We all know the pressure that comes with this time of year - No one wants to be the one who’s already given up on their New Year’s Resolutions. Even though we’re not quite all the way through January, the goals we set for ourselves sometimes seem destined to fail.
If you’re struggling sticking to those goals you set at the end of December, don’t be frustrated. Setting a successful goal is not as easy and straightforward as people make it seem. If you set a goal for this year to “eat better, and exercise more” I can bet you’re already starting to falter. Here is some advice for goal setting that can help you create resolutions that are working for you and not against you.
First of all, it’s important to set both outcome goals and process goals. Process goals can give you a helping hand in achieving the bigger picture. If your outcome goal is to lose ten pounds, your process goals should be things like: drinking a glass of water with every meal, or going for a thirty minute walk everyday. Start setting these goals by using the S.M.A.R.T goal method to give your resolutions more context.
S - BE SPECIFIC
While eating better and exercise is a noble desire, it’s often left up to interpretation. Instead of saying you want to exercise more, say you want to walk a half hour after work everyday.
M - MAKE IT MEASURABLE
Creating a goal that allows us to measure our progress helps keep us motivated and moving towards that final number. While “eating better” is not measurable, eating under fourteen-hundred calories a day, is.
A - BE ATTAINABLE
Look at what your schedule and lifestyle allows and make sure your goal fits in it. Don’t set unrealistic expectations for yourself. If your work schedule doesn’t allow you make a home cooked meal for your family every night, don’t set that as a goal. Instead, figure out what is realistic for you. Instead of cooking every night, plan meals two or three nights a week and make enough to have leftovers.
R - BE RELEVANT
This seems like a no-brainer, but many people create goals in an attempt to fit someone else’s idea of them. It’s important that your resolutions are relevant and meaningful to who you are in your life right now. Make sure the goals you are setting are for you and no one else.
T - SET A TIME LIMIT
Deciding when we want to have achieved our goals is important. If you want to lose weight, don’t set a goal to lose weight “this year,” or you’ll find yourself pushing it off until November. Pick a date that’s realistic, and use that to motivate you everyday.
Making some of these adjustments to your New Years Resolutions can help make them successful. There’s no shame in admitting that you need to reassess your goals here at the end of January. Sticking to resolutions is hard for everyone, and the more patient and honest we are with ourselves, the more likely we are to cross the finish line.
If you don’t believe me, next week in the blog I’ll be discussing my own struggle with yearly resolution in the past.