Each year around January 1st a very large number of us will evaluate life and resolve to do something different. A quick Google search revealed some interesting ideas ranging from sleep more & less beer to learning a new skill or increasing your emotional intelligence.
Personally, I think resolutions are both good and bad. In a world where “success” (regardless of topic) is an ever-changing goal; the unmaintained resolutions can quickly turn into self-loathing. According to University of Pennsylvania research, by January 7th just 77% of resolution makers are still on track. This drops dramatically to 40% by June 1st. But good news – researchers tied our inability to hold resolutions to setting vague (such as reduce stress) or unrealistic goals (lose 30lbs by March 1st). Why is this good? Because simple and intentional goals can lead to success! So lets get started…
- Clarify Your Purpose: Why are you making this change? Are you looking for more energy? Feel better about yourself? Loose weight? Kick dependency on medications? Better work life balance? Saving for retirement? What ever your goal, you have to be darn sure of your why. When things get tough or you stumble, “your why” is what will keep you focused on achieving your goal. If you don’t know what truly motivates you, you really don’t know what will satisfy you.
- Set SMART Goals: Since the early 80’s, companies have been using the mnemonic acronym SMART to outline criteria for employee performance. But if you look at it in terms of resolution setting (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic & Timely), this little memory device lays out a foundation for successful personal goal setting. Rather than setting a goal of “reduce stress”, investigate what causes you stress and how your respond, then set goals appropriately.
For example: Lisa is pretty easygoing most of the time but gets spun up on small things. She spends all night thinking about issues that popped up at work, how she responded to her child’s teacher or showing up late to a committee meeting. She’s anxious wondering how she could have handled things better. Lisa knows she needs to let go of these events and move on. Lisa’s long-term goal: Proactive positive thinking when stressful events come up. Read books, blogs or podcasts regularly to underpin her intentions. Short-term goal: Try breathing and relation exercises when she feels stressed. She’ll down load an app or investigate then incorporate how to control stress through breathing.
- Be Prepared & Prioritize: As a mother of two Boy Scouts, I love the Scout Motto: Be Prepared. Perhaps the biggest problem or challenge to turning your desires into action and keeping with it is when the effects or changes take time to see or feel. Preparing now and establishing a plan for how to deal with those ‘self doubting’, ‘is this worth it feelings’ will mentally prepare you to persevere. Personally – the biggest robber of motivation is the “family first” mantra that rings in my head any time I try to fit in a run, go to yoga or even write this blog. But I think my husband’s airplane analogy sums it up perfectly… Before take off, the flight attendant runs through standard safety procedures. I believe the scrip reads In the event of decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically deploy from overhead. To start the flow of oxygen, pull the mask towards you. Place it firmly over your nose and mouth, secure the elastic band behind your head, and breathe normally. If you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person.
That’s right –if your mask is not secured first, you will be of no use to anyone else you try to help.
Trust yourself! You deserve to succeed and you will!
Happy New Year!!