It’s January 18th and if you’re like most people, your resolutions have already gone out the window or they’re quickly on their way. All of us start off with the best of intentions proudly proclaiming that this year will be different. We really mean to accomplish these goals, but nearly all of them fall flat before Spring even hits.
There are many reasons why this happens. To stick with your resolutions, you’ve got to be realistic about the goals you’re setting and your reasons for wanting to achieve them. Jim Rohn is quoted as saying “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going”, but I believe that dedication is required in order to stick with something long enough that it becomes habit.
Here are some tips for creating healthy new practices so that when January rolls around again, you can feel a sense of accomplishment and growth with the progress you’ve made.
1. Create Realistic Goals and Rewards
Make your goals manageable by breaking them up into small, achievable daily, weekly, and monthly chunks. This prevents you from feeling intimidated or overwhelmed. If you’re new to fitness, start by committing to just 15 minutes of exercise per day, then increase it by 15 more minutes at certain dates or checkpoints. You can also commit to swapping out some unhealthy food items each week. Doing it this way will help you make the changes you want to see and build your confidence with small wins.
It also helps to be specific about your goals. Saying that you just want to lose weight is too vague which is why this goal usually fizzles out. Ditch the scale and start measuring your actual body composition (body fat % and lean muscle mass) so you know if you’re building muscle and/or burning fat and so you can differentiate between water retention and fat gain/loss.
2. Reward Yourself
Whatever you’ve decided, be it fat loss, quitting smoking or growing your business, you’re more likely to make a positive change in your behavior if you have rewards waiting at the finish line. Rewards should be things you really look forward to but that are unrelated to food. Book yourself a massage or spa day, plan a weekend away, buy yourself tickets to a show, or just get someone to take the kids for a half or whole day to give you some time to yourself. Small daily rewards are important too. These can be things like relaxing in a bubble bath, setting aside time to read a great book, or connecting with a good friend on the phone.
3. Buddy Up
Getting together with friends to support one another in achieving goals is an excellent way to build your new healthy habits. Whether it’s taking a class together at the gym, getting outside for a walk, or learning a new craft or skill, teaming up with your friends will make it much more likely you won’t give up on your goals. You’ll also have a lot of fun in the process!
4. Keep a written record
Writing down your goals and dreams keeps them front and center in your mind. In fact, starting a journal around your goals is highly recommended. You can write what you’ve done each day to take steps towards each goal, and it’s really gratifying to see each page fill up with your accomplishments, both big and small.
5. Share Your Goals and Dreams
If you really want to succeed, tell your friends and family about what you want to accomplish and why. You get more support along the way and maybe even find teammates to take along for the journey.
6. Be True to Yourself
Your reasons for creating goals need to come from within. Trying to do something because you feel like you should or because someone else wants you to is a recipe for failure. Dig deep and really examine what it is you want and why. If your motivations aren’t meaningful or important enough to you, you won’t prioritize them, so be honest with yourself and others and don’t compromise on what feels right for you.
Achieving your goals is entirely within your reach if you want it bad enough! So start chipping away at those stepping stones and keep your eye on the prize.
What are you excited this year? Comment below and share your desires for the year ahead. I’d love to hear from you!