Did you know that only 8% of people achieve their new year’s resolutions and that most people give up as early as one month after they have set them? Let’s work to change that.
As we get another fresh start with the New Year we can set or renew resolutions that we know can work. We are lucky to be living in a time when research has given us more tools and strategies to increase our motivation, beat procrastination and achieve our goals.
These 9 Steps will get you to the finish line.
Set a Meaningful Goal
Many of us make the mistake of setting goals we think we should do or goals that we need to do. Instead choose a meaningful goal, something that is deeply personal and important to you. Think hard about the why. For example, if you want to lose weight it’s better to ask yourself why you want to make this change and not any other. Is it for your health and if so why do you want to be healthy? At the end of the year what change are you going to be glad you made. Added tip: set a deadline e.g. December 31st 2015.
Write Down the Small Steps
Write your goal down and then break it into the very smallest steps. Instead of saying I want to lose 5 lbs/week you might write down I will speed walk 30 minutes 3 times/week and the best days are Monday, Wednesday and Friday because I leave work early those days. I will also eat smaller portions at dinner. When we take small steps and track our progress, the process of building accomplishments will help to increase motivation.
Talk with Compassion
Yes compassion works. How we talk to ourselves can make the difference between stopping and moving forward. Often the blame and shame phrases of “I have to” “I should” “I must” will get us stuck. Instead use words that will help you focus on results. Use “I choose to speed walk for 30 minutes at 6 p.m. today, here’s how and where I choose to do it”. Choice increases freedom and motivation.
Start and Start Again
Getting to the finish line requires effort and work but sometimes we don’t realize that when we procrastinate we are also working. Here’s an idea, why not do the work that will get you the long-term benefit. When we procrastinate we get relief in the moment, but if we can tolerate temporary discomfort we can get to that great feeling of accomplishment only a done goal can give you. One way to do this is by continuously starting for example “today I will take another step” or “How can I start again”?
One key ingredient of motivation is accountability pick a friend, a buddy, a coworker, a partner, a family member who also has a similar goal or is taking similar steps.
Plan for Setbacks
Know that setbacks will happen. Planning ahead and preparing yourself for these will keep you going. Be sure to ask, “where would I get help? how can I lessen the pain if the worst happens and how can I start again?”
We often forget about the importance of breaks, relaxation, play and rewards. Find ways to add these to your schedule regularly.
The Power of “no”
Saying “no” gently but firmly is a key element of your plan often we become overwhelmed and have little or no time for our goals because we are saying yes to too many things make “no” your friend again.
10 minutes a Day, Yes Meditate
Meditation has been shown to increase our ability to focus and to reduce stress. Just 10 minutes a day of meditation can give you these benefits.
Let’s take it way above 8% and make it a great year. Send me your questions and comments. My goal is to write more and specifically more consistently. I’ll be tracking my progress and sending you reminders.
Fiore, N. (1989, 2007). The Now Habit: A strategic program for overcoming procastination and enjoying guilt-free play. London: Penguin Books
Davis, D.W., Hayes, J.A., (2012). What are the benefits of mindfulness. Monitor On Psychology, 43, 64.
Visit www.tarabrach.com for guided meditations.