How many of you have set a resolution at the beginning of January and kept it, the whole year? Anyone? If you have, kudos to you! Did you know fewer than TEN percent of people stick to a New Year's resolution?
The thing is, resolutions are usually grandiose statements. "I will stop smoking, starting today," or, "I will stop binge eating chocolate at 10pm while watching reruns of New Girl". They're big, and they're ambitious. And while there is nothing wrong with having big goals and being ambitious, the problem with grandiose resolutions is that they rarely stick. And the reason?
Resolutions focus on the OUTCOME. They're a decision, rather than an action, and decisions don't create habits. ACTIONS do.
Studies (1) show simply having a desire to change DOESN'T work. Neither does criticism, wishing the problem wasn't there or minimizing the goal ("It's not THAT big a deal").
What DOES work? -Taking responsibility for your goal (example: setting a PLAN and creating BEHAVIORS that form habits) -Thinking positively about your goal -Surrounding oneself with reminders about the goal (such as having a community of people to support you on your journey! 😉) -Avoiding triggers for the problem behavior
So instead of creating grand resolutions this year, we are spending the next week in the Healthy Mama Life Community creating a vision and setting GOALS for the new year-- goals that aren't just going to stick for a few days, weeks, or months, but goals that create habits that will stick with us-- for good. Here is our five-step process for creating New Year's goals that stick: 1. Start with a vision. Think big. Where do you want to be in 3 months, six months, a year from now? One of my favorite ways to create a vision for the future is to create a vision board. Simply creating a visual for where you want to be in the future (and putting it where you can see it) is a positive way of constantly reminding yourself of what you want to become. 2. Create goals based off that vision. What about that vision is different from where you are at now? If you have a picture of a woman crossing a finish line and you've never competed before, what kind of race do you think you can accomplish in a year's time? What distance is it? Maybe you've started jogging, and you'd really like to complete your first 5k. Boom-- goal #1. It's important to create both short-term and long-term goals. The short term goals can be (but don't have to be) goals that will push you towards your long term goals.
3. Ensure your goals are S.M.A.R.T. SMART goals are: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-sensitive. Goals need to be specific. "Run a 5k" is much more specific than "Start running". These goals also need to be measurable: i.e. a "Run a 5k" vs. "Run a race". Make sure you can achieve these goals-- if you've just started running, a marathon may be out of your reach (this year). But maybe not. Really judge if you have the capacity to achieve the goal within the time frame you set. Make sure they are also realistic. If you have two young kids and a husband who is gone often, again, training for that marathon is going to be difficult. Is it realistic? Can you get childcare to train? Do you have a gym membership to use the treadmills when it's raining? And lastly, the goal needs to be time-sensitive. Put a DATE on it! I can NOT stress this enough. Antoine St. Exupery said, "A goal without a plan is just a wish,". Set a date so you can create a plan to achieve the goal! Which brings us to step 4...
4. Break it down. Take each of those short term and each of those long-term goals and break them down into smaller steps-- at least three, but as many as you need to to create your goal. What steps do you need to take to achieve your goals? If you want to run a 5k, you'll need to start running, of course. What do you need to do that? For one, you'll need to get fitted for some good running shoes. Then you'll need a training plan to get you going. Don't want to go it alone? Find a running partner to keep you motivated. Which brings us to step 5... 5. Create a System for Accountability. Studies (2) have shown that having an accountability partner is invaluable in achieving goals. Simply having someone (or a group, like the Healthy Mama Life community) to check in with helps immensely with sticking to your goals. This can be a friend, a spouse, a fitness buddy or a coach to check in with. Another proven accountability measure is writing down your goals (like creating a check mark system on your calendar or phone). The combination of the two seems to prove the greatest success in whatever your goals may be.
For long-term goals, I like to create 4 'check points' to your big goal. Say it's to lose 50 pounds. You could give yourself check points a 5 pounds, 10 pounds, 25 pounds and 40 pounds. Each time you hit your check point, reward yourself for your hard work as an incentive to keep pushing towards that larger goal. Creating goals takes time and thought. But creating goals the right way, and setting yourself up with the proper system for achieving your goals is essential if you plan on keeping those goals (which I hope you do!) Of course, this list only skims the surface of the process of creating and keeping goals to really make change in your health and fitness. There is so much more than I can put in one blog post, to creating those goals and making sure they are going to last!
Do you want to dig deeper into goal setting and vision-creating for the New Year and download our FREE Healthy Mama Life Goal Planner? Join us in the Healthy Mama Life Community on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/healthymamalife/