New year’s resolutions
It’s great to start the year turning a new leaf, ending some bad habits or starting a new one. We can make resolutions every year even though we know how bad we can feel when we fail.
But in actual fact it’s not all about will power. Like most of us you may have been setting yourself up for failure from the start by setting unachievable goals.
Well no more! The good news is just because you didn’t achieve your goals before doesn’t mean you won’t be able to this time. There are some common pitfalls many of us fall into when making new year’s resolutions.
Whatever your resolution, making it into a goal is the best way to get there. Goals keep you focussed, motivated, and increase the chances of you getting what you want.
Wanting “to be Fitter” sounds easy-ish but with no endpoint and no way to measure it, it would be easy to tell yourself you have failed. Instead try to think of the things that would make you fitter like going for a walk three times a week or joining your local football team. These things are much easier to measure and to track your progress.
Sub-goals are the steps you need to take along the way to achieve your main goal. They help you plan and breaking things down into manageable sub-goals can stop you feeling like the task is too overwhelming.
Think about exactly what you’d like to achieve and write it down. Be sure to give yourself a deadline to help you stay focussed. Make sure your timeline is realistic. There is no way you can go from couch potato to running a marathon in a week, sorry.
Write it down
Writing down your goal and keep it where you can see it will help you stay motivated. Try writing it in your diary or stick it on your bedroom wall.
Having unrealistically high expectations increases your chances of failure. This will lower your enthusiasm, cause you anxiety all of which will not help you achieve your goal. Try to be nice to yourself. Achieving a smaller goal is better then being unrealistic, failing and giving up. Make researching your goal your first sub-goal.
In spite of good intentions, sometimes obstacles get in the way. These could be practical problems like lack of time or money. Try to anticipate any obstacles likely to arise and plan out how you’ll deal with them.
Focus on rewards
We feel more motivated when we think about the rewards of our hard work. Write down all the benefits you hope to gain by achieving your goal to motivate yourself.
Messing up is part of the process
Don’t beat yourself up if you miss one training session or eat one cookie. Tomorrow is another day. Congratulate yourself for trying and think of how far you have come.
Read more about how relapse is a normal part of changing any behaviourand goal setting.