It's also the time of year we start making new goals and resolutions. Unfortunately, some of us (myself included) set goals that might be unrealistic, unmanageable or just don't mean anything to us. Don't get me wrong, goals are necessary to make changes in your life. You need to have that big picture in mind and it's healthy to step out of your comfort zone. But first, your goal needs to be something that is important to you. Make sure you ask yourself why you want to reach that goal. Next, you need to have a realistic strategy for achieving that goal.
A great way to start is to break down your goals into the smallest, bite size pieces. While the big picture is in mind, it's focusing on the small steps to get you there. Rather than calling it a "goal" or a "resolution", think of those small steps as just making a change. Because the reality is, in order to reach that goal, changes will need to be made.
At our gym there's a big white board that stays up for the year. You can voluntarily put your name on it and list 3 goals you have (specific to fitness). For some people, this works as a motivator. And I was hoping that by putting it out there for my gym world to see, it would be my motivator. I do want to get better at those things and I want to be proud of my accomplishments but based on my past behavior, I tend to have a high failure rate when it comes to making public proclamations like this! However, I still thought, "I'll try it..maybe if I SEE it every time I'm in the gym, I will achieve it."
What do you think happened? Here we are, at the end of the year and I did not meet any of the goals. Not a surprise, but seeing it up there did not make it happen. In fact, every time I saw them up there, I was dissapointed in myself because I wasn't doing anything to reach them. Then I started worrying that other people saw them up there and would be dissapointed that I wasn't working on them. Which then perpetuated the cycle of feeling like I failed!
Looking back, I was doomed from the start. My original goals were not believable, FOR ME. Were they achievable? YES! But without believing in them or having a plan for getting there, I most likely said what I thought I should say, or what I wanted to believe rather than what was realistic or important to me. I wanted to believe that by publicly putting it out there, I would be motivated to do it . But my previous patterns and my personality said otherwise. I realized that my enjoyment and success at the gym is measured by other things (the community, how hard I push myself in classes etc), maybe not the things I put on the board. While I want to get better at those things, I wasn't totally committed to them. Setting goals are individual, based on your own patterns, lifestyle and desire. So be honest and realistic about what you are willing to do or change!
For example, if your goal is to "get healthy" but you haven't exercised since 1987, then telling yourself you're going to join a gym and go 5 days a week might be unrealistic. Try starting with walking in your neighborhood one day a week. If you're successful, build up to two, then 3, etc.
Allow yourself the opportunity to celebrate your success, no matter how small, and then with that momentum, build up to the next change.
If your goal is to loose weight, try changing just one or two things in your diet or habits rather than going on a complete cleanse/overhaul. Start with one meal and make one change or adjustment. Add in an extra vegetable and try half your regular portion of rice. Then do it the following week, twice. See where I'm going with this?
But most important, you need to believe in the goal and be committed to making those small changes.
Take a look at this SMART goals worksheet for guidance.
Think of it as your personal whiteboard. Happy changes!