Posted on December 11, 2017 by Heather
Why do we start the year with such enthusiasm when it comes to goal setting, and then fizzle out so fast?
Research has shown that 90% of New Year’s Resolutions fail every year. That’s a lot of disappointment!
Here are a few simple things on how to make your big, hairy, audacious New Year’s resolutions actually happen. I’m planning to try these out in 2018 (on the goals I actually set for 2017 but never managed to achieve!)…I’ll let you know how I do.
This sounds really obvious, but the most critical thing is to make sure that your goals are actually achievable, rather than pie in the sky. I don’t mean that you should make them super easy, but they should be manageable rather than impossible.
So for example, if you have a health and fitness goal, make sure that you don’t set out to exercise for hours every day, from Day One. You’ll be exhausted by the end of the first week and you’ll quickly start pressing the snooze button rather than getting up in the morning for a workout. If you’re starting from scratch with the exercise, start with just 10 minutes twice a week. If you’re a more regular gym goer then you can set your targets higher from day one.
Start small, and increase your targets as you reach them. Break your goal down into bite size chunks – so if you want to get fit, consider a goal of 3 x 30 minutes exercise sessions a week, and gradually extend the length of the session. Or if you’re starting from scratch with the exercise, start with just 10 minutes twice a week and work up.
There are a lot of apps which can help with this, such as Apple’s Couch to 5K which starts very very slowly. Anyone, however unfit, can walk and run for a couple of minutes on Day One and then gradually build up, running 5K by the end of 8 weeks. Or so they say! (I’ve yet to prove it personally).
OK this one isn’t for everyone, and it will depend on your comfort level when it comes to telling people about what you’re up to, but sometimes it can be helpful to tell others about your goal, so that they can keep you accountable.
Sometimes this can work against you, there are those who may try to rubbish your goal, especially if it makes them feel threatened, so consider sharing it with your close friends, those who you know will support you.
If you’re a social media sharey type, then by all means blast it all over your Facebook page or Twitter feed, but then you’d better be prepared for the inevitable non-stop questions about how you’re doing.
A goal is fairly pointless unless you put a timeline against it. Without measuring it against the passing of time, it’s likely that your goal will always remain a dream. Don’t make your timeline too aggressive, but don’t make it too long either. Having weekly targets to measure progress along the way can be useful, depending on the goal, and have a final, realistic deadline for achieving it, along with some kind of a “reward” to yourself.
This is actually the most important one of all.
Figure out WHY you want to achieve your goal, at a more fundamental level. Once you make that connection, and if it is a connection which is meaningful to you, then you’re more likely to succeed.
For example, let’s say 2018 is the year that you final want to give up smoking. If you’re quitting because someone else is nagging you to do so, it’s unlikely that your willpower will sustain you beyond a few days. If you want to kick the habit because you realize on a deeper level the damage that it’s doing to your health, your life, and even your relationships, then you can keep tapping into those deeper seated beliefs as you go.
Equally, if you want to get fit because you want to look good in your social media pics, then it just may work if you have a very significant selfie habit. But if you think why being fit is important because you understand that it will help you to be more agile and effective in all elements of your life, then you’re more likely to stick to your exercise regime.