It’s that time of year again. We are at the end of January and the new year has well and truly settled in.
So, you set yourself a New Year’s resolution, didn’t you ?
How is that going for you ?
If you’re like an all too large number of people, there is a good chance you ave already given up on it and slipped back into old habits. The most common resolutions are of course to loose some weight, get fit and, for some, to quit smoking. For now, I’ll focus on the first two since I’ve never smoked, but i;m sure you can apply the same principles across all resolutions.
First of all though, if you did set yourself a goal and are still striving for it, Well Done! You have done better than a lot of your peers and you should be congratulated. Keep it up.
If you’ve fallen off the wagon a bit, let me suggest a few things that may be able to help. Here are a list of things that I have applied to my life to make some massive changes:
1. Why are you doing this ?
Why are you doing all of this ? Do you have a real, solid & believable reason for putting yourself through this ? I believe that the reason you have for achieving your goal is by FAR the most important factor in determining whether you will succeed or not. I’m not talking about a weak little ‘because smoking isn’t really good for me’ reason here. I’m talkig about a ‘If I don’t give up now, I will probbaly never get to see my kids grow up because i’ll be dead from lung cancer’ kind of reason. If you want to truly achieve your goals, they need to change from ’shoulds’ to ‘musts’!
Look into your life as it is right now and imagine how it would be different if you had already achieved your goal. Now, look into you life 5, 10, 20 years from now as if you did NOT make that change. How different would your life be ? Would you be happy or miserable ? Let leverage on yourself. Make it hurt. now imagine your life in 5, 10, 20 years time with your goals chieved. It’s a bit differnet, isn’t it. Which life would you rather live ? I’m sure you can take a few minutes to think up a few reaon why this resolution/goal must become a must.
2. Was it a vague resolution or a defined goal ?
You may or may know know this, but i struggled with my weight for many, many years. I, like many other people, set resolutions like ‘I’m going to get fit this year by joining a gym’. These kind of goals tend to set us up for failure because they don’t clearly define the outcome. For a new Year’s resolution (or any decision) to stick, you need to have a definable goal. I will loose 10 kilos by the 1st of September. I will be fit enough to take part in the Ride Around the Bay cycling event in October. Whatever your resolution was, redefine it as a distinct goal with a deadline. Make it real, and most importantly, write it down somewhere visible. A post-it note on the side of your monitor can help. I use a marker pen and write my goals on my bathroom mirror. That way, I see my goals and get re-motivated at the start of every day!
3. Is your goal measurable ?
Once you have defined what you want to achieve, create yourself a path to get there. We already know that people who weight themselves regularly are more likely to loose weight than those that don’t. Use this to your advantage. Set yourself milestones and measure your progress in small, achievable steps. It is amazingly motivating to see yourself hit a target every week. If your goal is to loose weight, create a weekly weigh-in chart and stick it up on your bathroom wall above your scales. Then, every Monday morning go for a weigh-in. Record the date and weight and feel good about your progress :) Whatever the goal is, write down your achievements and congratulate yourself.
4. Burn the Boats !
The best way I found to get myself serious about a goal is to tell as many people as possible about it. that way, you can’t just quietly back out of it when the going gets tough. As some famous army general once said: ‘If you take the island, burn the boats’. As in, if you want to be sure you’re going to achieve your goal, remove any other possibility. No retreat, no surrender!
5. Reward yourself !
Did you hit a target ? Reward yourself ! the human brain works amazingly well on positive reinforcement. If you hit a weight target, reward yourself with a new piece of clothing that you can now fit into. Naturally, pick a reward yourself with something that motivates you even more. Don’t go an have a big tub of ice cream because you lost half a kilo this week :)
6. Surround yourself with success.
The easiest way to start is to surround yourself with imagery of what your goal looks like. If they are physical things like a new car, put up pictures of them around your home and work area to constantly remind you. For fitness goals, it might be a bit harder since you may not want to (or can) have pictures of hot looking guys and girls around the office and home :)
The more important step is harder and his one may be a bit difficult to get used to but it is absolutely vital. Someone once said: ‘You will always rise to the level of your peers’. These are your friends and family you hang out with day to day. Do they share your goals and dreams or do they think it’s just some unrealistic fantasy ? If it’s the second option, then you are more likely than not to fail in your path. Your peer group has a very direct influence on what you will achieve. It’s very simply psychology. We want to be accepted by our peers and that means behaving in a similar manner with common beliefs and goals. If you’re overweight and hang out wit other overweight people who are not motivated to loose weight like you then, then guess what… To fit in, you’ll probably give up on your goal fairly quickly. what’s the chance of you quitting smoking if you continue to hang out with other smokers ? I know this sounds like an impossible choice, but you may have to find yourself a new set of friends that share your new goals and ambitions. At least, find yourself a new peer to hang out with that can give you constant, regular motivation. Talk to the people at the gym. Maybe you can set yourself up a lunchtime walking/workout group where a few of you get together regularly to motivate each other.
7. Have Fun!
This goes hand in hand with some of the other points, but it’s easy to forget sometimes. Go back to your reasons for doing this in the first process and think of all the good things that will come from you achieving your goal. Smile. I regularly walk around with a silly grin on my face because I imagine myself already achieving my goal :)
Ok, I think i’ve ranted on enough now :)
I hope some of these tips turn out to be useful to you. I know they have changed my life.
I would love to hear about your success stories, hints, tips or anythign else on the subject, even the setbacks. Heck, even post your resolution and progress for all to see. It might just motivate you enough to get back on the wagon and post a followup comment to tell us all how well you did.
Now, enough time at the computer, get back in the gym! There’s a BodyPump class starting somewhere. Be There! :)