One of the biggest challenges facing your New Year’s resolutions is that they’re likely to be too challenging. Unrealistic goal setting sets you up to fail, which isn’t good for self esteem and can lead to stress and anxiety. However, carefully considered, achievable goals can make for a happy New Year and beyond.
It’s a widely accepted that goal setting, if done correctly, can lead to a more rewarding and focused lifestyle. And, ringing in the New Year traditionally prompts a whole series of lists and promises.
But, setting goals always insinuates two outcomes. Here are a six ways to make sure that this time round you come out on top.
Set Mini Goals To Achieve A Big One
Incremental goal setting is key. If you want to run a marathon, the first goal is a 5K. Foundations first. It seems obvious, but people always come unstuck when their goals are faraway endpoints.
Ask For What You Want
Nobody knows your needs like you do. Speaking up is the only guaranteed way to make sure people know what you want. The answer might still be ‘No’. But, at least that’s closure.
Don’t Make Weight Loss A Resolution
If you do you’ve lost already. Setting a goal weight against your pre holiday weigh-in is setting course for disaster. If you’re anything like my friends, you’ve definitely gained a few pounds before you begin, meaning your 5kg loss goal is probably more like 8kg. You’ll give up before you’re on an even keel.
Write It Down
“Next year, I will exercise more,” said everyone always. But saying and doing are two different things entirely. Rather write down your intentions, and then take it a step further by getting a professional to write down goals for you. Once you’ve spent money on a programme – be it eating, cycling, swimming or gym work – you’re more likely to stay the course. Having a goal also helps.
“This is the year I wash my car every weekend, walk the dog twice a day, buy fresh produce in the morning, drink less coffee, bake my own bread…” Woah, easy tiger. Putting all your chips on red might be a dubious casino strategy, but when it comes to resolutions less is more. “It takes too much attention and vigilance to make lots of changes and also decide it’s time to brush your teeth for the full two minutes and become better informed about world events,” says psychologist Ian Newby-Clark. Rather pick one significant change and go all in.
Almost everything bad for you is instantly gratifying. Real change, though, requires work and commitment. “It takes a week or more to start feeling the benefits of not eating flour or sugar or adopting a new fitness regimen or curbing the digital distractions in your life,” says legendary big wave surfer Laird Hamilton in Men’s Journal. “(In fact, you’ll probably feel worse before you feel better.) The key is not to give up just because you’re not seeing immediate changes. Eventually, though, the results become your motivation.”