By Nicole Klett
Most people have not kept up with the lofty promises they made to themselves with the mantra of New Year, New You. Why is that? Usually because when we make resolutions, we skip right to the big change but neglect to reflect on why the change is desired in the first place. Not to mention, we tend to Go Big or Go Home with our goals. Here’s how to set a goal you can keep.
First and foremost, get into the nitty gritty about why you want to make a change. If you want to lose weight, why? Is it really to fit into a bikini for the cruise that you’ve got booked in the spring? Sure, looking good in your bathing suit will feel good but what about feeling better about yourself overall?
Losing weight can help with your self esteem, your heart health and your stamina in addition to your appearance. Imagine how you will feel beyond the superficial and dive deeper into how good it will feel (and what it will look like) for you to reach your goal. Envisioning reaching a goal is a technique that Olympic athletes use. You can use a vision board, journal words and phrases or even share in a conversation with a friend.
Get really specific to stay on track with a goal. Saying “I’m going to lose weight in 2022” is not as tangible as “I’m going to go down two dress sizes, be able to run a 5k or bring my blood pressure down to normal” (all achievable through weight loss).
Being able to quantify your goal not only helps with achieving it, but also with knowing where you are along the way. Going back to the example of just saying you’re going to lose weight versus going down 2 dress sizes. When your dress fits a little looser or when you have to buy a dress 1 size down, you can see the progress.
Pick a goal that you can have some control over. If you’re interested in getting more fit, choose a goal that makes sense for you. If you don’t have the finances to join a gym, then saying you’ll be going to the gym everyday won’t work. Instead, committing to a taking a brisk walk twice a week in the park (and on rainy days, sub in a dance party in the living room instead) is something that might fit your budget and schedule better.
This is one of the places where goals go soooo wrong. Sure the new year gives you optimism and hope but that needs to be hampered by some realism too. Start from where you are. Never been a runner before? Instead of running a marathon, start with a 5k. Never cooked before but want to change to healthier eating? Start with a few new recipes a week before throwing out all the food in the pantry and buying a fancy smoothie maker.
Maybe the most important of all in the goal department, having a deadline. But not to stress you out. Just to give incentive. Pick a sweet spot for the change to occur. Three weeks is too soon to have completely mastered a new habit. Three years maybe too long and leaves room for procrastination.
‘Three to six months is a good place to start and if you reach the goal before then, you know how to set a new one!’
The above method is a SMART goal technique that can be customised to the individual goal in mind. Your goal should look something like this: I will run a 5K by my birthday by running three times a week for about 10 minutes at a time. Then go for it and build on!
And if you don’t reach your goal or stumble along the way, don’t give up. Make sure you’re in the right headspace to be making a change in the first place. Just because a new year rolls around doesn’t mean it’s the right time for you.
Also, goals do not have to be all or nothing. Pause. Look at the progress you’ve made (even if it was just getting a goal in mind in the first place). Review what got in the way of your goal. Brainstorm how to over come it and start again!