By Jen Gendron: Health & Wellness Coach
The New Year is quickly approaching and this is quite often a time when many people are setting resolutions for themselves for the coming year. It is a time we decide to take on great big changes feeling that “this year will be my year”. Unfortunately, more often than not, we end up falling off the wagon and giving up on our goals all too soon. So why does this happen?
There can be many reasons that we don’t follow through with our resolutions. Often times, we set goals for ourselves that are completely unrealistic, thinking we can make huge lifestyle changes over night and that this year, we will make them happen. Other times, we choose goals that would be doable if we had put the right supports in place however, we often decide to “go it alone” not sharing our intentions with anyone and just hoping for the best, not wanting anyone else to know what we are working on in case we don’t achieve it. Without the accountability of someone who can hold us to our plan, we often get off track as “life gets in the way”. So, what can you do this year to ensure you make the change or changes that you feel are important to you in 2019 and that you stick with them? Here are a few ways that you can set yourself up for success right from the start:
1. Set realistic goals – while your end goal may be something really big, make sure you are setting yourself up with smaller, realistic goals that will allow you to get there. For example, if your goal is to lose 50 lbs in 2019, start by setting a small, more easily attainable goal such as losing 10 lbs by the end of February. This way, you can feel successful right away, celebrate your win and then set the next goal for the future. We are all motivated by success so set yourself up to ensure it happens again and again! 2. Say it out loud – once you have set your goal, share it with someone (or everyone!) All to often, we set goals in our own mind but we don’t let anyone else know about them. If we fail, we are only letting ourselves down which makes it easier to take. By sharing your goal with friends, family members, your coach, anyone you feel comfortable with, you are that much more likely to stick with it. Not only do you have someone to lean on when you are struggling, you also have a cheerleader to encourage you throughout the process.
3. Understand your why – spend some time sitting with your thoughts and really meditate on WHY a particular goal is important to you. What will it mean to you when you achieve this goal? What will you be able to do that you are currently not able or what will you be able to stop doing that is interfering with your enjoyment of life? What will be different about you when you reach this goal? Journal about all of these things so you really get connected with your intention behind the resolution you have set and have a deep understanding of why it is important to you.
4. Reward yourself – how will you celebrate once you hit your goal? Who will you share it with? By setting yourself up with something that will reward your hard work, it will be easier to keep your “eye on the prize” throughout your journey. What is something that would allow you to celebrate yourself and all that you have accomplished? Decide now and include that with your journaling. Share it with your accountability person (or people) so that this becomes real as well and be sure to let them know when you have gotten there! We can all use a little more celebration in our lives – we love to celebrate others but when was the last time you celebrated YOU and the amazing person that you are? Maybe it is time!
5. Learn from the past – have you set yourself a similar goal in the past and failed to reach it? What got in the way? What lessons did you learn from the past attempts that could help you be more successful this time? Maybe you took on too much or failed to plan/prepare for the goal you had in mind. This time, you may need to break it down in to smaller more manageable steps. Spend some time thinking about what has gotten in your way in the past and planning for how you can ensure these roadblocks aren’t going to stand in your way again.
6. Be grateful – while you may not achieve perfection, every little positive change you can make is a step in the right direction. If you have a day where you get off track, don’t beat yourself up – continue to plan for how you can do better the next day and be grateful for how far you have come. Each day is a chance to do a little more and to continue to work towards your goal. You may not end up running a marathon but maybe, just maybe, you can walk it! Take each day as it comes and be grateful for each bit of progress made. As you reflect on the past year and think ahead to all that the New Year will bring, be kind to yourself, set goals that are realistic for you and set yourself up for success right from the start. You deserve all the best that the New Year will bring.