Tired of recycling the same New Year’s resolutions list every year? It’s time to change it up this year by making commitments that will actually stick! Learn how to create goals that are realistic, how to set specific milestones and how to incorporate a great support system that will help you along the way …
Every year, it’s the same drill. Drafting up a list of lofty intentions that quickly go out of fashion when the calendar flips to January 2nd. Somehow we end up already failing ourselves very early in the year. Vow to make 2010 different by making resolutions that will stick. Here are some tips for converting those lofty intentions into a clear and executable plan that will help make your resolutions a reality.
The key to a good resolution is specificity. Exactly what do you want to achieve? “I hope to loose weight,” while saying something, says nothing of substance. The more specific and granular you can be, the better your chances for success. Generalities typically get you nowhere. A better way to set that intention would be to say, “I would like to live a more heart-healthy life with the goal of loosing 20 pounds by this time next year. I plan to do that by educating myself about weight loss and healthy eating. Then, I will develop and implement a sustainable fitness routine that balances a healthy diet with rigorous exercise. I will monitor my progress by doing weekly weigh-ins and muscle measurements. Get detailed, and you will get where you want to go.
Major goals, minor milestones
Once you get specific about your goals, you need to drill down further by identifying mini-milestones that will lead you to your end point. You better your chances of success by identifying intermediary steps that will move you forward in a progressive fashion. An “easy does it” or baby-steps approach will give you the satisfaction of seeing small but steadfast improvements, which serve to give you the jolt you need to keep pushing further towards your goal.
It’s also useful to set milestones that tie in to certain events or holidays. It makes it easier to remember and keeps you accountable. If you plan to save X dollars by Valentines Day, every time you see a Hallmark ad, a store display or hear an announcement on the radio, it will remind you of your mission. Pick highly visible dates and events if you tend to slack off. You’ll appreciate the constant source of reminders.
Implement a support system
The last piece of the New Year’s resolution puzzle is to mine a healthy support system. You will need a cheerleader if you are setting out to do something that you’ve attempted but failed at or something that you’ve never done before. Scout for a handful of encouraging people, making sure they are supportive and understand the importance of your effort. You can enlist their assistance earlier if you find that you’re still hung up on developing a focused list of benchmarks. Share your resolutions and milestones and ask them to monitor your progress.
This is two-fold: if you feel like you’re falling short of your target, this is a person that will help get you back on track; if you’re lucky enough to be buzzing right along, meeting and maybe even exceeding your expectations, you’ll want someone with whom you can celebrate your progress. You want people that know your hang-ups and pitfalls, so they can be on the look out for signs that you or your system are about to buckle. They should be the type that can exert tough love when you need it and offer a tender ear for venting when you’ve lost sight of your goal. Your coach will encourage you when you need it, pick you up when you fall and root for you at the finish line. Choose carefully as the support system is integral to your success.
Now that you’ve done all the work to turn vague desires into tangible goals, the best thing that you can do is to have faith in yourself. Even if you have always been one of those people that has not had success with the resolution tradition, treat this year as a new beginning. Truly believing in yourself and your own abilities will be the last step in making your resolutions a reality.