New year, who this? Oop! Still me. The reality is, you’re still the same person you left last year in. But that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be! Call a goal a “New Year’s Resolution” and you’re pretty well setting it up to fail right from the beginning. Though a world-renowned notion and big part of many cultures, these sweeping declarations are often too far-fetched and unrealistic – making it extremely difficult to turn them to reality. However, taking charge of your habits and goals is a very important part of personal growth. So, how can you create achievable and realistic goals to kick off the new year, and keep them as habits for life?
- Keep your resolutions MANAGABLE
Let’s get one thing straight, the magnitude of the change isn’t what matters the most. We need to understand that true lifestyle improvement is consistently taking small steps toward important and achievable intentions. Work smarter not harder, right? Big goals require a realistic and manageable plan tethered to them. So, let’s focus on creating trackable habits that mean something to you – set yourself up for success from the very start.
- Conjure a realistic plan that is completely doable
“Slow and steady wins the race” couldn’t be more true when it comes to getting from where you are to where you want to be. We want to see results and we want to see them NOW. So, our brains naturally gravitate toward the “quick fix” options. Those diets and exercise programs that swear you will drop 5kg in a ridiculously small amount of time (NOT healthy btw), never really work in the long run. A sustainable approach looks more like: “what can I do today to get me a little bit closer to my end goal?”. Small actions over an extended period of time always beats large actions taken only for a week!
- Build on your current momentum!
Rather than conjuring new behaviours all together, why not start by building on the good ones we already do? If you incorporate veggies in your dinner each night, props to you! You could then focus on adding just one more serving for some extra nutrients. Or if you eat rice, bread, pasta etc – try substituting white for brown, your gut will love you for it!
- Keep track of (and reward) your progress
This helps to stay fully committed to your goals and allows you to acknowledge and celebrate even the small wins! So…making time to eat a healthy breakfast or going for that run – how can you track that? You could set your alarm half an hour earlier to allow more time for cooking. Or you could run with a friend for some accountability! In whatever form suits you…just a daily reminder of what you’re doing and working towards.
- Make sure you have the capacity for your goals
Don’t expect to upkeep new behaviours if your time, schedule, and routine simply does not allow for this. Say for example, if you are unable to start kicking goals January 1st due to still indulging in those silly season leftovers (I mean – it would be rude not to), plan for when you can start – this is still a beginning to build on behaviours! Accept that sometimes, life gets in the way. This is totally normal and to be expected. Be kind to yourself, remember where you want to be and why you made this goal in the first place, and focus your energies back toward that when you can!