It’s a new year. We are all filled with hope and promises to ourselves how this year we are going to make real changes and improve ourselves…and somehow by the end of January, 92% of us will have given up on our goals. Why? Because we are doing it wrong by making general goals without a way to measure or keep track of them. If you want to set goals, meet them, and make long-lasting changes for a new you, you can follow these 5 tips to make your New Years resolutions permanent.
1. Define Your Goals
Instead of making general goals, such as “lose weight,” or “eat healthier” make very specific, measurable goals such as reaching a specific body fat percentage, planking for X number of minutes, running your first 10 K (or half marathon!), or even beating last year’s race time by 5 minutes. If you set specific, doable, and measurable goals that are bound by time limits (such as riding 900 miles on your bike by December 31, 2017) you are more likely to stay focused and accomplish what you set out to do.
2. Keep Track with a Schedule
Determine what it takes to achieve your goal and set up a schedule to stay on track. Keep track of your progress with a journal or calendar. If your goal is to run a race, register for the race, and set up a plan for training for it. Record your times and distances. Log your cycling miles. Keep a journal of weight loss. When you see the changes you have made, even if they are small, it can help you stay motivated. It can also help you make changes to your approach if your tactics are not getting you the results you desire.
3. Celebrate Milestones
If your goal is, say, to ride 900 miles on your bike this year, then your target can be 300 miles by the end of April, 300 by the end of August, and the final 300 by the end of the year (depending on your climate). Promise yourself a special reward or experience when you reach each smaller goal, and be sure to celebrate when you achieve those goals. If you shave a minute off your run or add a minute to your plank, celebrate it and write about it. Get that well-deserved pedicure or new athletic shoes you need. You earned them.
4. Announce Your Goals and Your Achievements
Write it down; post it on social media; tell your family and friends; start a blog to track your journey. You can even join a support group for people with the same goals so you can motivate each other. Have you ever wanted to stay in your nice, warm bed but your friend motivated you to get out and meet them for a walk, run, or fitness class? It is hard to make changes completely on your own. Find others who support you and join you in your efforts. Having others to help you keep going (or preventing the risk of embarrassment if you fall off your path) can be a big motivator to stay on track.
5. Get Back on Track if You Do Mess Up
Don’t be hard on yourself if you do get derailed. If you splurge on your diet, don’t throw in the towel. Start back up and keep moving forward. Life happens. You might get an injury that slows you down, you might take a vacation that sends your diet off track, you might suffer a financial setback that changes your money and free time. You should enjoy that piece of birthday cake, but it doesn’t mean you have to give up. You can start back up with healthy habits again. Reevaluate what you need to keep going, and make modifications if you need to. If you can’t work out for an hour, squeeze in 20 minutes of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). If you ate too much yesterday, do a better job today. Putting even some effort toward achieving your goals is much better than giving up altogether.
It’s a new year, and you now have the tools to make this year work for a new you! It’s your year. Go get it!