New Year’s resolutions are a great way to make positive changes in your life, whether it’s going to the gym, waking up earlier, or saving money. However, people seldom follow through with those resolutions. In fact, US News and World Report projects that 80 percent of resolutions fail by February.
Remorse is the catalyst to your well-intentioned resolve to transform your life for the better. Take, for example, a common remorse factor: overeating during the holidays. As remorse sets in, you make a broad resolution. “I’m going to loses weight this year – no more desserts.” The truth of the matter is that you are on a path toward doom if your oh-so-noble goals are overreaching.
If you have difficulty sticking to your goals for the New Year, read on to pick up a couple of pointers on how to set and follow through with life goals. These apply to both professional and personal goals.
- Don’t bite off more than you can chew: the most common reason why people fail to complete their resolutions; their objectives are too broad to achieve.
- Small bites last longer: break down each goal and set up a realistic timeline.
Let’s apply these principles to the ‘I’m going to lose weight- no more desserts’ resolution.
- Change the goal to a more specific, achievable resolution, such as:
- I will add 10 minutes to my workouts.
- I will limit myself to 2 desserts/week.
- I will cut my carbs by 15%.
- Break the goals down into small bites. If right now, you go to the gym twice/week, add 5 minutes to your 1st time the first half of January, and then it to both times the second half of the month. In February add 5 minutes to the first time the first half of the month and then to both times the second half. You are now working out 10 minutes longer and most likely will continue your plan to bump up your workouts to three times/week!
If you are reducing desserts to twice a week, make a plan at the beginning of each week. Look at your calendar. Will you be attending any events – such as an office party – where you want dessert? Choose now to save one of your desserts for that event. By planning ahead, you won’t ‘waste’ your dessert by eating ice cream while you watch your favorite show and then ‘blow your resolution’ at the family, friends, or office get- together.
If cutting carbs was your resolution, begin by recording your current intake. Knowing where you stand now will enable you to set a new goal. If you want to reduce by 15%, plan on a 5% reduction in the first two weeks, and an additional 5% for the second two weeks and then another 5%. By February you will have reached your goal, and because you did it in small bites, you will be much more likely to continue the plan.
Things to Remember
- Set weekly and monthly goals.
- Keep a progress report and celebrate each accomplishment, no matter how small, rather than focusing on the result.
- Be patient and realize that reaching a goal takes time.
- If you stay with it, you will recondition your mind and reach your target.
The bottom line is – you can break the mold and be part of the 20 percent that follows through on their New Year’s resolutions. When you set out to conquer the world all at once, it will end in frustration and failure; however, if you take one thing at a time and slowly implement each step, you can accomplish all of your goals – and more!
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