It’s January. Raise your hand if you have created a resolution this year. Now raise your hand if, in the past, you made a resolution only to abandon it by the end of February. Yeah, me too.
Why is it that we cannot seem to keep these well meant plans, these goals that would make us a better person, the good habits we try to build? I wish I could give you a quick, easy answer. But, really, I don’t know.
What I do know is you, yes you, can keep your New Year’s resolution throughout the whole year. I have a simple 3 steps that can help make your resolution into a lifestyle. (And I promise, they are easy or, at least, simple.) Every time I set a new goal for myself: New Year’s resolution, short term life goal, long term goal: I stick to these 3 steps to help me really make the most of it..
the right reasons
All your friends are setting goals for exercising more, and you know it is physically and mentally healthy, blah, blah, blah. So you decide to set a similar goal for exercising. Now, this could work. You have a support team. You are surrounded by motivated people. Easy peasy. Except you really, really don’t like to exercise, so all that motivation is lost on you. And your support group ends up leaving you in the dust because you refuse to run. …Or maybe that is just me.
Either way, in order to turn a goal into a lifestyle, you have to really want it. It has to be something you are ready to buy into. You love it. You enjoy it. Or you are ready to commit to it. Without that internal drive, all the motivation your friends or family have will not help you for more than a few weeks.
Also, set a reasonable goal. With my work schedule, working out five days a week is never going to happen. Making that my goal is just setting myself up to fail. But living a healthy lifestyle is not out of my reach. Packing fresh veggies in my lunch is simple, healthy, delicious, and most of all, doable.
List your reasons for setting your goal, and keep your list handy. Sometimes I need those reminders as motivation. Let’s be honest, a lot of times I need those reminders as motivation. It will help you remember how important this is to you.
Remember my *ahem* pretend scenario about exercising… Well, it wasn’t all bad. Having a partner or someone who is willing to be honest and push you a little is essential. I cannot tell you how many times a goal of mine didn’t get past the first month because I didn’t ask anyone to check in on me. A workout buddy, a nutrition buddy, a reading buddy: it doesn’t matter as long as they keep you honest with yourself. It always helps to have an outside push to keep you motivated as well.
I am not going to say this is the most important step but…let’s just say, it is 100% impossible to stick to a goal without some sort of a plan. That being said, it does not have to be complicated or lengthy. It doesn’t even have to be written down. But it is important to ask yourself a few questions and have a plan in place for when things get tough.
“What questions?” you ask.
Here are my 5 go to questions used to help plan my goal.
What time frame are you planning this goal for?
How often do you need to work on your goal to accomplish it?
Is there a month/week/time period this goal will be especially difficult? If so, how will you prepare for that time?
What will you do when you are burnt out or unmotivated?
What progression do you expect with your goal?
The answers to these questions are your plan. I promise, it will make a huge difference in meeting your goal. Even simple planning helps you maintain your goal no matter what.
So get out there! Dream big, and set big goals because you can most definitely achieve them. I am rooting for you. And if you have dreams or goals, we would love to hear about them. Please comment with your dreams and goals for the new year or with the goal keeping strategies that have worked best for you.
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