Resolutions are great in theory. However, in reality, the motivation to fulfill grand hopes and wishes fades fast. While motivation starts high and 77% of resolution makers stick with it for the first week, we fall off the wagon pretty quickly and most abandon resolutions by mid-February.
Instead of making lofty, vague intentions that are quickly abandoned, try these goal-setting techniques to create a plan of action that has you committed and seeing results. This topic is especially important for those looking to get into shape since almost half of all resolutions set are aimed at getting fit and/or losing weight.
These six tips get better as you go, so be sure to read through to the end:
It’s easy to get caught up in thinking about what you want to accomplish during the entire year, but 365 days is a long time to stay focused. Break the year into smaller chunks and pick one thing to focus on for each chunk. For example, 30-day challenges can be a great way to take on health goals while keeping the variety level high and attention span stimulated.
Sure, it would be amazing to cut sugar from your diet, crush a marathon with minimal training or cure cancer. But if any of those things aren’t actually realistic within your means or current lifestyle, it’s likely too much to take on — and setting yourself up to fail is never a good start. Another point is that when your goals are so lofty and big, they might not even be right for you in the end.
INVEST IN YOUR GOAL
A sure-fire way to make your goals a reality is to throw money at them. OK, not everyone can spend endlessly on their resolutions, but even small expenditures can make you truly invested. If you’d like to get more fit, invest in a trainer or a gym membership. If you’d like to eat better, hire a dietitian. If you want to run a marathon, register for one and start training. If you want to ditch take-out dinners, sign up for a healthy meal delivery service. You get the idea; having your expenses align with your healthy intentions is money well spent.
Staying motivated depends on your ability to track progress by using specific metrics appropriate for your goal. If you’re trying to lose weight, the number on the scale could be a KPI to track, same with logging meals. However, if your goal is more broad, such as improving body composition, you might look at body fat percentage, measurements, clothes size and a host of other metrics to gauge progress. For non-weight related goals, there are a plethora of ways to see how well you’re doing. Apps can track phone use, budget and time management. Fit trackers can count steps, record sleep and some even provide a daily stress score.
Whatever your goal, choose an appropriate way to track progress, start measuring and set mini goals to frequently check in on.
MAKE AN ACTION PLAN
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once wrote; “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
To make your goal something you will actually work toward, that work needs to be defined in a plan. Take the previously mentioned mini goals, monetary investments, time chunks and tracking metrics that align with your broad goal and turn it into an action plan. A good action plan leaves little to chance and dictates specifically how you will go about reaching your goal.
STICK IT OUT
Keep in mind: Long-term goals ebb and flow, and there will be setbacks. Even if progress seems slow, you’ll get more out of your resolution by taking the tough days in stride and returning to your action plan as soon as you can. Not reaching your mini-goal on the day you set for it doesn’t mean you can’t make progress toward it, and is not a reason to give up on your New Year’s resolution entirely.
Whatever your 2019 resolutions may be, these tips will help you make actionable steps toward reaching your goals. Above all, pick a goal that makes you happy and motivated and start taking action as soon as you can.