Did you make a resolution this year? Set a goal? Or decided it was time to make a change?
Resolutions can be daunting and are often followed by the failure to fulfill them. Some people can say, “I won’t drink soda for the entire calendar year,” and actually do it! But then there are those goals like, “I want to start working out again,” that people find themselves postponing and cancelling over and over again. You aren’t alone! Having resolutions and never reaching them is without a doubt discouraging, so let’s set those goals and learn some tricks to achieve them.
You may have heard of S.M.A.R.T. goal setting. S.M.A.R.T. goals bring a level of structure in planning and the ability to monitor your progress:
S – Specific: Be detailed and clear when you articulate and define your goals. “I want to start working out again,” is great, but try to be more specific. How many calories do you want to burn each day? Or how many days a week do you want to work out?
M – Measurable: Break your goal down. Do you have a Fitbit, Apple Watch, or an App that tracks or estimates how many calories you burn? Are there apps you can download? Will you keep a journal? How can you monitor your progress?
A – Attainable: Make sure it’s something you have the ability to achieve, but don’t restrict yourself to what people tell you is “realistic.” Dream, decide, and achieve. Switch things up. Maybe you are tracking calories or deciding how many times you want to work out in a week. Make sure your goal is challenging and satisfying to complete, but won’t overwhelm you. If you haven’t exercised much in the past, start with exercising 3 days a week, rather than 5. Set yourself up for success and make it harder as you get stronger. You can always modify your goal as you go!
R – Relevant: Make sure it is your goal, that it matters to you.
T – Timely: Be specific about when you’d like to achieve your goal, or you might struggle to keep momentum. If your goal is to work out 5 days a week, put a date to it. “I want to be working out 5 days a week by the end of March.” Consider breaking it down into smaller goals: “I want to work out 3 days a week the first month, 4 days a week the second month, and 5 days a week the third month.”
Now that we have reviewed how to set goals, let’s explore how to achieve them.
Your goal is set. Let’s go get it! But wait, did you take a breath and acknowledge it? People often blow past one goal onto the next without even thinking twice about what they have achieved. Give yourself credit, a pat on the back, celebrate. (Woohooo!) Okay, now we’re ready!
- Frame it: Write it down and frame it. Don’t close the notebook, stick it in a drawer, and never look at it again (guilty). There is a direct correlation between writing your goals down and accomplishing them.
- Attitude: Your attitude and mindset make all the difference. Believe you can do it, that you will do it. Many people set goals with a deficit mindset, for example, lose weight. Instead of focusing on the negative, turn it into something you can’t wait to wake up and chase. Discovering your “why” can keep you from dreading the process. Why do you want to exercise more? Is it so that you can relieve muscle and joint pain, have the energy to play with your kids, improve your attitude and mood? When you know your “why,” your motivation is much stronger.
- Accountability: Share your goals with people who will help you achieve them. By doing this, you are making your goals a priority, not just something that may or may not get done. Want to get fit? Work with a personal trainer. Want to improve your eating habits/lifestyle? Work with a health coach. Want to go for a walk every morning before work? Find a walking partner. Find that person that will support your dream and help you achieve success.
- Itinerary: Focus on manageable actions that you can implement into your schedule to break up your larger goal. Make a series of action steps. The first few steps are challenging, but once you gain momentum, you’ll be unstoppable.
- Celebrate: Forgive yourself when you slip up, but whatever you do, celebrate your progress!
While setting and achieving goals, be mindful that there are no shortcuts to lasting success. And remember to be nice to yourself. Goals generally take time, but it’s through the physical pain and mental strengthening that you will find your way, one step at a time. Be open to your goals shifting and changing, but whatever you do, don’t give up on yourself.
Want a worksheet you can complete and post to help you achieve your goals? Print our Resolution Rescue Sheet to help you get started!
What’s one positive change you are making in 2019? Share a picture of your goal, tell us who you will work with to accomplish your goal, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below: