Forget about New Year’s resolutions.
Why? Well most of them fall by the way side by the end of January. Have you ever noticed the increase in gym membership at the start of every year. There is a mad rush to get on the nearest available treadmill but then 4 weeks later the crowds have suddenly disappeared! It’s very easy to make a resolution but the issue is that it may not be that specific or realistic, and no plan of action has been made to follow it through.
I worked in the corporate world for many years and setting business goals and plans was the key to business success. Every November time was set aside to agree on the action plan for the year ahead. So why don’t we take the time to apply this to our personal lives.
Tip 1 – Create a positive vision
This is the fun part and worth taking the time to think through. What do you really want to create this year?
If you create a vision for yourself, you are creating your future. So, if anything were possible – quickly, easily, and now – what would your ideal life look like? Who would be in it? What would you be doing? Where would you be living? What would you look and feel like? What does your day look like?
Focus on what you want and feeling good, rather than on what you don’t want and feeling bad.
Have a clear picture of how you want to live your life and what you want to become i.e. to be a healthy weight of xxx by xxx date. Build a positive image of yourself (your true self-image) that is aligned with your goal. It is important to have a goal in mind and even better if you have an inspiring motivation or emotional attachment to it, a connection to your deepest values with those things most important to you e.g. I want to become healthy for my children so they have a healthy role model on which they can pattern their lives.
Try to incorporate all senses in your vision to make it more effective. What do you see, hear, smell, taste and feel throughout this ideal day? Go through magazines, google images and print/cut out pictures and phrases that match your vision. Stick these onto a large piece of cardboard or pin board and voila you have your vision board! Make sure to place this somewhere in your home where you can look at it every day. Or take a photo of your vision and have as your laptop or mobile screen saver.
Tip 2 – Write down your goals once you’ve completed your vision
Take your vision and turn it into a written list of concrete goals. According to a study done by Gail Matthews at Dominican University, those who wrote down their goals accomplished significantly more than those who did not write down their goals. Once written, post them up in a place where you will read them daily.
Reading your goals regularly plants them more firmly in your subconscious mind, all helping you to attract more of the goal you’ve set.
Tip 3 – Make sure you write specific goals
“I want to lose 10 pounds weight,” is hugely different than, “I want to lose 10 pounds of weight in the next eight weeks.”
The second is specific and gives you a deadline that will push you to take action.
Tip 4 – Are they realistic?
Make sure to set yourself up for success by creating goals that are realistic and achievable in the given time-frame.
Rather than say I want to lose 10 pounds weight in 2 weeks a more realistic goal would be to lose the weight more slowly e.g. over 8 weeks for sustainable weight loss and develop new lifestyle habits that are not just quick fixes but changes that you can sustain long term.
Tip 5 – Always put deadlines in your written goals.
For the reason pointed out above. Make sure these deadlines are somehow realistic. Put a deadline that is challenging enough to push you and motivate you to take action, without being extremely tough to achieve. If it’s too tough you will only beat yourself up when you haven’t achieved it and worse still may not even set the goal again.
Tip 6 – Break into small actionable steps
Break your goals into small actionable steps and assign realistic deadlines to each. This way your overall goal is less overwhelming. You can now easily see how it can be achievable over time. Create a checklist to follow. You don’t have to do a lot, but every day, every week, every month, you should be making progress in the direction of your clearly-defined goals by ticking off those tasks you’ve set.
Continue to break big steps into smaller and smaller steps until goals seem less daunting and achievable. You might find you are moving more quickly or slowly than expected. That’s not a problem, you can adjust! Accept that it’s ok to adjust your timeline.
For example, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds of weight in eight weeks, you could write:
– I will fill half my dinner plate with vegetables every day.
– I will eat junk food and sweet treats only once per week.
– I will cut out fizzy drinks.
– I will walk for 45 minutes every day with a friend
When breaking your goals into these small steps also have a think about
Can you start and do it by yourself?
Have you ever done this before?
Do you know anyone who has?
Can you act as if you have it?
Tip 7 – acknowledge achievements and celebrate with rewards
After all your hard work don’t forget about celebrating! It’s the most important part of goal setting. Have a think about how you will celebrate once you’ve reached your goal and this will help to motivate you further especially on those difficult days.
On your weekly activity planner include a column for “reward” no matter how small e.g. have a relaxing bath, go the cinema, watch a comedy. Clap yourself on the back for achieving those tasks that you’ve accomplished as they are all helping you on your way to achieving your main goal.
“The secret of making something work in your life is, first of all, the deep desire to make it work, then the faith and belief that it can work; then to hold that clear definite vision in your consciousness and see it working out step by step, without one doubt or disbelief.”