No doubt, come Jan 2018 many people will have written a long list of things they vow to change about their lifestyle. I don't know about you, but I have a list of goals which I want to achieve in 2018 and I hope to help as many of you achieve yours as well if it's within my power to do so.
New Year’s resolutions usually fall under the following categories:
- Weight loss
- Personal development
- Health and diet
- Stress management
- Focusing on personal relationships
Fast forward 6 months later, 60% will have completely forgotten all about their resolutions.
But carrying out your resolutions is achievable. Below are some top 5 tips.
Define your Motivation
There are 2 types of motivation:
- Intrinsic - this means your motivation comes from inside. For example, you prefer jogging, going to the gym, or shopping by yourself because you like how you feel afterwards.
- Extrinsic - you’re pushed forward by actions outside your personal scope. In other words, you prefer working out with your friends, and work harder when there’s a reward system in place. If you make a promise to yourself, you might be likely to not see it through. However, if you make a promise to someone else..say your love ones, say your spouse or children, then you're much more likely to keep it. SO MAKE A PROMISE TO A LOVE ONE.
Once you figure out your motivation type is, then all you have to do is put yourself in situations that make you more excited to accomplish even more.
Actions speak louder than results
Deciding on a goal for the New Year is always easier said than done. However, it’s the steps you take to reach that goal that’s the tricky part. If you want to stick to your resolutions, it’s wise to break each step down into smaller goals, if possible, to make them more manageable.
In addition, each time you achieve one, reward yourself and feel proud of what you’ve accomplished. Positive reinforcement is crucial to help guide you as you push toward your goal and commit to your responsibilities. This is one of the key living principles of Japanese people as written in the International best seller 'IKIGAI'. I am reading this book over New Year and I highly recommend you do too, if you want to know the secrets as to why Japanese people are one of the healthiest in the world.
One way to keep everything in check is to make sure your actions are SMART:
- Specific. Having a specific end result prevents you from making excuses.
- Measurable. Evaluating your progress will give your motivation a boost.
- Achievable. You can set daily goals as a building block to bigger goals.
- Relevant. Otherwise, if it’s not relevant, why bother?
- Time-bound. Goals need to have a defined end date.
Be Honest with yourself
The more realistic your resolutions, the more likely you’ll see them through. If your goal for the New Year is to exercise more, then start small. Instead of planning a 5-day workout week, go for 20 minutes a day then increase gradually or do some basic workout at home using functional fitness videos you can get free online.
You’ll find that, as with all goals, as soon as you start seeing what you’ve accomplished, you’ll be pumped to do even more. However, it’s crucial that you stay away from the “all-or-nothing” approach. Doing something, even if it’s a small piece of what you’d originally planned, is much better and more productive than doing nothing at all.
Moreover, it’s equally important to not have too many resolutions up in the air at once. Make a list, prioritize them, focus on one at a time and go from there. Once you feel the first one’s in the bag, go for the second, and so on. Focusing on one goal at a time will channel your energy and efforts there, helping you reach your target faster.
Think things through
Having a positive mindset is key when progressing towards your goals, but let’s be honest; every plan is bound for failure if you’re not careful. Be smart and anticipate these obstacles so that when they do appear, you’ll be prepared.
For example, if you get bored when you exercise, choose upbeat workout music that’ll get you revved up. Or you can workout at home (e.g. rebounding) as you catch up on your favourite TV shows. If your motivation method is extrinsic, go to the gym with a friend. The idea is to nip it in the bud before it becomes stronger than your willpower so that you can surmount any obstacle that comes between you and your goal.
Be accountable for your actions
Accountability means you’re taking responsibility for the choices you’re making. This may seem easy to do at work when you have a deadline and a boss reinforcing it. It may not seem as easy when you’re home alone and skip out on cooking a healthy meal, and order take-out instead.
You can enlist the help of a friend or join a support group where you’d know that you made a certain commitment to someone, if it’s simply sending a photo of your home-cooked meal on social media.or, you can hang a calendar on your wall with progress notes so you can keep tabs on how far you’ve gotten and what still lies ahead. Have a mentor or a coach who you can be accountable to possibly even on a weekly basis through a simple text or email. I must admit when I read an email from my client who tells me they're doing well and lost 1 stone in a month, I am so excited and I cheer them on even more !
Something really important I learnt a while back and teach my kids is DELAYED GRATIFICATION. Even if you're chipping away during the year towards your goal, it may take you weeks months or even a year to get there but the journey is equally important. So it's better you spend time to do the job well and achieve solid results than to rush through it.
Keeping your New Year’s resolution can seem scary at first. However, with these 5 steps, you can do anything you put your mind to. Moreover, once you accomplish your first resolution, you’ll find that it’s not only beneficial, it’s fun as well! Keep me posted.