Each year when the calendar rolls over again, human beings all around the world engage in many strange behaviors. Many people pass into the new year by consuming entirely too much food and alcohol, then they do the world-famous countdown to the happy new year and begin by sleeping through its first day and suffering the effects of too much food and drink. Then it is time for the annual struggle with New Year’s resolutions.
There is something about being forced to write a new year on checks and correspondences that causes people to create crazy resolutions. Proper goal setting is the key to your success. Yes, I am a big fan of making resolutions; however, my method is far different from the haphazard, than the way most people establish New Year’s resolutions. Not only do they not work, but they become, in many cases, counterproductive.
Any time we set a goal, we are, in essence, making a promise to ourselves. If we cannot keep this promise because we were not really serious about the goal in the first place, or if we have set an unrealistic goal, it is that much harder to reach other goals down the road. If you have changes you want to make in your life, or goals you want to begin actively pursuing, January is no better or worse time than any other.
When You Do Set A Goal, Whether Now Or Later, Be Sure It Meets The Following Criteria.
- Make sure the goal belongs to you. You can’t lose weight, quit smoking, or begin being financially responsible because your spouse or mother-in-law thinks you should. The goal must belong to you. Then, be honest with yourself about where you are, where you want to be, and what you really want out of life. Before you start your goals, visualize your healthy ideal, and write it down in a journal. Create the picture, feel it, and then hold it intently in your mind. See yourself already at your ideal. Another way to put it is, what you believe, you conceive.
- Be sure your goal is realistic. Don’t set yourself up for failure before you start. Find people who have been successful or can teach you at reaching the goal you are seeking and follow their pattern. The write down the concrete goals you can take to actualize that vision. How much weight loss is your ultimate goal? Ten pounds? Twenty-five? Fifty? Or maybe it’s just enough to finally squeeze back into those jeans that have become too tight in recent months? Maybe it’s not so much about losing weight but rather getting back in shape, getting toned and getting that body back that you had. But, remember, you also have to list what you’re willing to sacrifice to achieve your goals. Every accomplishment worth anything didn’t come without sacrifice. Be brutally honest about the bad habits you’ll give up. Will you stop eating fast food or nightly desserts? Will you give up daily cocktails? How about those daily sodas you’ve been knocking down? Will you stop being sedentary? Will you refrain from medicating yourself with food when you feel stressed out? Your bad habits are standing in your way. Understanding what you want and what it takes to get it is the important part. You’re stronger than you think.
- Set a pace that is sustainable. It is much more important to set your sights on what level you will be performing a year from now than trying to overdo it unrealistically today. You have to be able to stay the course. That means no yo-yo dieting, no exercising one or two days a week, then sit on the couch the rest. The secret is, you must have a plan but then take a day-by-day approach. If you want to improve, concentrate on what you have to do today only. Each “today” adds up to a week, a month, two months, six months, a lifetime.
- Enjoy the process. What if you backslide? Don’t beat yourself up over it. Just start anew at the next meal or the next workout. What matters is how you respond to failure. Are you going to dwell on it and let it control you? Or are you going to accept that you’re human, apply the lesson, and move forward? Get back on the program immediately, be patient with yourself, and enjoy the process.
If you are going to be an achiever in this life, you will spend much more time climbing mountains than you will be sitting on the peak. Learn to enjoy the road, not only the destination.
Happy New You!!!