It’s that time of year again when our televisions (and facebook newsfeeds) are flooded with new diets, that must-have exercise equipment, the latest weight loss programme all promising that this is the year! – This is the year when you lose that last 10 lbs, 50 or even 100 lbs; the year where you quit your job and start doing something you really enjoy; or vow to spend more time with family; or get more involved in your community; or any of the other million New Year’s resolutions.
I have always fallen prey to the allure of the freshness and newness of a year brimming with hope. Vowing to make this year the year. Every single year the same resolutions, the same promises all thrown out the door by the end of the first month. But not this year! This is the year!
This time around I’m determined to analyse and figure out what I have been doing wrong, what I need to do differently in order to not be here same time next year, vowing to make the same improvements in my life.
I stumbled on Steve Kamb‘s nerdfitness late last year, and at the most perfect time. I’m using his post on How NOT to Suck at Goal Setting as a guide. I also downloaded Scott Dinsmore’s Goal Setting and Action Workbook to help me identify and align my goals. Here’s what I’ve learnt that may help you in setting those goals and resolutions:
When setting goals be specific. Use definite and measurable words. e.g. “lose 20 lbs” instead of “lose weight”.
Have a deadline
Be time-specific by having a deadline by which you accomplish your goals. This keeps you accountable, helps you track your progress, and lets you know if you need to step things up in order to reach your deadline.
Fragment your goal
Have one broad goal which you break down into measurable activities that would help you attain the goal. So for instance you want to lose 20 lbs – that’s your broad goal, and your activities may be exercising 5 days a week, or trying out a new sport, or going on a hike each week. These activities will help you attain your goal of losing 20lbs. Focusing on these much smaller goals will keep you from becoming overwhelmed by your broad goal. It sharpens your focus to things you are able to accomplish in the short run, all while still working towards your long term goal. Remember to make these short term goals measurable and time specific as well. I had come across an image of a change pyramid where monthly goals were broken down by week and then daily, sadly I never saved it, but our paths will cross again and I will definitely share it here!
Display goals in an area where you can see and be reminded of them daily.
Learn and grow
If something is not working do not keep repeating it hoping things would be different next time around. Instead try to figure out why it’s not working and try a different approach or something new. The next point will keep you from repeating things that just aren’t working.
Track your progress
This point highlights just how important it is to ensure your goals are measurable. Measurable goals are trackable goals. Tracking your progress will help you identify whether you are being successful, whether you’re moving in the right direction, and will also help you identify whether there are things you need to change or do differently.
Be flexible with your goals. Know that goals like most things in life can change. You may want to lose 100 lbs by the end of the year, but with learning about health and nutrition you may realise that this might not be the healthiest goal for you. Proper nutrition becomes more important as opposed to just losing weight, and so your goals change. That’s normal and that’s okay. Change your goals as you see fit, but don’t change them to the point where you’re no longer challenging yourself.
Identify your reasons
What is the reason behind your choice of goals? Identifying, highlighting and reminding yourself of your reasons may be beneficial when the going gets tough. Keep these (along with your goals) in a place where they are visible.
Sharing your goals with others helps keep you accountable to more than just yourself, and opens you up to receiving help, motivation and advice when you need it.
It may be almost a whole month into the New Year but these tips are helpful all year long. Maybe you’ve already fallen off the wagon, and that’s okay, get right back on. Or maybe like me you’re just starting out. Here’s to a productive year. Let this be the year!