" I'm going to loose 20 lbs, exercise more, and save more money this year". " I know I said the same thing last year, but I will for sure do it this year!"
You are not alone if you didn't fulfill your resolution as only 1 out of 10 people are estimated to actually fulfill their New Year's promises and a third of people will abandon their resolution in the first month.
Don't let these dismal statistics get you down, you can be that one person in ten! The following tips will help you do that.
Keep it Simple
Everyone would love to have six pack abs, a huge bank account, win citizen of the year award and be a rock star parent. But, you can't do everything at once. Keep it simple and choose one goal to achieve. You are much more likely to achieve your goal when you are focusing all of your energy on one thing rather than 7.
Choose a goal that will have the largest impact. My favorite is to get active. Changing your couch time into activity time will have a huge impact on your overall health. Including: mental health, aging, brain function, gut function, weight loss, and overall energy. To quote Warren Buffet: "The best investment to make is in yourself"
Choose a goal that excites you and you have a true urgency to achieve. Pick something that is relevant in your life and will have a short and long term impact for you. You must have a "I need to do this" attitude. A simple tool is to write down why this goal is important and what impact it will have on your life. Journal about your goal everyday and you will get continual positive feedback to keep you on track.
Break it Down
Often when setting goals we don't know where to start. We get overwhelmed and are ready to quit before we begin. One mistake is that we choose too big of a goal that is more achievable by completing a number of smaller goals. Break down these complex larger goals into smaller ones. Daily, weekly, monthly and finally yearly goals within the big goal if needed. Write these down and have read them often. There is a sense of accountability when you do this and you can always go back to that piece of paper for motivation.
Breaking down your goal can also give you a plan. Often people are too focused on achieving the goal and not how to achieve the goal. It would be like planning to go score a goal in your hockey game but not figuring out how to get to the rink.
Set SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound.
This is a well know strategy for keeping focused on achieving your goal. Be specific in choosing your goal, measure it along the way to make sure you are headed in the right direction, make sure your goal is attainable and relevant to you, and lastly set a time frame to get it done in.
It is always easier to keep focused and motivated if you are accountable to someone else. Telling someone your goal or achieving a goal together is better than going solo. Recruit someone that will challenge you when you get off track and will help you along the way. A great idea is to join a gym, like Whitey's Gym, and surround yourself with motivated people.
Keep it Going!
Studies show that almost 40% of peoples daily activities are repeated every day. We are creatures of habit! Remember: Actions cause habits, habits cause behaviors, and behaviors cause character. Science shows that it takes time to form a habit. A simple habit, like drinking a glass of water every morning, can take as less as a month to form. A more complex habit, like quitting smoking, can take up to a year to truly overcome. The key is to stick to it. According to the book, "The Brain That Changes Itself", the longer you do something the more your brain hardwires the pattern (you fire it and you wire it).
Don't give up if you miss some time working towards your goal. This is normal! Everyone is busy and life sometimes gets in the way. It is very normal to have set backs in achieving your goals. If it would be easy, then everyone would be a nonsmoking, fit, rich, and prosperous person. Be easy on yourself if you have a setback and keep it going.
We all love to get a reward for our achievements. When you are setting your plan for attaining your goal you must include rewards. Set various benchmarks along the way and when you achieve them, you get a treat. Another method is to give yourself an award every time you don't do your bad habit. A great example of this is when you want to quit smoking. Put money in a jar every time you don't have a cigarette. If you smoked a pack a day and you go smoke free for the day, put the value of a pack in a jar. You will quickly see how much money you're saving and will have a great reward when you get to spend it on something special. I have had a group of ladies, who are my patients, set a resolution to run a half marathon. They set a reward as a treat to run a half in Vegas, and they did it!
Activity Fact: A study polling almost 1,500 Canadians who quit smoking revealed that it took an average of 30 attempts to quit before they succeeded!