A new year seems full of promise, inspiring hope, and for some, prompting goal setting. Among the variety of winter holidays to celebrate, one that generally passes without notice or recognition is the day goals die. Psychologists have determined that January 12th is the expiration date for most New Year’s resolutions—less than a two week lifespan. Many try but few succeed where goals are concerned. According to studies, only about eight percent of resolutions are achieved.
Do you want to beat the odds? If so, what can you do differently? You still have time to change your approach if you want to succeed where others fail. Maybe resolutions are not your thing. Perhaps you think that setting goals just sets you up for failure. But, nothing ventured, nothing gained. One way to think about goals is as a measure of growth. What changes do you envision or would you like to see in the upcoming year?
If you are willing to try making resolutions or if your current ones are on life support, here are some tips to try:
Meaningful motivation. Determine what you want to change, and why. Some customary resolutions include improving fitness, eating healthy, or saving money. Perhaps this is the year that you write a book, run a 10k, or travel to a bucket list destination. These common aspirations show up repeatedly because they are challenging. It’s not a matter of one-and-done, but requires ongoing efforts.
Make it easy to succeed. Think baby steps. Limit the number of changes at one time. Don’t set yourself up for failure by overloading, even with complementary goals like losing weight / exercising more. Consider a 30-day challenge. Focus on one thing for a month: maybe taking a walk after dinner instead of eating dessert or drinking water when you feel hungry.
Harness habits. In moments of decision, five more minutes of sleep or the lure of the couch will overrule going to the gym or meditating. Schedule so you don’t have to think. Put your workout clothes by the bed. Make your goal a practice, not a choice.
Figure your triggers. Set yourself up for success. Don’t deprive yourself of things that bring enjoyment or comfort. Become conscious about what compels and propels so you can minimize temptation. What can you modify?
Purge the pantry. If you have selected healthy eating as a goal, change your environment. Don’t stock high-calorie snacks. Have alternatives: select substitutes that satisfy cravings. Make it easy for yourself by having veggies or fruit readily available, instead of needing prep them when the urge to eat strikes.
Find support. Programs like Weight Watchers and Alcoholics Anonymous build in accountability. But it doesn’t have to be so formal. Ask a colleague to walk with you at lunch. Make the action a routine.
Write it down. Develop a SMART plan — Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. Think of SMART as your scoreboard so you can measure progress — perhaps, a pedometer that tracks steps walked or a bathroom scale to monitor weight. How will I know when I’ve achieved my goal? Specific trumps optimistic. Ensure your goals are concrete, well-defined, and focused.
“Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become reality.” Earl Nightingale
You know this; nothing new here: Every day is a new beginning. Small changes can make a big difference. This is your year: bring your goals to life. Finish what you start.
“As you ramble on through life, Whatever your goal, Keep your eye on the doughnut, And not on the hole.” ― Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin
© Joan S Grey, 10 JAN 20 ∞
IndexCardCure™: Be bold. Think small.
3 thoughts on “20/20 Foresight”
The SMART acronym is a keeper! V.
Sent from my iPad
Thank you Joan for another one of your insightful posts. It may appear, at first glance that there is “nothing new”; however, I realize that I’d spent very little time investigating Why I wanted to add or discontinue a habit. Also, by past experience, I’ve discovered that the last day to attemp to do so is New Year’s Day!
Pingback: 2020 Hindsight | IndexCardCure™