It's that time of year when people start to think about how they want their future to look.
Do you have any New Year resolutions?
Setting yourself new goals and aspirations is a great way to start making positive changes in your life.
But are you falling into the trap?
A lot of people start out their year with sincere and heartfelt goals, but struggle to keep up with them.
Then they stop working at it, don't reach the goal and feel bad. They couldn't do The Thing. They will never reach The Goal. They feel like they have failed.
This year, you will not fall into The Trap, because I'm here to help.
Your 3 step guide to great resolutions
1. Set an achievable goal
Be realistic. Is is something that is physically possible? Will it require changes or resources that you are ready, willing and able to action?
Let's have a look at some examples. Let's say your goal is to run a marathon, in 4 weeks time. Let's be honest, unless you are already a long distance runner, you are setting yourself up for failure. But maybe you could go for next year's race?
Or you are trying to lose weight. Say 10 kg. Can your body afford to lose 10kg (aka, do you have 10kg of fat spare, or are you going to have to start removing appendages)? Can you give yourself enough time (no more than 1% of your bodyweight a week, so 0.5-1kg for most people). Do you understand the changes you will have to make? Are you able to make them? Do you want to?
2. Break it down
Picture your goal one year from now. What do you need to do to get there? What do you need to be able to achieve that?
How will you know if you are on track? What can you measure to check your progress?
What action do you need to take every day in order to bring yourself closer to your target?
Let's try some examples. Say you want to become a bus driver. To do that you need to have the appropriate license, you need to take lessons to learn to drive a bus. Before you can do that you need to have a car license. How long would each of these things take? How much would it cost?
You want to lose 20kg in 6 months. That means you want to be losing 3-4 kg a month. About 0.8 kg a week. To do that you will need to be in a caloric deficit of about 4-500 calories a day. To do that you could add a lunchtime walk or evening fitness class to your schedule, and switch your sugar/carb heavy breakfast for something with more protein, so you won't want to snack mid morning. Now we have a daily plan....
3. Be accountable
Find a way to check in with your daily action, every day. Use a phone reminder, a star chart on your fridge. Have a person you can check in with, like a friend or a coach.
Check off your action every day. If you do it, you are winning that day. If you don't, it's just one day of a whole year, you can try again tomorrow.
So take our weight loss example again (because weight loss is what people ask me about most...). You could have a chart with 2 tick boxes, one for the extra exercise, and one for remembering to have protein with breakfast. Every day you tick them off if you remember them. Every tick is a win. Even if you miss some days your chart fills up with ticks. That makes you feel good.
You can't fail if you keep working at it. Every day is a fresh chance to get it right again.
Motivation doesn't come from a final, epic goal of great magnitude. In the moment, day by day, the idea of fitting into an ancient pair of jeans just isn't enough to keep you going. Those small wins are going to be what keeps you in the game. Keep at it until it becomes a habit, then it becomes easy.
Every couple of weeks check your progress. Are you getting closer? Is your plan working? Or does it need tweaking? Be a scientist, be fascinated with the process.
It's OK to change the plans up if it's not working. That's having a growth mindset. Be curious, keep trying, aim for consistency, but be prepared to try new ideas.
Looking for more ideas? Click here and sign up to my 7 day reset.