Why do we make New Year’s resolutions? What’s the purpose? Did you even bother making any resolutions, or did you refrain due to the associated pressure and oft resulting disappointment from trying to follow said resolutions and failing?
We make resolutions because we want to move forward; we want to improve ourselves, our lives. And what I’ve realized about resolutions is that the degree of success in accomplishing those resolutions is directly related to one’s level of commitment to them. If your resolution is a priority and one you’re absolutely committed to, I’m willing to say you’ll probably stick with it.
That doesn’t mean achieving your goal will be easy. I, for one, am open to helpful suggestions and motivational tips to keep me focused on my goal!
Therefore, if you’re one who is determined to follow your resolutions this year, here are a handful of my suggestions to help you stick with your goals. Use them, leave them, or add your own ideas.
Write it down!
You’re more apt to achieve a goal if you write it down, especially in a place where you can view it often, such as a daily planner or stuck to the refrigerator or bathroom mirror.
Also, write down WHY you want/need to meet your goal. I’ll use exercise/weight loss in my example (as weight loss is a top new year’s resolution).
Make it a SMART goal.
Your goal(s) for 2008 should be:
- Specific – “I’m going to exercise more” is too general. Make your goal very specific. Write out your long term goal and the short term goals to meet along the way.
- Measurable – Obtaining your goal should be measurable in numeric terms, i.e. lost 5% body fat, exercise for 30 minutes 5 times a week, run a 7-minute mile, etc…
- Attainable – Make sure you should have the means and motivation to achieve your goal.
- Realistic – Aim high, but not to the point where you can’t reach them.
- Timely – put a time frame on when you want your goal to be achieved.
Track your progress
Keep a journal of what you eat, your calories, your emotions, your exercises, your weight, etc. Free online journals exist too, such as Fit Day. View your progress from time to time to get motivated as well as learn about you.
Keep yourself accountable
Enlisted a trusted family member or friend to check up on you, or better yet, workout with you.
Join or form a group with those who have similar goals as you. Meet regularly to encourage and motivate.
Create an official looking “Commitment Form.” Write your goal on it and sign and date it. Put a special seal or stamp on it to make it even more official – whatever you have to do!
I’m in favor of positive reinforcement. Reward yourself as you achieve your short term goals, or whatever milestones you set for yourself, such as exercising 3 times a week for 30 minutes for 30 days, or dropping a dress size in 2 months.
Reward yourself with a massage, new workout shoes, a day off work to sleep in and taking a bubble bath, a new movie or book, tickets to a concert, a new piece of exercise equipment, etc… Try to keep the reward something other than food!
Here’s an interesting idea: Put a predetermined amount of money in a jar or some sort of piggy bank every time you do something towards meeting your goal, i.e. 1 dollar every time you exercise for 30 minutes. See how much money you “earned” whenever you meet a short term goal and feel free to use it how you like. Better yet, if you have the patience, wait until the end of 2008 to tally the amount! Invest it or spend it on something that is important to you.
These are just some of the ideas I personally find helpful. I’d love to hear what you do to stay on track and meet your goals!