New Year a successful one. If you want more help with setting and planning goals for yourself please email me at email@example.com I am happy to work with anyone that wants to make this year the best year yet! If health and fitness goals are on your list add me as Free Beachbody Coach and like our facebook page for free one on one fitness and health information and support! Other than that, start making your goals. I can’t wait to hear how many you accomplish by this time next year.