The media is awash with diets, exercise plans and promises of a “new year, new you”. Social media is saturated with adverts telling you how to achieve your goals, get your dream life and look like a supermodel (they aren’t all like me!).
I am not a fan of any of this and there is a reason why – resolutions fail, most people give up in mid-January or by the end if they have strong willpower. And then they feel worse. Some of us manage to give up booze for January only to have a wine induced slumber most evenings in February. I am not the only one to bemoan the January rush at the gym and not being able to get into classes and then in February being the only person there!
There are many reasons why resolutions don’t work but rather than focus on that, let’s focus on what you can do to make changes that are sustainable in 2018. Things that you really want to achieve.
- Take some time to think about what you want to have achieved in a years time – what would you like to change about your life? It might be your health, business or relationship. Make sure it meets the three Ps.
- Have a look at what you have written and explain WHY this is important to you – make this goal personal, for example, ‘I want to be healthier because I want to have more energy to play with my kids’ (and ultimately be around for longer).
- Now, look at the language – our unconscious can’t distinguish between positive and negative so, if we say “I am not going to have any chocolate” all we think about is chocolate and before we know it we have eaten a mars bar. Instead, frame it in the positive – for example, “I will have healthy snacks”.
Your goal is now Personal and Positive. The final ‘P’ is Present tense.
- Write down your goal as if you have achieved it – for example, “I am eating healthy snacks”.
- Write down the new variation of your goal / goals and share it with at least one person (when we share our goals we are more likely to achieve them).
So, how else can you make sure it is successful? If you spend a couple of minutes every day imagining you have achieved it – what are you seeing / thinking / feeling / doing? – you are more likely to get there.
- When you have your big goal, break it down into manageable chunks or milestones and work backwards. For example, to hit x income goal by December 2018 what needs to be in place the month before? In August? In March? In January? I am a huge fan of 90 day plans – break down your year into chunks of 4 months and focus on 1 or 2 priorities that directly lead into the goal for each 90 days.
You plan 90 days at a time so if your goal changes or things happen along the way you have the flexibility to adapt. It is also a good chunk of time to embed change (research at UCL states it takes 66 days to form a habit) and to evaluate how successful it is.
By breaking down our goals we are making them more realistic. I know I used to resolve to run every day at 6am for the whole of January throughout my 20s (I think I managed it once) and always failed – why? Because I had never run at 6am in the months before and my lifestyle meant I wasn’t in bed until 11 at the earliest most nights. I was setting myself a task that was so far away from my reality that I was doomed to fail.
An alternative would be to commit to 5 minutes of exercise when I woke up every morning (which I did earlier this year) which would then grow as I was able to create momentum and increase gradually. When the difference between where you currently are and where you want to be is huge take small steps – you are much more likely to do it.
Whatever area of your life your goals are in, make them a priority and take small steps every day and celebrate them. Record your daily successes (even if they are tiny) and this will help keep you making progress.
The final recommendation I have is to be prepared to fail – change is hard and as humans we tend to fall back into old patterns of behaviour in times of stress and turbulence. If this means a day or a week which isn’t working on your goal – don’t beat yourself up, start again as soon as you can.
By creating goals that are personal to you and aligned to what is important in your life, sharing them to create accountability and taking steps every day to get there, you are much more likely to achieve them.
Written by Ruth Kudzi, Success Coach for the #MGFBlogSquad
Ruth has a PGCERT in Coaching, MA in Psychology & BA in Management & Psychology. She has numerous additional coaching qualifications and is an ICF member. She is a blogger, speaker, teacher and coach who is passionate about empowering women to start their own businesses and develop their confidence.
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