As the New Year rang in, thousands of Americans dedicated the night to a new “resolution.” On average, only 12% actually taste victory. So why do we continue to set these expectations for ourselves? How can we redefine these ambitious goals to not only be more achievable, but mentally and physically healthier for our body? Below are a few tips to help you bust through your goals and excel with confidence and clarity.
Small, manageable goals
Avoid the crash diets, self-help books, and excessive exercise plans. Instead, choose a more manageable goal that has tangible results. For instance, if you want to start exercising, start with making a goal to do so for thirty minutes a day just three times a week. Once you are able to consistently meet your goal for a few weeks, you can reassess your resolution and decide whether to add another day of exercise or perhaps back off on the intensity. You may want to try a few types of exercise before you make a plan. Research shows that if you enjoy the activity, you are more likely to stick with it!
Enjoy the process
Is it any wonder that we struggle with our weight when we see eating as a chore and exercise as a dreadful bore? The best fitness plan is one that causes the least interruption to your daily life. The goal isn’t to add stress to your life, but rather to remove it. The best of us couldn’t bring ourselves to do something we hate consistently, so make getting in shape fun. That could be participating in a sport you love, two, joining a group exercise class so you can keep yourself accountable, or giving yourself one “free day” per week where you forget about your training plan and exercise in new, low-key way. These same notions can apply to any resolution you create. Set your sights on what you want and choose a goal that allows you to pursue your passions.
Discipline versus restriction
Discipline derives from consistency and strength. When setting a new year’s resolution, our focus should be on targeting our goals with a healthy mindset. However, the most notable type of goal setting you will see over the holidays is based on a restriction mindset.
Restriction develops from deprivation and doubt. Specifically relating to your nutrition regimen, setting and hitting appropriate goals each day for months is discipline. Restriction, on the other hand, deprives you of basic needs and wants. It has the illusion of discipline without the passion or goal behind it. It is, instead, driven by fear, doubt, and insecurity. Unfortunately, restriction happens all too often when we try to tackle our resolution. Without loving ourselves and coming from a place of compassion, fear and frustration seep in. We lose sight of our objectives and end up restricting ourselves.
Be mindful of the goal you have set and take time each week to check in with yourself, asking, “how is this goal affecting my mood, thoughts, and feelings? Where is this goal derived from?” If you start to feel that your resolution has become more of a nightmare than an exciting new adventure, it may be time to reassess.
Ask yourself, “can I sustain this for five, or even ten, years?”
It is wise to look at the big picture when setting goals. Ask yourself reflective questions which can help guide and define your goals, allowing you to feel confident and increasing the chances you’ll hold yourself accountable. Here are a few questions you can ponder when setting a resolution:
- How will this resolution change me?
- Can I maintain this habit for the next three years?
- What other habits do I want to build off this one?
There’s nothing wrong with remaining in the same place for another year. However, if that’s not what you want, avoid the mistakes most make and make for yourself an achievable resolution with room for plenty of grace.