Get ready for it…here come all of those Resolution people. You know, the hyped up peeps in their new neon Lycra who crowd your gym workout space for three weeks and then you don’t see them again until next January? New Year resolutions are fun but they aren’t the same as clearly defined goals and they usually don’t stick. Meeting goals is a process and takes work; both in the activity stage and in the planning.
The great news is a ton of research supports you being happier if you define and work toward a goal, even if you don’t make it. If goals are new to you, your best bet is to keep the process as simple as possible. Below are three easy steps you can use as a template.
1. Goal Shaping
Most people start with a list of goals they’d like to achieve and refer to this as goal setting. For the goals to be attainable they need to be realistic and clearly defined, or shaped. Start by sitting quietly and finding your center with prayer, meditation and or peaceful breathing. Next, picture yourself a year from now completely satisfied and content. What has changed to allow this fulfillment? Have you let go of any negative habits? Have you changed relationship patterns or learned new skills? Once you have allowed yourself to visualize what will make you truly happy, decide on a few of the most important changes and get out a pen and paper.
Now you are going to create a goal statement. Make sure the goal is realistic, attainable and about you. Write the goal with as much vivid detail as possible
and make it a positive statement. For example, instead of, “I need to
quit smoking”, you can write, “I choose healthy alternatives to cigarettes.” Even better is, “Every day I carry a water bottle and drinking sips of water replaces cigarettes.” Writing meaningful details will help un-vague the goal. It is too foggy to say, “I’d like to be healthier.” What changes need to occur in your life for that to happen? More exercise, better nutrition? Delving into the details will aid in the action and ultimate fruition of the goals.
2 Goal Actions
Choose a way to track the progress. For instance if you want to commit to a regular workout find a place to write down the days and times you make it to the gym. Keep the tracking form accessible and preferably out in the open. Any accountability where others can see it helps this process. Pick a time frame for the goal; for immediate needs try for 90 days or less. Some big picture life goals need longer time frames. In these cases try to break down sub-goals with progress check-ins.
Next, take your goal statement and write down any positive things you are already doing to meet this goal. Then write down the specific steps you need to incorporate as well as the time frame for each step to be accomplished. If any of these steps seem lofty or unattainable, what are the educational or learning steps you can take to get you closer to the goal? What can you do immediately that will kick off this goal reaching party?
3. Follow Up/ Follow Though
Referring back to your tracking process is key to meeting your goals. If you slip up don’t give up. When you meet a time frame in the process, reward yourself. And not in a sabotaging way! If you are striving to lose weight don’t treat yourself with cake, buy yourself new running shoes or treat yourself to a massage. Be on the lookout constantly for your support system. Stay clear of people and places that are not in line with the goals and do ask for help when you feel weak or need more direction or inspiration. Most people are happy to help when you share what it is you are trying to attain. Let us know how things are going. We believe in you and we are happy to help!