This isn’t an article about setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. We already know they need to be specific, measurable, achievable, and realistic and have a timeline to be effective. And if you don’t believe in resolutions, that’s totally okay. This time of year can be annoying for those of us who dislike the whole “New Year New You!!!” thing. Noted.
That said I’m going out on a limb and saying that 99% of us have areas of our lives we’d like to improve upon. Fact: setting goals is simply more effective than just wishing for some sort of change. If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. I’m pretty sure Einstein said that first. So, in the name of getting everything you want in 2015 here are some tips.
1) Know Your WHY
We know goal setting requires you to be specific. But don’t just say what you want; understand WHY you want it. A resolution must be either one of two things: exciting enough or scary enough for you to persevere in the face of challenges. If you’re not clear on your WHY, it just won’t happen. Your reason for persevering must be compelling.
Example of an excitement goal: you want to run your first marathon, look good at your high school reunion or overcome an injury so you can take a hiking trip with your kids.
Example of a fear goal: a health scare where the doctor has told you to lose weight or risk having a heart attack or getting type 2 diabetes.
Whatever your goal, make sure you really know your why! Bonus points for a long term why. A bride who wants a hot body just for her big day is more likely to gain weight back after the wedding since her WHY is over. A bride who wants to look and feel amazing on her big day, and forever after, well that’s powerful.
2) Watch Your Words
Here’s where we get a bit new-agey, but this stuff is proven to work. It’s called Neuro Linguistic Programming or NLP and it has been around for decades. NLP describes the relationship between mind (neuro) and language (linguistics) and how their interplay affects our body and behaviour (programming).
Saying to yourself “I want to lose weight”, leads your subconscious mind to focus on the word “weight” – the very thing you’re trying to avoid remains on your mind. Another example is saying “ I want to quit smoking” – the mind focuses on the negative, “smoking.” This is counterproductive. What you do? Turn it into a positive present tense statement. Trick your mind into thinking you’ve already accomplished your goal.
Flip it: I want to quit smoking à I want to have healthy lungs à I have clean healthy lungs
Flip it: I want to lose weight à I want to be fit à I am fit, healthy and strong
3) Change Your Breakfast, Change Your Life
Do you know how many health-boosting nutrients you can cram into a smoothie? Ever tried overnight oats? So easy. Experiment with different recipes to find what you like and put it in a traveler mug or Tupperware if you’re not hungry first thing in the morning. You will be by 11 am. Starting with a healthy first meal will set the tone both mentally and physically for the rest of the day and leave you much more likely to pass on the boardroom donuts or mid afternoon vending machine junk. You’ll also have improved energy to tackle all your other projects!
4) Stop judging yourself
This is a process, and it is not linear. If you fall off the wagon it’s not only ok, it’s totally normal. Everyone falls off the wagon. It’s about getting back on. When you judge yourself, you set yourself up for failure and a defeatist mindset that leaves you discouraged and thinking “what’s the point.” Believe that you CAN and WILL do this. Love yourself, be kind to yourself and have a sense of humour about the whole thing. You are not alone!
Remember WHY this is important to you. If it’s important enough, you’ll follow through. Choose your resolutions wisely! You can DOOOOO it! For reals.