2012 is here and many people have enthusiastically set goals to change habits. Unfortunately many resolutions, although made with good intentions, may not progress past the first week. Previously I have made resolutions to do radical detoxes after too much indulgence in food at Christmas and by January 2nd my plan has typically come to an abrupt halt when I’ve realized I’m starving. Weight loss is one of the most common resolutions that people make at the start of the year. So how can we make sure that the resolution sticks and does not fall by the wayside?
Here are a few ideas that might help you obtain your goals:
Is the goal realistic? Ask yourself if the resolution you are making is realistic for your lifestyle and current life circumstances? If weight loss is the goal, and dieting is the solution, consider the fact that mainstream dieting to lose weight generally doesn’t work. Chasing the carrot to an elusive goal weight can sometimes end up in more frustration, guilt and a sense of failure. A simple goal to improve health such as drinking more water, or eating more fruits and vegetable, is much easier to follow through with than a diet.
Plan and prepare yourself for what changes need to be made. As the saying goes, if you “fail to plan, plan to fail”. Setting the intention is the easy part but following through on a plan to achieve the goal is where you see the results.
Be mindful of your expectations, such as expecting to reach the goal too soon. One reason why diets fail is because far too much is expected of the person on the diet. A diet typically involves a list of food you can’t eat and a list of food you can eat, as well as the need to weigh food, prepare food in a certain way or count calories or points. Implementing or changing one of these things can take a mammoth effort, let alone 20 or 30 of them!
Enjoy the process in working towards the goal. It’s important to enjoy the process of change instead of waiting to celebrate once the end result is achieved. The goal also needs to have some flexibility to change, as many goals are made without taking into account life stuff that gets in the way.
Slip ups are normal. Most people don’t make consistent progress toward their goal. How you manage that slip up will make a vast difference towards the actual outcome. Slip ups are a great opportunity to further understand your habits and revise your plan to take into account barriers and obstacles that get in the way.
Set up a system to track your goal. I’m good at making goals but fall short at following them through. Often this is simply due to me not keeping on track of what I want to change or achieve. It’s easy to get distracted by other things. So putting simple reminders, such as writing goals in your diary or calendar, in your phone or on your fridge or bedroom wall (whatever works for you) is a good idea to keep track.
Acknowledge all your successes along the way. Don’t wait until you’ve reached the goal until you celebrate it. I often think resolutions or goals are ideals of what I’d like to achieve but if I don’t achieve the full goal, I can celebrate what progress has been made along the way.
Be kind to yourself if slips occur or if you realize the goal you initially made may not be possible. Change can take a lot of work and sometimes the timing or the actual goal itself may not be in your best interests to follow through with. I have previously made goals where I did more damage by trying to pursue the goal with many obstacles in the way, rather than simply taking a break from working on the goal.
What good ideas do you have in making resolutions work? Feel free to leave any comments or suggestions!