If you are one of the 45% of the population that made a New Year’s Resolution, how’s it going – no matter what time of year it is?
The most common resolutions are to get fit, lose weight, get organized, and save more money. No matter the type of resolution, there are some strategies that you can use to help you stay on task.
Even using the simple strategies below, you might need help. Reaching for goals can be overwhelming! Reach out to a coach, personal trainer, nutritionist, or respected friend to help you on your path to meet your goals and to help you stay accountable especially to yourself.
Eight percent of people who made resolutions actually follow through and complete them at all. Why is that? Resolutions are set during an emotional time of year. The holidays are crazy busy and many people “crash” at the end of the year. It’s a time of year that causes reflection and instills a desire for renewal and self-improvement. We set high, and sometimes overwhelming, expectations for ourselves.
Let’s use as an example losing weight as the resolution since that is one of the most common ones. Let’s say you decided right after Christmas that you want to lose 40 pounds by July 1 (to be ready for the beach!).
On December 31st, you think “40 lbs by July 1. I got this!”.
At the end of January, you check in with yourself and think “40 lbs by July 1”. If you have not lost weight yet, you think “oh-oh I better get moving but I think I still got this”.
The end of February rolls around and you think “40 lbs by July 1?”. Two months into it and you have not made any substantial behavior change or real progress. “Ok, this is not going to happen – bring on the nachos and Sam Adams”.
Well, I am here to tell you that you “do got this!“. Here are some suggested strategies to help you stay on target for your goals.
- Make the goal realistic and break it down – often our goals are too big to start. In this example, 40 lbs in 6 months is a big number. I’m not a fan of using the scale in the first place. You can use clothing size and how you are feeling as an effective measuring stick. Be mindful of how your clothes are fitting each week or month.
Break it down into smaller chunks. If you are using the scale, 40 lbs in 6 months is 6.66 lbs per month, which is 1.5 lbs per week (1 1/2 packages of butter!).
If you are trying to drop 2 – 4 sizes in your clothes, break it down to 1 or 1 1/2 sizes in 3 months.
- Write the goal down and put it someplace where you will see it every day – for instance, you can put the goal on the refrigerator door. It must be the most prominent sign on the door. Remove the kid’s or grandkid’s photos and artwork so your goal stands out!
Frame it for the coffee table in front of the couch to remind you that using the couch is hazardous to your health!
- Create a goal journal – write your long term and short term goal in a journal. Read it every day. At the beginning of the day, write down one thing you will do that will bring you one small step closer to your short term or long term goal. At the end of the day, write down whether you did it or not.
- Ask yourself if what you are about to do is going to get you closer to your goal. And for the specific example:
- Will I feel better if I skip the fitness class tonight? – when we don’t feel like going, 9 times out of 10 we are glad we went!
- Is what I am about to eat going to help or hurt in trying to reach my goal for the week?
- Is it my mouth that wants it, or my stomach that needs it?
- Is what I am eating actually poisoning me?
- Finally, cut yourself some slack – just not too much! Remember, in most cases, behaviors and habits have formed over years! Changing a behavior to reach a goal is possible and we must be patient!
If you get off track, as will happen, get right back on track! Minimize the slippage and correct the behavior as soon as possible. When a ship veers off course, the captain corrects the course as soon as possible in order to minimize the amount of correction needed.
The bottom line is it’s never too late to start a behavior change towards a resolution and you will get there if you use some strategies to help you succeed. Never give up!
Learn from the past, act in the present, while focusing on the future. When you drive a car, staring in the rear view mirror will cause you to crash. Glance at what is behind you, but focus on what is in front of you!
Resources: Who can help you meet your goals?
- Increasing physical activity and feeling healthier – personal trainer, exercise coach
- Eating better and losing weight – nutritionist or dietician, exercise coach, health coach
- Getting organized – Life coach, counselor, professional organizer
- Saving more money – Financial planner or accountant