With the hustle and bustle of the holidays–and hopefully a touch of much needed R&R mixed in as well–it’s time to focus on getting back in shape again…or still, depending on where you’re at. After the craziness that December tends to be, the New Year often turns into a time for resolutions because the opening of a new calendar feels much like a clean slate and a chance for new opportunities.
But as you probably already know, not many people are great at sticking to their resolutions. The problem is two-fold. On one side, there is just so much you hope to accomplish and improve upon, that you quickly go from feeling inspired to overwhelmed–and being overwhelmed makes it a safe bet that not much is going to change for the long run.
On the other side, the resolutions that people make are often so lofty that they don’t know when they’ve achieved them. Take the common resolution of “lose weight.” Seems simple enough, but when you break it down, the result is a lot of questions and not the game plan you actually need. “How much weight do you want to lose?” “Why do you want to lose the weight?” “How will you lose it?” “How will you keep it off?” See? It’s like the proverbial dangling carrot that you can never grab. Eventually you stop the chase, and that’s when resolutions feel like a waste of time.
Get Better Goals
Rewriting your resolutions is all about getting very specific, because a vague goal is the same as a hard-to-achieve goal. By being more detailed, you not only better identify the “finish line” but at the same time create a plan to get there within the goal itself. Here are some examples:
Instead of: Eat better.
Try: Swap out potato chips as a lunch side and opt for cottage cheese, carrot sticks and hummus, or a small salad.
Instead of: Drink more water.
Try: Replace one soda a day with one glass of water or unsweetened iced tea.
Instead of: Exercise more.
Try: Sign up for and attend ten Saturday yoga classes with my spouse or friend. (After all, having a partner can help you to stick with it.)
Instead of: Lose weight.
Try: Strength train twice a week and go for a one-hour walk twice a week to lower to the next dress size in one month.
See how it works? A general resolution isn’t a bad thing, because you’re capturing the big picture. But if you don’t set up the steps to get you where you want to be, the big picture will always feel out of reach. And don’t forget that you’re going to need more goals as you go. As the smaller steps are reached, add new milestones.
Is your goal already pretty specific? If so, see if there is anything else you can do to rewrite it to break it down even smaller. They’re easier to achieve, and when you achieve something–no matter how small it is–your confidence gets a boost. And that’s a good thing!
What are your rewritten resolutions? Share them in the comments section.