I recently saw a social media post talking about bad new years resolutions. It got me thinking, what makes a new years resolution bad in the first place?? Is it that as a society we tend to set the same three to five resolutions every year? Or that it's more common for us to fail at our resolutions than it is to succeed??
I don't think that it's any of the above. The definition of resolution is
If we go off that definition alone, then we are nailing the act of making a resolution. However synonymous with resolution is plan and that's exactly what's missing from most resolutions, making them bad resolutions. The plan doesn't need to be elaborate or even extensive but there needs to be one. Not sure how to come up with the plan, here's an easy way to get started.
Make your wish list. Here's where you are going to figure out what it is you actually want to accomplish this year. Grab a piece of paper and a pen, and yes, it must be written by hand, not typed on a keyboard. Why? Because the act of writing has been proven to help you remember things better, clarify your thoughts and even help you achieve your goals! If you're someone who wants to keep this list with you at all times, you're in luck - write it down, snap a picture of it with your phone and carry it with you always ;)
Alright, back to the wish list. Grab that paper and pen and set a timer for 5 minutes. For the next five minutes dream big. What do you want to accomplish this year?? There are no obstacles in your way, no responsibilities and nothing that says you can't. Let your thoughts flow freely and write down whatever comes to mind.
Look back over your list and narrow it down to 1 -3 things that speak to you the most. If you're not sure how to narrow it done, write down your whys for dreaming up that goal in the first place. The goals that you can an attach a strong why to are most likely the goals that you should focus on.
Now grab another piece of paper for each goal that you chose to focus on. You'll need to focus on one at a time now so you'll need a little bit more time. Write down your first goal at the top of the sheet of paper as if you have already achieved it. For example, if I currently weight 190 lbs and my goal is to lose 30 pounds in 2016 at the top of my paper I would write: I weigh 160 lbs by December 31, 2016. I have succeed in making my goal specific and timely but there is still no action.
Set your timer for 10 minutes. Write down all the steps that you would need to do to achieve this goal, and I mean all of them. Using my example above, my list may look something like this:
- drink 3L of water a day
- no snacking after 8pm
- eat veggies with every meal
- resistance train 2-4 days a week
- cardio train 2-5 days a week
- core/mind body training 1-4 times a week
- find babysitter so that I can go to the gym
- talk to my boss about leaving 30 minutes early (cut my lunch by 30 minutes) so that I can make it to my fitness class twice a week
- wake up for the 5:30am class 2-3 times a week
- prepare lunches the night before so I don't have to do it in the morning
- meal plan every Friday night
- grocery shop every Saturday
- prep for the week on Sunday
- arrange a walking meeting with a colleague once a week (we discuss work and walk at the same time)
- talk to my personal trainer about my upcoming goals
- weigh in once a week or once every two weeks to track progress
- ETC, ETC, ETC!
Yours will be even more specific to you. Write down everything no matter how small or mundane the task seems! Repeat for goal 2 and 3 if you have them.
Now the action truly begins. Go through your list and pick out two goals that you can focus on that day. Based on my list above, maybe I could schedule a meeting with my boss to discuss a flexible work day and I could track my water intake for the day. Then do them. It seems easy right? So easy that maybe you think you could tackle even more steps from that list. And maybe some days you can. But most days you won't. And that's ok. Why set yourself up for failure with too many to-do tasks?? Pick a couple and get them done. Be pleased with yourself that you moved closer to your goal.
If your action steps looks like it would take longer than 30 minutes to complete. Break down your action step. For example, if I simply listed meal plan, that might seem time consuming or overwhelming. But if I made my action step to chose two healthy recipes to try for dinner next week, I could likely do that in less than 10 minutes.
Work Towards Progress, Not Perfection
Small attainable action steps add up to big, mind blowing results. But not over night. Look over your action list at the start of every day. Chose where to focus. Need to revisit an action step, do it. Need to change your goals, do that as well. Remember this is your 2016 and your journey, you get to chose how you want it to go.
I'd love to hear what you have planned for 2016 and if this type of goal setting worked for you! Please feel free to leave me a comment below.