Resolutions only take you so far. By now, many people have given up on their New Year’s resolutions. The problem with a resolution is that it is usually all or nothing. You either do what you said you would do like giving up sweets or exercising every day. The first time a donut meets your mouth or you oversleep and miss going to the gym you have failed!
Success in anything takes some time and work.
A better strategy to becoming better at something or eliminating something is to frame what you want as a goal instead of a resolution. Goals are something that you strive to achieve or eliminate. Making a mistake or missing one time does not mean that you failed at your goal.
Goals involve a process and a plan to get to your goal. Having the best chance of reaching your goals includes having a plan for when challenges get in your way or when your motivation and willpower are low.
Here are five of our top strategies for helping you reach any goal:
1. Ask yourself - W.I.N. What’s Important Now
When you are faced with a choice in relation to your goal, take a moment and ask yourself What is Important Now?
If you are trying to make healthy food choices to look and feel better and are tempted to eat a hot dog or have a piece of chicken, ask yourself What is Important Now? Or What is the best choice I can make at this moment?
2. Plan for obstacles using If/then statements – If this happens, then I will do that
If I am going to a party where there will be a lot of food, then I will pick my favorite food and 1 treat to eat at the party instead of picking at everything.
If I am under stress and usually make poor food choices, then I will pack some healthy food alternatives to eat.
Think of all the times where you might not make the best food choices and write if/then statements to avoid the temptation ahead.
3. Break your goal into small steps
Start with small steps that you feel at least 90% confident you will be able to achieve. The object is to keep moving forward and making progress. Success builds on success.
If you are trying to adopt a fit lifestyle, start with the goal of consistency. Ask yourself how much exercise am I 90-100% confident that I can maintain. If this is ten minutes a day or ten minutes a week, start with that goal and build as you achieve success. Remember, just getting up off the couch and doing something gives the greatest health benefits and reduces risk of all-cause mortality.
4. Schedule time every day to work on your goal.
Schedule time in your calendar for when you will work on your goal. Treat the time as you would a doctor’s appointment or work project. Review your goal each day and do something that moves you closer to your goal.
If you are trying to lose weight, you might schedule time to drink water throughout the day.
If you are trying to increase your exercise time, schedule time each day to fit activity into your schedule. Start your streak now.
5. Fail Fast
Make mistakes! Mistakes can be an important part of the learning process and help us succeed at our goals. Keep an open mindset. Believe that you can improve and look for ways to learn from your mistakes. Fail your way to success.
Failing at something is good if you use the failure as an opportunity to learn and continue to work towards your goal.
Use these tips to move past resolutions and reach your goals.