Want to achieve your 2017 goals? Yes, that’s right your goals, not resolutions!
There’s a difference between New Year’s Resolutions and goals. Goals imply that you are more committed to it. The word sounds stronger for some reason. But even still, many people go around thinking or talking about their goals, but they still don’t follow through.
So let’s talk about why it’s good to set goals and review some tips for sticking with them.
First, goals give you a map. Let’s say you wanted to take a road trip out to Orlando. Well, what would happen if you just hopped in your car without your GPS, a map, or the directions from Mapquest? Well, you’d probably wander aimlessly for quite a while…maybe forever. Having a plan will ensure that you actually get there. Otherwise it’s like saying “I really hope I get there someday. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t.” But with a goal, you are making more of a commitment – it’s like a contract between you and yourself. And it will help you hold yourself accountable. So here are some tips to keep in mind when you are setting your own goals:
1. Set SMART goals.
The most critical component of sticking to a resolution is setting it. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound. For instance, “I want to lose weight” is not a goal — “I want to lose 10 pounds by March” is more specific, measurable and incorporates a deadline.
2. Write down your goals.
This will force you to clarify what you want and motivate you to take action. A study from the Dominican University of California found that people who wrote down their goals, shared this information with a friend, and sent weekly updates to them were on average 33 percent more successful in accomplishing their stated goals than those who merely formulated goals on their own.
3. Take notes when you give in to an addictive behavior.
Try to maintain an open, non-judgmental attitude by being an insightful and attentive “witness” to your actions. This will help you identify your triggers so you will be more aware of the emotions attached to the behavior. A willingness to looking at the “why” behind your actions will provide insight and assist you in conquering the habit.
4. No goal can be met without motivation.
Take time to define why you want to lose weight, mend a relationship or cut down on alcohol. Write down your reasons for changing the habit or behavior, and then create recurring reminders in the form of notes — placed on the bathroom mirror, in your car, or on the fridge. Alternatively, you can create calendar events or a voicemail recording to remind you of why you want to initiate the change.
5. Block out time.
Lack of time can serve as a perpetual excuse for us all. In order to realistically set yourself up for success you have to determine how much time you will need to devote to attaining your goal and schedule it on your calendar each week so you aren’t tempted to double-book.
6. Know your weaknesses.
Identify your triggers. Try to determine what throws you off course. Does stress provoke you to have a drink or to smoke? Do you binge eat at lunch if you skip breakfast? Take a good look at your behavior and identify what causes you to slip up — then find ways to prevent self-sabotage.
7. Don’t do it alone.
Find someone you trust and ask them to support you through the process, making you more accountable.
8. Try mindful meditation and breathing techniques.
Meditation and becoming more mindful can help reveal why cravings and addictive behaviors arise and may allow you to make changes with more ease.
9. Reward yourself.
Celebrate your successes (with something that’s good for you) for sticking to your new, healthier behaviors.
10. Surround yourself with like-minded people.
Try to spend more time with those who share the same aspirations and long-term objectives. Seek out others who are intent on making positive changes in their own lives — and encourage you to do the same.
Change is never easy — especially changing old habits. It can be done, but only with proper planning and consistent follow-through. Good luck with all of your accomplishments… you can do it!