The New Year brings with it excitement, renewed energy and optimism for what we can BE and DO in the coming year. It invites us to reflect on how we are living and how we want to “do better” moving forward to enhance our overall life. This process IS important.  

Many of us will make New Year’s Resolutions as an avenue for change. I used to set New Year’s resolutions all of the time.  They would go something like this…. I will ALWAYS do this or… I will NEVER do that.  And, why don’t I just jump in 100% from day #1 while I’m at it! And, by the time the end of January would roll around, I’d almost certainly have fallen off of every single resolution I made.  

But why?  

Because committing to an aggressive plan or a new lifestyle, with the mindset of ALWAYS doing something or NEVER doing something isn’t realistic. We are humans and life is full of obstacles. We simply need more flexibility and time to develop habits to shift our lives in more dramatic ways long-term.

Let’s check some statistics, which I found from www.statisticbrain.com:

  • 72.6% of Americans maintained their resolutions through the first WEEK
  • 58.4% of Americans stuck to their resolutions past one month
  • And just 9.2% of Americans actually followed through with their resolutions

Thankfully, there is a better way to approach our goals in 2018. Rather than creating resolutions, how about we set intentions and “end of year” goals. Instead of starting 100% out the gate, what can we focus on or build towards over the course of the year. We don’t have to go “cold turkey” or “create Rome in one day”. Let’s start with small, simple changes until those feel natural and doable.

6 Mistakes We Make When Goal Setting

Before you begin your goal setting, get familiar with 6 mistakes we often make when setting goals.

  1. We Make Our Goals Too Big. I’m all for big goals that push us but, we want to be careful they aren’t unrealistic. If a goal is too big, broad or intense, or too far away from where we are now, we will struggle to make any change. That can leave us feeling defeated. Instead, we can break a big goal down into more doable goals first. Focus on small steps, building consistency with those and then move on to another step in the process. Work towards that bigger goal over a longer period of time.
  2. We Choose Too Many Goals. When we take on too many goals at once we can lose steam pretty quickly just as soon as the excitement wears off. Instead, choose 1-3 goals at a time and focus on the most important areas of improvement. Narrowing in on fewer goals helps us stay focused and fewer goals are easier to digest vs. shocking our system with too much change at once.
  3. We Focus On Outer Attainment. We create goals that are in response to outer achievement or someone else’s expectations of us rather than what makes our heart sing. Ask yourself how your list of goals makes you feel when you read through them? Do you feel energized and excited at the thought of both the achievement of the goal and process of going after it? Or, do you feel a sense of dread? Make sure you focus on your desires first and foremost!
  4. We Fail To Set Up A Supportive Environment. We fail to plan, prepare and create an environment to support our success and we rely on willpower or brute strength. Instead, write a plan and create an environment around your goals that increases the likelihood of accomplishing them. For example, if your goal is to reduce your sugar intake, then don’t buy or leave a bunch of sugary foods lying around your house to tempt you. Keep your home sugar-free and treat yourself when out at a special event or dinner. Remember, if it’s not available when a craving strikes, you can’t eat it!
  5. We Don’t Revisit Our Goals. To be successful with any goal we’ll need to reconnect and be mindful of those goals throughout the year. Plan a specific day each week to revisit your goals, the strategies you’ve implemented to achieve them and to assess how things went. Be willing to try new strategies until you find what works for you. And always allow yourself a little grace when things don’t go as planned.
  6. We Expect Perfection. If we want to maintain consistent progress towards our goals, we shouldn’t expect to be perfect when it comes to following our plan.  This expectation can leave you feeling defeated since you are unlikely to hit your plan perfectly. Good news though! It doesn’t take perfection to achieve a goal. Research has shown that people can attain their goal if they stay on plan 85% of the time. Whew! We can be human and still reach our goals!

Goal Planning Action Steps

Here are some action steps you can take to help you build and attain your 2018 goals:

  1. Set aside 30 minutes to journal about your vision for your life. Include health, work, family, relationship, community and other items you would like to have part of your life.  Write down things like: How your daily routine looks, what type of work you are doing, what your time looks like with your spouse and kids, what vacations you would go on, what your monthly income looks like, etc. 
  2.  Write a list of goals and projects for the year (work and/or personal) that will get you closer to the vision you have written about in your journal.
  3.  Pick 3 of these items to focus on in your first 3 month period.  A health goal might be to lose 10 pounds or eat more fruits and veggies.  
  4.  Then you are going to list the actions items to help get you there. So if you wanted to lose 10 pounds your action items might be: (Note: You won’t start all of these at once. Instead you’ll pick 1 or 2 and get those down. Then incorporate another and another.)
    • Exercise 3 days per week (Give my “5 Move Makeovers” a try!)
    • Get to bed by 10 pm (because sleep actually helps your metabolism and keeps you from craving foods due to low energy).
    • Drink 64 oz of water per day.
    • Reduce alcohol to 2 glasses per week.
    • Eat a balanced breakfast 6 days per week.
    • Weigh in or try on the same pair of pants on Sunday mornings.
  5. Pick one day of the week where you will reflect on your goals, activity, obstacles, failures and results. Determine what actions were useful and what strategies need tweaking. No matter what, don’t stop following your plan until you get to the end of the quarter and can reassess where you want to go next.
  6. Most Importantly, find an accountability partner or group to help you see your goals through.  Tell someone close to you about your goals and ask them for their support.  Better yet, have them join you if they have a similar goal!

 

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Heather Glenn is a Healthy Living Strategist who is certified in Holistic Health and Nutrition, Behavior Change and Fitness Programming. Heather is the CEO of Thrive With Heather and the Co-Founder of the Fit Republic Coaching Team. Heather is passionate about helping busy women implement fitness, nutrition and lifestyle practices that give them the energy, mental clarity and confidence to create a thriving and fulfilling life. You can learn more about Heather and her programs at www.heatherglenn.com.

You can also connect with Heather on her Facebook health page: www.facebook.com/heatherglenn and in her new private community,

Healthy Women Who Thrive: www.facebook.com/groups/HealthyWomenWhoThrive.