Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Setting and Achieving Resolutions

Every year many people across the world write down goals for the coming year... resolutions they hope will make themselves better by the same time the next year. The interesting thing is that 88% of resolutions end in failure. That means that only 12% will actually meet their resolutions. Sooooo do you really want to set a goal with only a 12% chance of success? Doesn't sound too enticing does it? Hopefully I'll be able to share a few ideas with you that can help you be part of the 12% instead of the 88%.

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A few years ago I read an article (somewhere...) that said most people who keep their resolutions actually had to recommit sometime in late January. Most people stopped their goals in late January, but those that actually pulled through are those that recommitted. So the main difference between keeping a resolution and failing at it is not struggling with it and possibly missing a few days - but to RECOMMIT when you've drifted away from your goal. You can't beat yourself up for slipping, let go of past failures and commit to do better in the future. Start again (and again and again if needed.)

It also helps to set attainable and specific goals. A lot of resolutions go wrong when we simply say, "I want to lose weight this year." That isn't a goal, it's a desire. A goal should be specific and measurable. An appropriate way to set a goal to lose weight would be to say something like: "I'm going to lose 20 pounds this year by exercising 5 days a week for 30 minutes each day. I will also cut dessert to only once per week and drink at least 64 ounces (preferably of water) per day." Then to help this goal can be broken down even a bit more. "I will exercise doing cardio Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings by running/aerobics/riding my bike/etc, and I will do yoga/pilates/weights/whatever on Tuesdays and Saturdays each morning." 

You are making the goal - be realistic. You know what you will and will not do. Don't make a goal you know you won't keep! Staying with the weight loss scenario...  If you know you won't  be able to cut out sweets every day, give yourself some leeway. For example you can say, "I'll scale back my sweets to having only 1 ounce of chocolate per day by the end of February." This gives you time to wean yourself down if you know going cold turkey will just make you crave more. Plus 1 ounce of chocolate (or any other sweet treat) won't kill your goal if it is your only treat every day. Start where you are and go from there!

Visibility... You NEED to have your goals somewhere you can see them. Write them down and keep them in your purse or wallet, or post a list in your bedroom, bathroom, on your fridge, etc. Anywhere you'll see them and where you feel comfortable having them. There may be some goals that you don't want visible to the general public ;). Also review your goals every day.
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It also may help for you to have accountability for your goals. If you do better on your goals if you have to report them, then find someone (even in an online forum) that you can report to. Agree on a time to report your goals and then do it! 

Set you're own timeline! It is easy to get overwhelmed by starting a lot of goals all at once... and if you're like me and get overwhelmed, you'll most likely give up on your goals. If this is the case, you can do mini goals to help get to the larger picture, or create a timeline for starting new goals so you're not doing all of them at once (Such as starting a new goal every week or month). This is about improving YOUR life so it doesn't have to fit into the mainstream idea of New Year's Resolutions if that doesn't work for you. 

I hope these tips work for you to be able to succeed at your New Year's Resolutions this year! In order to not make this post too long, I'm going to be sharing my goals tomorrow...

1 comment:

  1. The timing point is very good. I always viewed goals as this thing where I had to have instant perfection, starting out being where I want to end up. But at some point, I realized that it's not like that. It's starting where you are and moving to where you want to be over time, NOT automatically going from A to B in the blink of an eye. And, remembering that it is a resolution for a year helps too--I don't have to be perfect at it in January. That has really helped take away the hate part of the love-hate relationship with resolutions.

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