New Year, new me! How many times have you said that when making New Year's Resolutions?
Have you made New Year’s resolutions that you don’t keep and then you feel like a failure?
Do you often try again the next year with the same resolution and still can’t keep it up?
One of the most common resolutions is following a healthier diet.
On a positive note, you are more likely to succeed by making the resolution than if you don’t make one.
One of the reasons for failure to sustain the resolution is because the goal is too broad. You need to be more specific and realistic. This should motivate you more to achieve your goal.
You need to start with a S.M.A.R.T goal.
A S.M.A.R.T. goal is defined by a set of steps to guide you. These steps each begin with a letter in the word S.M.A.R.T:
- S - Specific
- M - Measurable
- A - Attainable
- R - Relevant
- T – Time Bound
Just choose 1 goal. Too many main goals will overwhelm you. State your main goal as specifically as possible.
Instead of “I want to lose weight”, try “I want to lose 7lbs” or “I want to lose 4cms from my waist”
You could mark off on a calendar each day, which sub goals you have achieved. A visual view is always a boost, especially if it’s stuck on the fridge door.
Measuring your goals will help you see if you can improve them. Maybe you could even add to them, like creating new meals you’ve not cooked before, once you know what works for you and is leading you to your desired end result.
There’s nothing to stop you creating a short list of a few goals which will lead to the main goal:
Main goal = “I want to lose 7lbs”
Sub goal 1 = “I want to lose 7lbs by decreasing my meal portion sizes”
Sub goal 2 = “I want to lose 7lbs by walking at least 10,000 steps a day”
Sub goal 3 = “I want to lose 7lbs by trying new recipes with healthy substitutes.
Make sure that any sub goals will work towards the main goal.
All sub goals should be something you will enjoy and be motivated to consistently do. Don’t write them down, if they are something you would like to be able to do, but realistically think you will get tired of trying to do.
Don’t let others influence what your goals should be. It’s personal to you and you know what you will enjoy. You want to feel empowered so you can keep going.
Give yourself a deadline, but make it realistic for you. Don’t say:
“I want to lose 7lbs in a week”
“I want to lose 7lbs by eating smaller portions over the next 2 months”
You may achieve your goal in less time than you set. If so, that’s great, you can set another goal then, or just be happy you have succeeded within a timeframe that was right for you.
This will also help you have a more accurate view of your timeframe if you want to set the same goal again, but within the timeframe you’ve just achieved.
However, with something like our weight loss example, factor in things like holidays, celebrations and illness, which may not have been a part of your first time with your goal.
You can now complete this sentence:
e.g., “I will lose 7lbs by reducing portion sizes. I will know I am on the right path because I will be losing weight. I will give myself 2 months to achieve this.
Remember, once you know what works for you, be realistic. If you slip up, just start again as soon as you can. A goal should not be a punishment, it should fit in with your lifestyle and be your guide.
"I will [attainable goal] by [specific how]. I will know I am on the right path because [measure]. I will give myself [time] to achieve this."
Learn From Previous Failures
Don’t choose the same resolution as last year, if you failed. Maybe you need to re-word it and make it more specific.
The chances are your main goal last year was too vague and there was no structure for you to follow. We need structure to succeed.
If you have a friend or family member who wants the same goal, ask them to buddy up with you and you can be accountable to each other.
If you prefer to do it alone, talk to those close to you about it. Ask them to be supportive. Tell them how much it means to you to achieve your goal. Someone who loves you will want what’s best for you and be supportive. If they’re not, then find someone who is, such as a social media group who want the same thing.
When writing your goal down, also create a list of why this is important to you? List reasons why and outcomes you are aiming for. Keep this list with you and whenever you feel you lack motivation, look at it and remind yourself why you are doing it. We go to the fridge every day. Put it on the fridge door.
Learn from relapses
You are only human. Relapses will probably happen. The important thing is to think about why it’s happened.
Was it someone or something else affecting it? Was it self-doubt?
Recognise the problem. Tell yourself you are worth it. Don’t let anything stop you. Learn from it and move forward. You are then ready with a coping mechanism if it happens again.
Create a playlist
Create a playlist that will always motivate you when you feel you are drifting away from your goal.
Make it full of songs that lift you up or make you determined.
Play it loud (use headphones if necessary) and look at your written down goal again.
There are so many affirmations online. Do a search for ones related to your goal and say them out loud every day.
Deal with stress
Stress can be a major player when sabotaging goals.
Download a meditation app that you like and use it to just escape and calm yourself.
Recharge your batteries with a walk in the fresh air, or a day out somewhere fun.
Sticking to a New Year's resolution is like anything that's worth the result, you have to work at it. Hopefully, these suggestions can help you have a more structured approach to reaching your goal.