6 tips for more success with goals – New Year’s resolutions or other time

Written on Friday, December 30th, 2011 at 1:17 pm by Christiane

There is something about a New Year that entices many people to make resolutions to change their lives for the better. They decide to break some habits, live healthier, do more exercise, lose weight, or reduce stress… Of course, you don’t need a New Year for making resolutions, and therefore the following recommendations apply also to goals you may start to pursue anytime throughout the year

What often happens when we start to work toward a goal is that for the first week or two, we manage to stick to our plan. The problems start as time goes on and ultimately, most of us end up back with the old habits and routines which we were trying to break.

One of the main reasons for giving up on the resolutions is simply that many people want too much too fast. Changing ingrained behaviors takes time and effort, and occasional setbacks are to be expected.  If you want major changes in your life – and losing 40 pounds for example or starting daily exercise will require big lifestyle changes – you will be more successful if you take it one step at a time.

Here are six tips that when followed will make success with (New Year’s) resolutions more likely:

1)      Don’t make too many resolutions– you will have more success when you focus on one at a time. If for example you have three things in your life you want to change, then make a priority list and start with the most important. A year is long,  and you can work through your list as the year progresses

2)      Find out the degree of commitment to your goal. How strongly do you wish for it? Ask yourself the following questions: On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is “not at all” and 10 is ”extremely”:

  •  How important is it for you to change the particular habit/situation
  • How confident are you that you can stick to necessary behavior changes
  • How ready are you to actually start with the changes today and stick with them for …… weeks/ months

Only if you are really committed to your goal, you will have a true chance for success

3)      Don’t reach too high with your goal to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Instead take changes slowly, step by step. Behavior changes need time, often months or even years, to become part of the new YOU. If you never exercised before, you most likely won’t have the strength to exercise daily for an hour or two. If you always ordered take-out and rarely ate vegetables, you may miss your usual food too much and give up on the eat-healthier-plan.  

 Also, for many goals you must make changes in your daily schedule to carve out time for exercise or for cooking. I experienced this myself when I decided to exercise more about two years ago: I first started to run for only 10 minutes per day – actually I didn’t have breath for more – and then I slowly increased this time in one minutes increments.  After two months, I was at two miles five times per week, now – almost two years later and more than 30 pounds lighter, I’m running a 5k five to six times/week and occasionally, I’m running a six- miles- lap. If anyone had told me at the beginning that I would do this today, I would never have believed it and if this had been my plan from the start, for sure I would have given up.  

An additional perk is that by starting slow you can enjoy more successes along your way. There is something to celebrate and to be proud of each time when you accomplish a step and then reach higher for the next goal. Nothing is more motivating than success.

4)      When setting goals follow the SMART goals rules, which say that a goal should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. For more about these rules, read my blog about SMART goals.

5)      Last but for sure not least: Be patient with setbacks. They are normal occurrences and actually to be expected. View setbacks as learning experiences, not failures. From a setback you can learn what to do differently. If you relapse into old behaviors, ask yourself: What worked for a while? What is the part that is not working so well? What kind of adjustments would help? Did something happen that you didn’t anticipate? What triggered the slip? Was this a sudden stumbling, or was this gradually building up? What would help to be better prepared next time? In regards to your action plan how to achieve your goal, what do you really like about the plan, what do you dislike? How can you change the plan to make it work better for you?

6)    Work with a life coach! Changing long standing habits and routines is not easy and it’s rarely a straightforward path. In fact, it could take up to two years until the new behavior turns into an automatic routine and the path to success may feel more like a roller coaster with lots of ups and downs.

That’s the reason why many people work with a life coach to accomplish a goal. Having someone at your side, who cares about you and your goal will increase your success rate.

As your life coach, I would design the SMART goal with you, define the action plan and then work with you through all the ups and downs, adjusting the action plan when necessary. For more information email me at <http://www.privatedaddy.com?q=RVFhZ1ZselFdHjxrYW5BO2hyHF53D2tIRGI-3D_19> or call 781 777 2791.

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