Every new year gives rise to self reflection and a plethora of resolutions. For many, the initial motivation and energy to achieve new year’s resolutions starts to deteriorate by week three. Quickly, local gyms become a little less crowded as fitness goals take a back seat to more pressing life priorities like family, kids or a busy job.
What happens to the inner fire to reach higher, be better and get healthier?
Making resolutions is an excellent first step but often resolutions lack the necessary follow through. There is a big distinction between an unplanned goal (wish) and a well-planned goal (action).
Further, new year’s resolutions have long carried a negative aura. They are often a symbol of reduction – or total elimination – of something fun.
The solution? Resolution dissolution. In other words, stop making resolutions.
Create a more positive mindset around your goals. Identify annual goals that aim to make your life more fulfilling and happy. Yes, health is a key component to a long and fulfilling life.
However, happiness does not start and end with health-related goals. Plan and take that trip you have always dreamed about. Call your relatives more often. Hike a new trail. Read a recommended book. Take a cooking class. Identify actionable things that you have a true desire to do.
Don’t just think about it. Write it down.
Your success rate increases exponentially when you write down your goals. Even better, share your goals with someone. Now you have increased accountability.
When you write down your goals, keep three things in mind:
- Set Measurable and Specific Goals. “Get Healthier” is a great goal but making it specific and measurable will allow you to track it and determine if you reached the goal. Maybe “healthier” to you means reaching the end of a specific hike or fitting into a certain dress size or getting off medication that is caused by your current weight. Be specific about what you want to accomplish.
- Set Realistic Goals. Be honest about what you can accomplish in a year, a month and each week. If you set too many goals, you run the risk of never reaching any one goal, no matter how easy one of them may be on its own. We all have lives to live. Goal setting and the journey toward them should be challenging – but not impossible.
- Monitor and Re-set Your Goals. Life happens. We cannot predict all challenges that slow our progress toward our goals. Set a date every quarter (or month) to measure your progress and update goals as needed.
Once you have identified your goals, answer one question.
Are you ready to make a change?
Whatever your goal, it will involve change in your lifestyle or routine. Never underestimate your ability – or inability – to change.
Review your goals again and answer the following questions.
- WHY do you want to reach this goal?
If your goal is not tightly tied to your fundamental life values, your chances of success are greatly reduced. For example, what does it mean to you to get healthier? Perhaps you want to be strong enough to keep up with your kids or be more financially secure by ending your dependence on expensive medication or live long enough to watch your grandchildren grow up. These are all reasons tied to undeniable life priorities. Review every goal and identify the reason you are and will be 100% invested in that goal.
- HOW will you reach this goal?
Plan each goal one step at a time. Getting healthier in the new year often results in too many workouts, in too little time and with too much intensity. This leads to injury and/or burnout and unfortunately failure. Healthy lifestyle changes begin with short, easy activities at a frequency that does not disrupt your entire life. It grows in frequency and intensity as you successfully reach each step.
The year is still young. January or not, it’s never too late to set a goal that will make your life happier and more fulfilling.