It’s a new year, a time to let go of the old and embrace the new. Many people decide to set goals or make resolutions. The gyms are packed the week after New Year’s Day. There is plenty of room by Valentine’s Day. Here are some tips to make this year the most successful one yet.
Brainstorm: write down anything that you would like to change or improve.
Rank the items and pick the most important three.
Decide if each goal is a process, making a long-term change like eating healthier, improving finances or working toward a degree. The other type of goal is an either/or. Smoking is a classic example: a person is a smoker or not. Most people can’t smoke occasionally.
Make a plan. For example, if a person wanted to run a marathon in a year and isn’t running now, the thought of running a marathon would be overwhelming. It would be easy to quit or not even start. A “SMART” goal is a practical way to turn a dream into a reality. SMART stands for Specific (running a marathon) Measurable (26.2 miles) Achievable (yes, with the proper conditions) Relevant (it is important to the person) Timed (one year). This would be broken into smaller goals like a 5K in three months, a 10K in six months, a half marathon in nine months. There are more details for using SMART goals, but this is the big picture.
Accountability is key. Telling another person about the goals and daily or weekly progress greatly increases the likelihood that a goal will be achieved. Meeting someone else at the gym is a powerful way to increase motivation. Put goal activities on a calendar, paper or virtual. It’s easier to ignore, forget or put off things that aren’t written down.
If something is taken away, replace it with something else. Substitute sparkling water for soft drinks. Use a calming breathing technique in place of smoking.
Think long-term. Any progress is better than waiting for things to be perfect. Practice self-acceptance. Eating a cookie or even many is not a reason to feel like a failure and give up on a healthy eating plan. It’s just one day in a process. Maybe it is a learning opportunity. Let it go and move on.
2020: a new year, a new decade, a new opportunity for a better life. FBN
By Don Berlyn